How Going To Cornerstone University Changed My Life (this is not a plug)

Lately I have been reminded over and over again of a decision I made in 1997. I had just graduated from high school, I was newly engaged to my then girlfriend Nicole Barrett, and I was all set to go to Cornerstone University to further my education. There was only one small problem. I had no money. My parents weren’t particularly well off, but they were helping as much as possible, and Cornerstone was really, really expensive. So I made a very difficult decision. I decided not to go to Cornerstone.
I had to tell this to Nicole, which very nearly ended our relationship because we had both been planning to go to Cornerstone for quite some time and she was very excited about the prospect of us being together more often and going to the same school. Oh yeah, did I mention that I decided to break this news to her the day before we left for college. My timing was impeccable.
On the day we were both supposed to leave for college I decided to go along with Nicole. Mainly to see her off, but also to tell the student development I had decided not to go because I didn’t have enough money. The response I got kinda shocked me. When I told Josh Williams, the head student development guy, that I wasn’t coming he said, “What if we could get you more money?” I responded by saying that it would really have to be a lot of money. In the ball park of $5000 dollars. He said to stay right where I was at… he’d be right back. He came back about 20 minutes later with the money I needed to make going to Cornerstone a possibility. I changed my decision.
I can only conclude that God orchestrated that whole scenario. Nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing, about my life right now would be the way it is if God had not gotten me that extra money to go to college there. I would not be married to Nicole because there is no way we could have survived that whole issue and stayed together. Thus I wouldn’t have the 3 beautiful children I have now.
I wouldn’t have the job I have that supports my whole family and allows us to live and level of comfort that I don’t deserve. Especially in a failing economy. Especially when I know lots of people struggling financially who don’t deserve to be.
I wouldn’t have met all the people that I now call my best friends, and who have impacted, influenced, and encouraged me to become who I am. I wouldn’t have stayed involved with music because it was my friends who encouraged and brought that out of me.
I wouldn’t have searched all around Grand Rapids for a vibrant church to attend that would offer the opportunities for growth and development that Ada Bible Church has given me. Ada has an amazing worship team that has been a huge impact on me musically, and with the growth that Ada experienced at the time the opportunity opened up for me to start leading worship. If I hadn’t started singing and leading worship, I would never have had the guts to start writing and performing my own songs.
If I hadn’t started writing and performing my own stuff, nothing that has happened in the last few months would have happened. That decision to go to Cornerstone after God provided a means of getting there set so many things in motion for me that to try and lay it all out here would take way too long and no one would want to stick around and read it all.
One decision, that at the time just seemed like a cool blessing because I got to go to the college I wanted to go to, turned into a decision that completely changed who I am.
It’s hard for me to see God moving in my future because it hasn’t happened yet. I have no idea what He is going to do. All I know is that I can trust Him for my future because I can look at my past and see the amazing things He did for me. Hindsight is 20/20 as they say. Certainly doesn’t take away the anxiousness to know whats next though.
I can only assume that if I hadn’t gone to Cornerstone, I would still be living in my parents basement, drinking a lot of beer, listening to a lot of Metallica, and probably still working the grill at Wendy’s. Actually I still do those last three… hmm, well I don’t live in my parents basement anyway so thats good. And really, after the St. Anger album, who listens to Metallica? If you held on to Metallica long enough to hear that album, you let go immediately upon hearing it. And don’t get all hung up on the drinking beer part… the one thing I couldn’t hear enough of at Cornerstone was discernment. I know when to stop. Finally, I don’t specifically work the grill at Wendy’s anymore, but I do work a mean grill at home with all the training I got from Wendy’s. Thank you Wendy. Thank you.