August 2007, I pulled onto the campus of Ohio University with two cars
bursting at the brim from over-packing moderately full of the freshman’s dorm room essentials. It was an interesting season in my life as my parents were going through a divorce and I was beginning a whole new chapter moving away from home.
One decision I made within the first week of college was to join a sorority. For all the wrong reasons initially — easy access to the party scene, a sense of belonging and identity, and the hopes that I’d be able to get a fake ID.
After the long process of recruitment, I pledged Chi Omega and was thrilled about it. As we rushed from our student center to the front lawn of the sorority house, I was greeted by nearly 100 women all seemingly ecstatic to meet me and the other new gals. I partied it up that first year in Athens, not to the surprise of anyone who knows anything about Athens, Ohio. I dove into the scene head first and just wanted to be accepted. Chalk it up to an early-life crisis.
Moving in to the sorority house my sophomore year I was genuinely nervous. That summer I made a lot of personal changes through surrendering my life to Jesus, which included not being a part of the scene that formerly defined my reputation.
What are these women going to think of me now? Maybe I shouldn’t be back to OU? were questions that went through my head. But I stuck with it and decided I would have nothing to do with the lifestyle I lived before. While it was definitely the decision I had to make for myself at the time, I’ve been reflecting lately on how I could have handled things differently.
During my senior year, I had the privilege to share my story of how God had worked in my life at our weekly gathering for Cru. I invited a bunch of my sorority sisters out and they came, even though our friendships looked much different now three years later. It touched me greatly that they were there to hear me–they came to a scene unfamiliar to them because they wanted to support me.
I am so thankful for my story and how God has worked in me, but the way I chose to phrase certain aspects about what sorority life had been like for me was likely pretty hurtful to the row full of women I called my sisters. It was indeed a lonely time in my life living in the sorority house, but I wish I would have taken the chance to encourage them, to tell them that there is nothing they’ve done that Jesus’s death on cross doesn’t cover, that I didn’t judge them for the decisions they were making because I had just been there. I wish I had told them how much I cared for them, believed in them and how very much God has in store for their lives–that they are precious to Jesus and he loves them unconditionally; that they deserve men who value them and treat them in a respectful, loving, Godly way.
So to any of my Chi O sisters, or fellow sorority girls out there, I am sorry. I’m sorry for distancing myself from you, not knowing how to be your friend, and ever coming across as having it all together. I didn’t then and I certainly don’t now. You are amazingly beautiful, talented and gifted women that I am honored to have spent four years of my life with. Thank you for those that were there that night, it meant more to me than you know. I think of and pray for many of you often, and hope somewhere down the road our paths cross again.
Greek life turned out to be one of the best decisions God has redeemed in my life. What I joined for poor reasons, God used for His glory. I was able to be a part of the Greek Bible study and later go on to lead it. The women I’ve met through this from many other sororities on campus have become some of my greatest friends, who inspire me to do more for Jesus. Thank you all for the impact you’ve made on my life today.