Testimony of a Young Professional: The Love of God
by Lauren Miller, LLU School of Medicine, Class of 2021
was never physically abused, but the psychological damage from my father's alcoholism was deep and painful. Peace and security were feelings that belonged to others, but not me.
What I do remember, vividly, is the day I decided to shut down my feelings. It didn't take a lot of effort because I had already started ignoring them. I reasoned at a young age that I nor my feelings were of any great significance. Yet I always wanted someone to love me, to make me feel valued. I also looked for people to make me feel safe, but I struggled with allowing people to get too close. The few times I risked letting my guard down, I was left more wounded, disappointed, and alone. These experiences fed my belief that I had no real value.
Only as an adult did I understand that my father had learned to deaden his feelings and emotional pain through alcohol. As a result, he was unavailable to his family on many levels. I would spend years digging my way out of the pain this caused. For example, I believed if I gave people what they wanted or did the right thing, they would like me and think of me as important. I also reasoned that if I did the right thing, it would prevent or alleviate any need to confront difficult situations.
The decision to shut down my feelings was the result of fearing to trust what I was feeling and that what I was feeling was okay. But those feelings of not being safe and accepted by people would not go away, and they became the filters through which I viewed the world for years.
As far back as I can remember, I attended church with my family. I confessed hope in Christ at a young age; however, I had no idea what it meant to have a personal relationship with Christ. Accepting Christ seemed to be what was expected of me. Unfortunately, nothing in my life changed after that. I wasn't given Bible studies, nor was I reading or studying the Bible on my own. I still attended church, but there were no significant changes in my life.
Time and life moved on, and at the age of 17, I graduated from high school and went on to college. By 1986, I was divorced from my first husband and had two children.
Although I was older, I was still seeking to validate my worth. I was restless, searching for something or someone to fill the emptiness in my life. I started going to clubs. I didn't smoke or drink, I was into the music, and I enjoyed dancing. After a couple of years, I still wanted more, but I didn't know how to move forward. I felt trapped by my inability to make wise choices about relationships, often failing at engaging in healthy ones.
A Changed Life
In 1988, the most beautiful thing happened: Jesus came into my life in such a gentle way. He brought peace and security, and told me my worth by pointing me to the cross.
Early in the year, the organization I was working for transferred me to a different work site. My new office was located in an army hospital. I was meeting new people, and a few of them that stopped by my office told me about their relationship with Christ. I wasn't turned off by this, but no one had ever engaged me in conversations about their religious experience. I always thought a person's relationship with Christ was a private matter, not something to be discussed openly.
A couple of people started inviting me to their churches, and out of politeness and curiosity, I would attend. I found the services interesting but wasn't motivated to explore the possibility of joining.
One day, I received a call from a high school classmate. I hadn't spoken to her in ten years. How she found me, I do not know. She called to invite me to her baptism. I was amazed and excited for her, so I agreed to attend. By the end of the service, I knew I had found what I longed for. I can't tell you what the message was that day, but the presence of the Lord was in that place.
I remember sitting in that church longing to belong, to feel, to know this God everyone around me seemed to know.
I immediately requested Bible studies, and my life started to change...finally. Why? Because King David said, “The entrance of Thy words giveth light; giveth understanding unto the simple” (Psalm 119:30).
I learned through those studies that Jesus loved me just the way I was, but He refused to leave me the way He found me. He planned to restore His image in me. I can't tell you how excited and appealing this was to me because I didn't like the person I had become. I was tired of the emptiness, trying to fill it, often failing. I was tired of being afraid of relationships and avoiding them so I wouldn't be hurt.
In those studies and conversations with individuals in my Bible study group, I learned that Jesus loved me simply because I existed, and He cared for and about me. I knew that I didn't deserve His love, but praise God, He believed that I was worth dying for. The following year on November 3, 1989, I was baptized in that same church and baptismal pool.
My Life Today
Although I’ve had many challenges since giving my heart to the Lord, through the grace of God, I am not the same person who walked into that church 30 years ago. I have grown and continue to grow in Christ, and I have never regretted my decision to give my life to Him.
One such challenge came in the form of a learning disability. In 1993, I was officially diagnosed with a learning disability that affects my ability to read, write and spell. For years, even after becoming a Christian, I was ashamed of my reading and writing skills.
Somehow, only God knows, I finished my bachelor’s degree and went on to receive my doctorate in Educational Psychology. God wasn’t finished, He wanted me to write for Him. Imagine that, a person who struggles with writing and spelling, writing for God. I often say that God has an interesting sense of humor.
Someone once said, God does not call those who are qualified, but qualifies those who respond to His call. It took some convincing from the Lord, but I finally said yes to Him.
I now encourage others to say yes to Christ. Not just to work for Him, but to live for Him. I can and do attest, living for and working with Christ is the greatest and most fulfilling relationship and experience you will ever have.
The apostle Paul reminds us, "Hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. For when we were yet without strength, in due time, Christ died for the ungodly" (Romans 5:5-6).
The ungodly Paul is speaking of is us before we accept Christ. Doesn't sound very flattering, does it? We would like to think more highly of ourselves than ungodly. The good news is, when we hide in the shadow of the Almighty, and He shows us our true condition, it is then we are finally able to say, I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, which is the power of God (Romans 1:16-19). God's power to rid us of our ungodliness is found in the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. And make no mistake, it is a daily bowing of the heart and knee at the throne of grace that ungodliness finds no resting place in us.
I am daily humbled that God so loved me that He sent Christ, His Son, to die for me, the ungodly, that I may live His righteous life. Oh, how great is His love, mercy, and grace towards me.
rd against temptation; and it is this alone that can make one like God in character.”
As physicians, we often focus on the wrong thing when trying to restore our patients to health. We focus merely on a patient’s actions or poor lifestyle choices and desperately try to change them, only to get frustrated when they are noncompliant. There has to be a better way.
This quote granted insight into what that something better may be—restoring the correct picture of God to our patients. I know from firsthand experience that we all have deep pain, guilt, shame, fear, anger, resentment, confusion, and hurt from various influences and events that have occurred in our lives. These emotions react negatively upon the psyche, weaken the will power, embolden us in rebellion, and cause us to give in to the “path of least resistance” when it comes to a variety of vices.
What if there was Someone who could heal that pain? Someone who could ease the soul of the discomfort we constantly try to avoid by self-medicating with food, drugs, sex, alcohol, and more?
“This is life eternal that they might know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3, KJV). This picture of God can save our patients. This picture of God can save us. This is the God who saved me, and it’s the God I want to share with others. I like this God.
– Pew Research Center
Promoting Entrepreneurship On College Campuses
he journey of entrepreneurship can be very exciting but also challenging, especially for college students who are lacking guidance, experience and startup capital.
In efforts to help young entrepreneurs overcome these challenges, CoLab INC has created the LaunchU Collegiate Pitch Competition program to support students who wish to embark in the journey of starting their own business or nonprofit.
What is LaunchU?
LaunchU is the culmination of a year-long process that encourages Seventh-day Adventist students to collaborate with peers and professors at their schools to start a business or nonprofit.
Throughout the school year, students and faculty work together to create a viable business plan for their startup and finally pitch it in front of a judge panel to win funding and mentorship.
The LaunchU Program empowers the collegiate community as it:
• Strengthens connections between students, faculty and business leaders
• Promotes student entrepreneurship in the SDA community
• Collaborates with all branches in the collegiate community and business community to create great things
Oakwood University (OU), like many others, has largely benefited from the LaunchU program. Julian Waddell, business professor at OU shares, “The biggest hurdle that student entrepreneurs encounter is access to seed capital and because of that, startup ventures aren't pursued as regularly as they should within a safe academic environment. Thanks to CoLab INC, we have been able to develop our entrepreneurial ecosystem.”
This year, CoLab INC is excited to keep promoting entrepreneurship in various SDA schools.
Which Schools are Participating in 2021?
CoLab INC is hosting LaunchU Collegiate Pitch Events at the following schools:
*Walla Walla University sponsored by Green Ridge Properties LLC
*Pacific Union College
*Southern Adventist University
*Southwestern Adventist University sponsored by CIVITAS Senior Living
Check out our events calendar for specific LaunchU final dates and come watch students pitch their ideas for a chance of winning a share of $10K.
How Can Students Apply?
The program is open to any full-time undergrad students at any of the participating schools.
It's easy for students to submit their business or nonprofit idea:
1.Submit any business or nonprofit idea by January 10, 2021
2.Create a business plan and pitch deck
3.Pitch the idea before a judges panel at a live Final Pitch Competition
What Can Students Win?
This year we will be giving away a share of $10,000 at each school plus mentorship and a trip to our Moxie Business Summit & Pitch Event*:
*1st- Place: $5,000, 5 hours of professional mentorship and a trip to pitch at CoLab INC Moxie Business Summit
• 2nd- Place: $3,000 and 5 hours of mentorship
• 3rd- Place: $2,000
• Terms & Conditions Apply
How Can I Get Involved?
If you're interested in helping students launch their business or nonprofit idea, we would love your help! Here are the three ways you can get involved:
1.Judge: Become a LaunchU judge at one of our participating Seventh-day Adventist schools
2.Mentor: Become a mentor to help guide young entrepreneurs in developing and scaling their businesses
3.Sponsorship: Become a LaunchU sponsor to support entrepreneurship on Seventh-day Adventist Campuses
About CoLab INC
We believe launching an idea should be easier, which is why we facilitate workshops, pitch events and one-on-one coaching sessions to help entrepreneurs and nonprofit founders to develop and scale their ideas.
We're entrepreneurs too! Our nonprofit is funded by successful industry leaders who are passionate about giving back by helping you achieve your goals. Our board members, LaunchU judges, and advisory board members have launched businesses from a wide range of industries. They want to help you succeed with your business or nonprofit.
Get involved today by visiting colabinc.org!
What God does with 'Impossible'
by Kayla Reay
nemployment is a real stress factor for most people. Due to COVID-19, the number of Americans who lost their jobs in 2020 swelled to more than 14 million. Unemployment shot up from 3.8% in February to 13% in May according to the Pew Research Center. Most Americans cannot afford to live on one income and losing one’s job can be catastrophic and unnerving.
I lost my job even before COVID-19 became an issue. Last October, the company I was working for told me they were doing a reorganization and no longer would be employing an HR Manager. They stated these duties would be outsourced. However, the week before, my boss had given me a written warning on some truly made up issues. These were things we could have easily discussed. I supposed she was trying to cover her bases. To top it off, the contractor she hired was a friend of hers. Needless to say, I was very upset. This was not the first time I had lost a job due to “reorganization,” and it is never easy to swallow. However, my husband had a good paying job and this helped with the stress level moving forward.
The down time from a 40-hour per week job gave me an opportunity to take care of some medical issues, clean out my storage room and closets, and learn some new vegan recipes. Boredom and isolation began to set in as I was used to a very busy schedule. Every day, I did my hour of Bible study and prayer, pleading with the Lord to give me a “calling.” I’d go on my three mile walks and discuss with Him that I didn’t want to work in the secular world anymore and that I wanted a “calling.”
Nothing happened. Months past and I continued my discussion with the Lord. The angry thoughts about losing my job kept creeping in. I didn’t know what to do with them but knew they were only making me bitter. The Lord instructed me to pray for my boss every time one of those negative thoughts entered my mind. Her salvation was much more important to focus on than the wrong she had done to me. As Matthew 5:44 tells us:
“But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.”
Not only did I pray for her, I started praying for everyone who had been in the office with me. I also kept praying for God to use me, whether in small or big ways. I was His vessel.
The first part of July, my husband and I went to a camp meeting at Red River Outpost Center near Stanton, Kentucky. This was a double treat since our son also worked there. One of the speakers was Gabriel McClover. He and his wife, Vonnell, along with their five children, own a vegan restaurant called “The Vineyard” just north of Atlanta. He spoke about his passion to spread the health message through a community outreach program called the “10-Day Challenge.” That weekend, Gabriel and Vonnell fed some of their wonderful food to 200 camp meeting attendees. I was privileged to help them serve on Sabbath. Little did I know I would be working with them again very soon.
A few weeks later, the McClovers were asked to come to the Black Hills Health and Wellness Center (BHHWC) near Rapid City, South Dakota, to train the staff on the 10-Day Challenge and sign up participants from the community. They also planned to offer 2-Day detoxes and a free cooking school. Through my son, Robert, and a series of God-ordained circumstances, I found out they needed volunteers to help out with this community outreach.
Of course, I knew this was my “calling.” I answered with a quick “YES” and was on the road the next day for the 8 ½ hour trip to BHHWC. With this being my first ever mission trip, I wasn’t sure what to expect.
I quickly discovered that God had sent me to a true sanctuary. The setting of the Center was breathtakingly beautiful. There were lofty red-soiled cliffs, babbling brooks, scenic overviews, and flourishing houses and farms along dirt covered roads. We enjoyed early morning walks in the cool air.
However, the days in the commercial kitchen were long. They varied from 8-9 hours to one that was almost 15 hours. Our group shared the responsibilities of washing, peeling, grating, blending, chopping, seasoning, cooking, baking, etc. Whatever Vonnell needed us to get done, we got it done. We laughed and sang our way through sweet potatoes, breads, salads, soups, grains, and puddings. I’m amazed we didn’t wear out the commercial dishwasher with the amount of dirty dishes we accumulated! We were even able to help the BHHWC cooks prepare food for 60 Maranatha volunteers who were to arrive the day after the Challenge ended.
Liz was one of the participants who signed up for the detox and the 10-Day Challenge. Last year, she had a double mastectomy and hysterectomy along with chemo treatments. She was ready to get her life back on track and restore her energy. It was a joy holding the cooking class in her beautiful home and teaching her that vegan food is not hard to prepare. She was all smiles when we left.
As a treat one day, we took a break from work and were chauffeured by a BHHWC staff member to do some sightseeing. I had been to Mt. Rushmore before as a child, but not Crazy Horse. A Sabbath afternoon drive through Custer State Park was also fun.
Here are some of the things I learned:
In A Call to Medical Evangelism and Health Education, Ellen White writes the following:
“We must educate, educate, educate, pleasantly and intelligently. We must preach the truth, pray the truth, and live the truth, bringing it, with its gracious, health-giving influences within the reach of those who know it not. As the sick are brought into touch with the Life-giver, their faculties of mind and body will be renewed” (p. 262).
I didn’t go home unchanged. During that two-week period, I knew the Lord had a purpose for me learning the things I did at BHHWC. I’ve come back with a renewed interest in health ministry. I’m offering the 2-Day Detox to my friends and family and also reaching out to my neighborhood community to conduct vegan cooking classes. When the body is healthy and the mind is cleared, the voice of the Holy Spirit can be better heard and understood.
So here are my challenge questions: Are you willing to be employed by the Lord? Are you praying for Him to use you? I pray you will answer “YES” as I did and GO.
Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. Let all that you do be done with love.