Rachel Thompson came to college strong in her faith. She joined her sorority with many girls who were also believers, but over time she watched several of them walk away.
“My freshman and sophomore year, God really changed my heart in being able to know where people were at spiritually.”
She didn’t realize it at the time, but looking back Rachel has realized that she was keeping her Christian life separate from the rest of her life.
“God showed me that ‘these are all my people,’” and asked her how she was going to help His people if she separated herself from them? Rachel ran for the New Member Educator position in her house her junior year. This position would allow her to develop strong relationships with the incoming freshmen early on in the year.
“I had a heart for freshmen. I watched my pledge class come in with faith and walk away from it, and I wanted to be there for the incoming girls who had faith, showing them that you can be strong in college.”
She never planned on changing someone’s life.
Rachel went into the position thinking that she would be able to walk with the freshmen coming in with a background of faith and help them not join the party scene. Her hope was that she could show them how to integrate their Christian life with their new college life. It turned out to be the opposite. God told her “No, you’re going to be here for the girls who are coming in excited about the party scene and show them my love.”
One of these girls, also named Rachel, began college not even considering God. “I knew the stories in the Bible but wasn’t seeking a relationship with Him. That was not number one on my priority list.”
She came in knowing her spirituality had to be addressed, but wanted to think about it when she graduated or when she was older or more mature. Rachel felt what many other people do. She had so much freedom and felt like being a Christian meant giving that up. “I wasn’t going think about it right now.”
Rachel spent the beginning of the semester going out, drinking and participating in the stereotypical college scene, but then started thinking about what she was doing, what her morals were, and what she was ok with.
“After two or three months of that you just feel so empty, you don’t feel valued, you feel like a shell of yourself. I just remember feeling really low and needing a friend to talk to.”
Rachel and Rachel started talking and the subject of church came up. It wasn’t until a couple weeks later that Rachel Thompson felt like God was telling her to talk about Him, so the girls went to get coffee.
Rachel Mount said she needed someone to seek her out. “People don’t just do that every day, it’s kind of a taboo thing to do – go up to somebody and say ‘let’s talk about God.’”
As their relationship developed, Rachel Thompson found love in her heart to accept Rachel despite the life she was living just as Rachel Mount started wanting to change that life.
“He brought me to that point and brought her to that point at the same time so that she would understand love in that way,” Rachel Thompson remembers.
She told Rachel, “you can tell me whatever is going on in your life and it’s not going to bother me and it’s not going to change the way I feel and it’s not going to change our friendship. I love you no matter what you say.” Rachel wanted to believe her but didn’t even want to admit to herself some of the things she’d done. But even so, she believed that God was there for her, waiting for her.
“I just remember that day at Starbucks when I finally said, ‘Yeah I want to do this for real’ but I also still wanted to go out and do those things. Nobody’s desires completely go away but it’s really a journey of God showing you, ‘Follow Me and leave that behind you.’ It’s just something that I really wanted and I knew if I asked for it I could have it.”
The first couple months were hard because what was in the past was so close, but Rachel kept moving away from it. Rachel was seeking love and found exactly what she was looking for. “What I’ve realized is that God loves you for who you are and it doesn’t mean that you have to be perfect. He just wants to be in your life and help you to gradually change.”
She knew God loved her, but there is a big step between knowing it and actually experiencing it; Rachel took the love that God gave her and let it change her.
At the beginning of the year, neither of the girls expected Rachel Mount to build a relationship with God. Of the 34 freshmen in their house, Rachel was not the one people would have expected God to work in. And through all of this, and seeing Rachel’s life change, Rachel Thompson learned not to question where God is working and not to underestimate what He can do.
“We don’t pray big enough, we don’t believe that God can really save people. Sometimes we can’t tell who it is that He’s seeking, God has to show us.”
Rachel Mount has learned to accept God’s forgiveness and love, and she has become a different person, confident in herself and who she is in Christ. She knows she isn’t perfect but is okay with that.
“I realize there are other things that I can do that are much more fulfilling. I feel happiness and contentment. That’s probably what’s the most rewarding is just that peace that you get, feeling comfortable in your own shoes, loving who youare and being okay with who you are. I just love that feeling and having a relationship with Jesus.”