If you follow KellysKorner, you know about her “Show Us Your Life” weekly posts. I seldom participate because my house really isn’t that great to show off … my 3rd baby doesn’t have a nursery … my laundry room is my utility room … and so many other things that she features are not really things I have or want to “show off.” I am, after all, just “an ordinary hausfrau.” I was excited to see something this week that I could share: my Alma Mater.
While my school is now not the same school that I attended back in the late 1980s and early 1990s, I am thankful for the years I spent at Tennessee Temple University (TTU) in Chattanooga, Tennessee. I was very young when I graduated high school, and I was still only seventeen years old when I went away to college. I actually spent a year at another university in Virginia first before transferring to TTU. My parents were moving to Germany where my dad landed a Civil Service job, and they wanted me to be back in my home state of Tennessee near my grandparents and relatives while they were overseas. So, TTU was not at all my first choice – but I see now that it was God’s choice.
(me on graduation day with my best friend from high school and roommate for the year)
Tennessee Temple University
was founded in 1946 as an independent Baptist school, although it has been affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention for a few years now. Dr. Lee Roberson was the founder and President of the school until the mid-1980’s. Lee Roberson is somewhat of an icon of the independent Baptist movement of his day, and I had the privilege of having him as our commencement speaker.
(Dr. Roberson on the left; Dr. J.R. Faulkner on the right)
Dr. J. Don Jennings was the President of TTU when I first arrived my sophomore year, but he soon was replaced by Dr. L. W. Nichols, son-in-law of Lee Roberson, and as I graduated, the great transition had begun with a new president, Dr. David Bouler. I have somewhat lost track of the leadership now – although I know the current president is a Dr. Danny Lovett.
But all that history of the school isn’t really the most significant thing about my college experience. I entered college – honestly – to hopefully gain a MRS degree (as in Mrs.). I changed my major three times because I really had no desire for a career – I didn’t want to be a teacher, a secretary, or a nurse. I had no business sense and almost failed a mandatory Economics II class and almost didn’t graduate at all! I ended up with a BA degree in “Interdisciplinary Studies” with a proficiency in English – that’s just to say a general liberal arts degrees with lots of English, Linguistics, and Literature classes. In the end, I did eventually end up with my MRS degree as well!
(My husband Dan with his dad and 2 brothers at graduation)
I met my future husband our Senior year. He was actually already in his 6th year of college due to attending ROTC at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga – but this too was part of God’s plan to allow us to graduate together. Graduation day was a turning point in our relationship as well. Until this day, we were just kind of “friends” who went out together; we had not really seriously talked about our future – other than I knew he’d be going active duty with the Army with at least a 4 year commitment. Faced with the decision of going our separate ways or staying together, we decided to see what God had in store for us … and 4 months later we were engaged; 3 months after that we were married!
(Dan at Niagara Falls, NY – Summer 1992 – in his TTU sweatshirt)
Not only was college significant in bringing me to my life partner, I “grew up” during those years. I found myself at a crossroad of choosing to serve the God I had come to know as a child or serving myself in a life lived only for success, money, and my own agendas. I had to choose what standards I was going to live by – my parents’ and those of the church I grew up in, my own, or what I truly believed God’s Word said. Ultimately, God showed me the answers. While I knew a lot about God, in college I began to know God. I guess you could use the biblical terms that I was ready to go beyond the “milk” and get to some “meat” of the Word. It was a slow start with many mistakes, but it was the turning point that convinced me that I was nothing without my Lord. It was when I decided to trust Him completely and give Him my life – though I took it back a few times – I can see how my true Christian journey began during those soul-searching, Bible-learning years.
(Dan & I – June 1995. I was wearing my Tennessee Temple tshirt)
I could write a book on the specific incidences that God used in my life during my college years – and about the people He brought me into contact with. Some were testings and trials; others were joys and victories. I am very thankful that I attended a Christian liberal arts university even though my main goal was marriage and motherhood. I have ended up in several jobs where my English skills have come in very useful; the practical lessons I learned by having to complete college level courses have been invaluable as I’ve worked outside my home for small businesses, in Civil Service, and most recently as a church/school secretary – as well as being able to manage my own household affairs as a stay-at-home mom.
It has been interesting to look back and see God’s Hand in my life … I like to do it often as a reminder of God’s guidance. Every Christian has a testimony, and this is a small part of mine. I am so thankful for those 4 growing years that I spent in college, although at the time, I often wondered if I was just wasting my time; but God has a purpose. He always does, if we are willing to follow.