Remembering the deeds of the Lord: Reflections from a December graduate
By Ireland E. Kost
Graduation at CIU is one of my favorite celebrations to attend. Family members unashamedly hollering out congratulations from the back of Shortess chapel, professors draped in full regalia beaming from the stage, the relieved smiles radiating from the graduating class and the energy of school spirit evident in the room are a few highlights. However, I would have to say this December 2019 graduation was particularly sweet; you guessed it, it was mine.
Draped in my cap and gown, I listened to the commencement speaker, The Rev. Michael R. Holbrook who brought our attention to John 20:20. The verse proclaims, “After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the LORD.” Reverend Holbrook encouraged us to share the joy one has in Jesus as we enter life’s next adventures. Mulling over his words, I’m resolved the degrees, tassels, and training are worth only as much as we use them for Christ.
Though CIU prepares graduates to impact the world, I can’t help but recall how poignantly this 400-acre campus has impacted me. Recently, I saw a picture from my first day at CIU. I think about how the girl in that picture is nothing like the 21-year-old me, now. During orientation that week in 2016, Dean of Student Life, Rick Swift, encouraged the freshmen gathered in Hoke Auditorium, not to miss “it.” What is “it” you ask? Essentially, “it” is whatever God’s prepared for someone each day. “It” showed up in a variety of ways for me during college. “It” was discovering I had an academic appetite, scribbling notes in Hoke Auditorium. “It” was resting in God and beneath the green trees behind the Prayer Towers. “It” was worshipping in chapel. “It” was eating dinner at my professors’ houses. Once “it” was having a roommate hold me when my brother entered the hospital. Professors and peers have loved me dearly through my college days, as the hands and feet of Christ. “I want these people at my wedding one day,” I thought years ago. As it turns out, I’m planning my wedding for this January, and Lord willing, they will be there as guests, bridesmaids, and one (my favorite one) as the groom.
Typing these reflections of college, the slideshow of memories rolling through my head overwhelms me: the garden parties at The Pointe, the misty morning prayer times, the spontaneous hang-out sessions, the days when I didn’t miss “it,” and the days when I did. Psalm 77:11 says, “I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.” Pausing, I’m shocked how many challenges I’ve overcome, the failures I’ve lamented, the victories I’ve celebrated, and the wisdom I’ve acquired over my university days. I don’t want to forget them. I won’t forget “it.” It is all hollow without Christ.
Walking up to President Mark Smith and clutching my glossy diploma case was a surreal, thrilling moment. How rich the years have been for me at Columbia International University. Were these the best days of my life? Only time will tell. However life looks, I’m more equipped for “it” because of my education from CIU. God has a future for me: “To Know Him, and to Make Him Known.”
-About the author: Ireland Kost is a Teacher Education Major, Magna Cum Laude, the first Teacher Education major to graduate from CIU's Honors Program. She will continue at CIU in the Master of Arts in Teaching program.
Columbia International University consistently ranks among the Top Regional Universities in the South by U.S. News & World Report. Excitement is growing on campus with increased enrollment and new academic programs such as the Master of Arts in Global Migration. Request information on enrollment at CIU and Columbia Biblical Seminary or call (800) 777-2227, ext. 5024.