One day you wake up and find that you are suddenly twenty-six years-old and five entire years have elapsed since undergrad. Yikes. How did I get here?!
When I look back on my college years, I am surprised about how much I changed and grew in my three years as an undergraduate. Beyond that, I’m continuously amazed at the source that spurred my growth.
If you were a fly on the wall during my weeks leading up to day one as a University of Kentucky student, you would have seen awkward little me bouncing along through a week of interviews-- I mean sorority recruitment-- never really having overwhelming feelings about any particular sorority. Truth be told, I had a rocky home life and the reason I decided to rush was because I wanted to move into my dorm early. Like, that was the ONLY reason I rushed.
For the entirety of my first year I contemplated dropping. I had friends outside of the sorority and was busy trying to keep my GPA afloat… I didn’t have time for pumpkin patches and all of the parties (though I must note I did go to my fair share) and weekly meetings and all of the events they make t-shirts for. With a goal of three year graduation and an upstanding moral system, it didn’t seem like being in a sorority was helping me reach my goals.
Not only was it not helping me meet my goals, it didn’t seem like it was adding much “sisterhood” to my life during the first year. I had some friends in the sorority then, but honestly not many I have remained friends with. After surviving my first agonizing experience as an active member during sorority recruitment, things began to change.
My second year I met one of my littles, Corinne, who is a Christian, and together we started going to the co-ed Bible study my sorority had with the fraternity next door. It was in that Bible study that I met three important people in my life: Sarah, Lesley, and (most importantly) Jesus… the love of the former two still helps me to reflect on the love of the latter one, and all of them are relationships I expect to last a lifetime.
I found in Kappa Delta what I never found in the churches of my childhood… real examples of humble people earnestly seeking God against the backdrop of busy schedules, college culture, and the same stumbling blocks I faced. It was just sincere enough to convince me to start listening for a while instead of continuing to tune it all out, and it was just compelling enough to get me to show up for Bible study week after week. As a direct result of a year of Jesus speaking to me through the Bible study my sorority co-hosted, I got baptized on September 10, 2010.
It wouldn’t be true or God-honoring to say life as a Christian, or life in a sorority for that matter, was “rainbows and butterflies” after being baptized. Nope, not at all, not in the least. What I will say is through my sorority I found both Jesus and true Christian sisters who were able to give me grace when I messed up, and gave me courage to lavishly extend grace to other mess-ups like me-- even when my voice was the only one doing it.
I would imagine that in every sorority house in America there is at least one girl who feels marginalized and excluded, because sororities are made up of people and people aren’t perfect; I sincerely hope and pray that for every single one of those ladies there is a Christian sister there to say, “not on my watch.” During my first year of college I was the lost girl!
Jesus loves finding lost things... in Luke 15 He tells story after story, speaking to this truth!
“‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way
there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.” (Luke 15: 6-8)
In a total role reversal, my final year of undergrad I took the role as Shepherd when I became my sorority’s Chaplain and Bible study leader. My senior year there were several key moments I remember Jesus enabling me to speak truth and love over my sisters. There were girls who struggled to make friends, girls who struggled to make grades, and girls who struggled with finding their self-worth and identity outside of partying. Like Jesus, I made some unlikely friends, to be sure, and in every situation-- though the world was giving them the opposite message-- God equipped me to say “girlfriend, you’re included- I’m not going to let you fall by the wayside on my watch.” Living out Luke 15 with Jesus is such an adventure!
A lot of people seem to have the misconception that sorority houses are “Godless places.” What I found during my experience in Kappa Delta was cause enough for me to believe the opposite. God made all of creation… there is nowhere you can go and not find His hands still working, to include the concrete walls and carpeted floors of the basement in my old sorority house. I hope you find Jesus is your sorority… I know He’s there, working all things together for your good, because He sure does love you (Romans 8:28).
If you are a young lady who is considering dropping a sorority, I would encourage you to consider waiting it out for at least one more semester. I’ve been in your shoes and I can honestly say, eight years later, I still feel sticking with it was one of the best decision I’ve ever made.
To take it a step further, if you are a young Christian lady and are struggling to see Jesus in your sorority and are contemplating dropping, I am going to be bold in challenging you especially. I would encourage you to start shepherding your sisters on the margins, the ones who need to be included, and try being Jesus to them. Start right there! Invite them to your sorority’s Bible study with you… if there is no Bible study, consider starting one! The best way to see Jesus is to meet Him as His hands and feet. If you know Jesus, help shepherd His flock! I hope that your persistent love and prayers leads a sister into the waters of baptism and a life with Jesus. This lost sheep turned shepherd is proof that with God and good sisters, it’s possible.