Today is Move-in Day at this place we call home. Thirty-four years ago, I was moving in as a student; just over five years ago, I moved in as the wife of the Dean of Students. Both times I’m shown up on this campus, I’ve been just a bit broken, and both times this space has provided the time, the resources, and the community in which I find healing. I wrote this post in on August 3, 2014, when I thought my biggest problem was my health. As I revisit it today, I wonder at God’s ability to see the bigger issues and provide a space for me to be held through difficulties yet unknown to me.
Nestled beside the Huron River is a small school — Concordia University. (You can see the chapel amid the trees in the photo.) The school was started in the 1960s by the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod, mainly to prepare young people for service in the church. The chapel sits in the heart of its campus. Christ is at the heart of its mission.
And we get to be here! My husband is the Dean of Students, so we live right on campus as part of the community. This beautiful scene is in my backyard!
I have lived here before, as a student, back in the ’80s. The place is familiar, to be sure, but the experience is brand new. I came as a teenager before. Now, I come as an empty-nester. Big difference.
One thing is the same, though. I am here to heal.
This time I am coming to heal from several hectic years topped off with a diagnosis of autoimmune disease. Last time I came after an overwhelming freshman year of college topped off with an eating disorder. Both times, God intervened and brought me to this place to heal.
I still can’t explain what happened in 1985 — how I left a Big Ten university in the middle of Michigan to pay more at a small private college in Ann Arbor, but I know it saved my life — my physical and my spiritual life. It put me on a path to wellness.
The other day, when I was walking along the Huron and glanced across to see the chapel, something clicked in my mind. Last year, we were not looking to move back to Michigan. My husband was not looking for a higher ed position. But God used his people to step into our situation and bring us here to Concordia. And, again, I am on a path to wellness.
For over three years in the 1980s I felt held at Concordia while I sorted out the issues of my eating disorder. It was an emotionally chaotic time, to be sure, but I felt held — held by Christian friends who saw me, held by faculty who noticed and cared for me, held by the school nurse who pointed me toward help, and held, ultimately, by God.
So, coming back to Concordia feels secure, safe, comforting. Again, I feel held. I’ve only been here a week, but I feel at peace. Knowing the healing I experienced here in the ’80s gives me great hope. I am looking forward to healing again. I am believing God’s words through Jeremiah that “[God] will heal [me] and will let [me] enjoy abundant peace and security” Jeremiah 33:6.
Certainly I don’t think this healing can only happen at Concordia. Or next to the Huron River. But I do believe that healing comes only through God. And that, for me, He has done that here at Concordia.
I am here for healing.