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Sandy’s life, and consequently mine as well, would have been very different had she kept her interview with Pepperdine University. It was 1997 and after four promising years of undergraduate studies, she suddenly found herself lost and unsure of her future…

Sandy was uncertain of which career path to take when she enrolled at Defiance College in the fall of 1993. She wanted a profession in which she could help others while at the same time earn a lot of money. She was considering the medical field until she sat through a required career survey class that first semester which happened to be taught by the main psychology professor at Defiance. She was really impressed by his insight and enjoyed how he turned teaching into a performing art. At the end of her freshman year she declared herself a psychology major.

The same professor who sparked her interest in psychology would soon become her mentor. She had most of her psychology classes with him and she was his student assistant for three years. He became the most positive influence in her life to that point. He had studied abroad and recommended Sandy apply to graduate schools somewhere other than her home state for the experience. One of the universities she applied to was Pepperdine in Malibu, California for a PhD in clinical psychology. The application process was very intensive and they were selective in extending invitations to prospective graduate students. After the formality of the interview process acceptance was highly likely. Within a week of Sandy receiving her invitation to be interviewed by Pepperdine the beginning of her last semester, her mentor abruptly left Defiance. She never learned the details of his withdrawal from the college but his departure was devastating to her.

Sandy had a few other teachers in her life that took interest in her as a person but her mentor invested himself in helping her grow in the field she thought would be her life’s work. To a person who never really had someone that seriously cared for her, his leaving the college shook the confidence he helped to build. She never replied to Pepperdine to schedule her interview and was unsure about the next step on her career path. She felt lost and was unclear about her future. Only having a bachelor’s degree in psychology greatly limits the job opportunities and she realized over the course of the next year that in order to have a satisfying career she needed to continue with her original goal of furthering her education. She had already been accepted to Eastern Kentucky University when she had applied to Pepperdine and since the reapplication process with them would keep her from enrolling for another year she decided to attend EKU. At this same time in her life she began searching for spiritual truth and through the providence of God she was invited to Grace Baptist Church in Middletown, Ohio where she heard the preaching of the gospel. Seven months later in the midst of her first year of graduate school she received Jesus Christ as her personal Saviour. At the end of that school year she left EKU to become a homemaker.

When we were in southern California this summer for meetings we spent a day in Santa Monica and visited Pepperdine University in Malibu after dinner. The campus is composed of classic Californian and Mediterranean architecture situated among several steep ridges that overlook the Pacific Ocean. It was the most beautiful setting of any college campus that Sandy or I had ever seen. Sandy would not exchange her life now for the career path she once worked so hard towards but standing in a place that could have very easily been a springboard for a completely different life was rather surreal. She could have received her PhD from a respected university on a stunning campus in one of her favorite parts of the country and had a distinguished career earning a six-figure salary. Ironically Sandy has since learned that Pepperdine University is religiously affiliated with the Churches of Christ, the religion she grew up in that taught a false plan of salvation in baptismal regeneration. Her life certainly would have been grander in material possessions and things of temporal value had she attended Pepperdine but in contrast her life spiritually would most likely have been wanting, and that with eternal consequences.

“Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” Psalm 16:11

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