Who knew that sending your one and only son, Wyatt, would test my faith in the Lord and belief in the modern world?
The changing times of our culture: I find it concerning that it has become increasingly acceptable for liberals to bash conservative values that result in offensive implicit biases. Which begs the question, “Why can’t we all just get along?” Never has our country been more divided. Even more concerning is the acceptance by the liberal press to bash conservative values in the name of diversity.
How in the world did things go so wrong? Somehow, as a country, we have lost the balance to hear an opposing opinion or to consider another perspective. These are hard times for all Americans, especially Christians who are often under attack for conservative values. Now more than ever, we need opportunities to show our love and demonstrate our commitment to one another.
The future of faith, believing in college students: My faith has been renewed in watching our son, Wyatt, an Albion College freshman, shop for a college church.
Prior to arriving on campus, Wyatt did his research. Wyatt reached out to more than five church leaders. Only three returned Wyatt’s call. Out of curiosity, I listened to the interviews of pastors and preachers. His questions were simple, yet powerful; “What makes your church unique? What do you do to engage and inspire college students to follow Christ?” And my favorite, “Why should I join your church?”
I don’t believe Wyatt was trying to create a competition or challenge pastoral leaders to become marketing specialists. The truth is that we all want to find a church home that is inclusive and welcoming. We want a community that helps us bring our best selves forward. It’s about the invitation by someone we don’t know to join us in worship to simply say, “How was your week?” It’s about creating places of belonging and getting back to a neighborhood of nurturing.
Parental peace - when your college student declares his college church home: I have never been prouder of Wyatt than his declaration to join the Baptist church in his college community. Having been raised as an Anglican, Wyatt wanted to be part of a biblically based and traditional church community. By the way, Pastor Tom of the First Baptist Church of Albion, was the first to return Wyatt’s call and to fully answer his questions. Witnessing the warm welcome by the congregation the Sunday before classes started was just what Jesus would have done.
Weeks later, I got to witness Wyatt’s “Believer’s Baptism” in the forks of the Kalamazoo River, near the Albion College campus. As my family and friends watched with great pride, we too felt the renewal of baptism when Wyatt emerged from the waters. He triumphantly raised his fist in the air and belted out, “Just you watch! The Lord has great plans for me!”
And we all said, “Amen!”
Letting go: I realized in that baptismal moment, I can’t control the college’s liberal staff or the division in our country. What I can continue to do is to pray for Wyatt and all his friends at college to seek Christ and to find the refuge of a college church home.
In closing, Wyatt reminded me of this, “Mom, you need to tell people to be patient, to seek the Lord, and to believe that His timing is perfect. It may take a bit, but, in the end, you will end up where you need to be.”
Cynthia Falardeau lives in Vero Beach with her husband, Jim. Their son, Wyatt, is a freshman at Albion College, Albion Michigan. Wyatt is a member of First Baptist Church Albion. Wyatt is pursuing a double major in Education and History. He is a member of the Prentis M. Brown Honors Program and the Gerald R. Ford Institute for Leadership in Public Policy and Service.