In my sophomore year at Michigan State University, I was upholding the image of the pretty, fun sorority girl as best I could. I was going tanning, wearing dresses and heels nearly every day, flashing a big smile, making friends with everyone I met, and partying a lot.
I thought that as long as I could maintain this ideal image of perfection, my hope would be secure. But I felt ashamed about the way I conducted myself in order to do so.
During Welcome Week in 2008 at the start of my junior year, my friend, Joe, and I went to a party where most everyone was drinking underage. We arranged to have a designated driver, but the plans changed and, because of my compromised ability to make good decisions, I began to drive home.
I merged onto the expressway the wrong way, so I was driving into oncoming traffic. I caused a horrific collision that night, and the people in the other two cars I hit head-on were seriously injured and so was I. But far worse was that my friend, Joe, died because of the collision that night.
I was in a coma for 11 days, and I was in the hospital for a total of seven weeks. I remember it being so hard for me to celebrate any kind of gain that I made, because I just kept thinking, How can I be celebrating the fact that I’m getting better when Joe is dead?
After I came home, I remember so clearly some of the girls I was friends with in the sorority saying, “What’s wrong with you? You’re not fun anymore.”
I just couldn’t be that girl anymore. I couldn’t pretend that the only thing that mattered in life was weighing 110 pounds and wearing an extra small, or going out and drinking all the time, or meeting guys.
I decided I needed a new group of friends. I went on MSU’s website of student organizations and started researching groups to be involved in. I saw Campus Crusade for Christ, and thought, Maybe I’ll look into this.
I didn’t know anything about Christians, really. I sent Shannon Kandt, part of MSU’s Cru staff team, an email and asked if I could come to her study. She came to pick me up for it, and the first study that I went to was on purity.
Afterwards, Shannon took me back to my house and we sat outside my sorority house and had this three-hour super honest discussion. And it was amazing to me how even though I was really closed off at first because it was about purity, how God was able to show me through my conversation with Shannon the much bigger theme of forgiveness.
I was so desperate for it at that time. It was exactly what I knew I needed. So Shannon shared the gospel with me for the first time that night. I was asking questions about everything, because I wanted to really understand what this could mean for me if Jesus died for my sins, and through faith in Him I could be forgiven completely.
It seemed impossible with what I had done, especially knowing that I was responsible for someone else’s death. I simply could not understand how, knowing that’s what I would do, God would still love me so much that he would die in my place for it. But I wanted to believe it so badly.