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How I Reached My Ten-Year Goal:

My Friend Debbie     You never quite know when a seemingly normal life event will motivate and inspire you in a way that changes your path forever. For me, the normal life celebration was my beloved sister-in-law's college graduation. Kim had been pursuing her college degree, slow and steady, for many years. I had dropped out of college at the time of my son, Aaron's birth, who was born with major health issues. I had finished my coursework, but I never returned after his birth to take my exams. Furthermore, I never thought twice about finishing college. There were much more important things to do now that I was a mom. But Kim's accomplishment sparked a desire in my heart. Her diligence motivated me to go back to college. While I was sitting there rejoicing in her accomplishment, I said to the Lord, "Wow God, Kim is forty and I am thirty. If I went back to school, I could be right there where she is in ten years." Furthermore, I had been home schooling my two brilliant sons and the older they got, the more challenging it became. I figured college just might allow me to stay one step ahead of them.

     I shared my desire to return to college and my husband gave me his full support. I knew that there were so many truths I always wanted to share, but folks often will not listen to you share Christian truth, at least not in Southern California, unless you earn the right, in their eyes, to be heard. I made a commitment to the Lord that if He would make the way for me to return to college, I would use every opportunity to write about Him and speak of Him in classes. After all, people do not have to read your work, but your professors must; and people do not have to listen, but your classmates and professors do!

     The Lord held me to my promise in short-order. One of my first classes upon my return was American History. I erroneously assumed that it would not be too difficult, but was I ever mistaken! My professor was more overtly hostile to all things Christian than any person I had ever met. She would say the most outrageous things in class, but I would dutifully raise my hand and counter her ungodly opinion just like I had promised the Lord. It got so bad that she actually gave me an "F" grade on a paper I wrote simply because I agreed that President Bill Clinton should have been impeached for his conduct while in office. One of my classmates received an "A" grade on her paper in which she wrote about the impeachment of Andrew Jackson (and commented on how wrong it was to impeach Clinton). The only problem was that Andrew Jackson was never impeached, it was our eighteenth president Andrew Johnson. I could not believe that an American History professor would be so biased as to completely miss the student's glaring error. Another classmate wrote her paper in all lower-case letters. That's right, not a single capital in her entire paper, not even her name or the professor's name. What grade do you think she got? You guessed it, an "A."

     It continued to get worse and worse during that semester culminating in the professor asking me to step outside with her during an exam. You see, she had been informed by a colleague that I had made an appointment with the dean regarding her behavior and her refusal to allow me to write a final paper on a topic of my choice because I was going to write it from a Christian perspective. She was livid that I would go to the dean. After stepping outside the classroom, she asked me to step outside the building. I was hesitant, but what could she do? To my absolute shock, she cornered me up against the railing of the third-floor outdoor balcony and proceeded to reprimand me for going to the dean, all the while smoking a cigarette and blowing the smoke in my face. As if that weren't enough, when she finished her cigarette, she repeatedly smacked me in the face with her smelly finger while yelling at me over contacting the dean!

     Needless to say, I was stunned. But then an amazing thing happened. I felt the Holy Spirit step between the professor and I and gently hold my hands down at my sides. I must confess it was a good thing, because my fleshly reaction was to swat her hand away, or worse (use your imagination). Then the strangest thing of all happened: the Lord gave me a heart of compassion toward her. I felt overwhelmed with grief over what must have happened in her lifetime to make her so hate-filled toward all things Christian. I told her that if she would agree to grade my work on the quality of my work rather than the content of my thoughts, I would cancel my appointment with the dean and we could simply move on. She was flabbergasted that I would even imply she would do such a thing, but then I reminded her about my Clinton paper. She denied any wrongdoing and assured me that as a professional she always had and would continue to grade me fairly.

My Friend Debbie     Let me tell you, that semester was one of the most trying times ever. I sought the Lord's face moment by moment to do excellent work and boldly share my faith amongst such overt hostility. It was at that time that I learned of the work of the American Center for Law & Justice. I sought their counsel and advice during that time so that I would know what my rights were in the public college setting. But the Lord saw me through and I never backed down on my promise to Him. More importantly however, I realized that if my sons or their friends were to enter public college they might not leave with their faith intact. That is when the Lord sparked in my heart the desire to protect the religious liberties of people in America. The dream to become a lawyer was born out of a very difficult trial and GOD has seen that to fruition.

     I went on to earn my Associate's degree in Philosophy with highest honors and my Bachelor's degree in Political Science summa cum laude. By going to school every fall, spring and summer for the past ten years, I was not only able to reach my goal of earning my BA in ten years, but I actually completed my Juris Doctor degree as well! During my second year in law school, I was one of only six individuals chosen to participate in a U.S. Supreme Court semester in Washington DC at the American Center for Law & Justice. When I returned from DC, I was hired as a law clerk at the ACLJ where I worked for over a year. Imagine the goodness of God sparking my interest and then allowing me to help others through my work at the ACLJ.

     God had been so faithful during the past decade. He sparked the dream in my heart and then provided everything I needed to reach my goal. I made a promise to use the platform of the classroom to speak and write for his glory and I faithfully did so, even under extremely difficult circumstances. Just like in Isaiah 6, when the Lord asks whom He shall send to tell the people about Him, I highly recommend going. Just like young Samuel in I Samuel 3:10, I encourage you to say "Speak (LORD), for your servant hears." You will be blessed and challenged in ways you cannot even imagine. I encourage you to ask the Lord to guide you and help you set your goal, but then faithfully ask Him to help you complete it. Your part is to diligently do the work. Remember, you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength. Philippians 4:13.

EPILOGUE-What happened to the professor?

     As for the professor, I waited until the end of the course when all grades had been posted lest I be accused of simply making allegations because I wasn't satisfied with my grade. (I received a perfect score on my paper and an "A" in the class by the way.) Then I made another appointment with the dean so I could report everything that had transpired. The dean's reception was icy. No telling what that professor had told her, but obviously there was talk going around because her response, when I said "I don't know if you know who I am" was to belligerently cross her arms and say to me "Oh yeah, I know who you are!" But her tone changed when I pulled out my notes that I had taken throughout the semester describing dates, times and sordid details of all the things the professor had done and said, along with copies of my classmates' "A" papers and my "F" one.

     The dean went from refusing to even sit down, standing over me in a threatening manner with her arms defiantly crossed, to sitting on the edge of her desk, stroking my hand and apologizing profusely for all that I had endured. She was mortified over the professor's actions and no doubt terrified that I would sue.

     Only the Lord knows what fruit has arisen out of what happened next, but I faithfully pulled out of my bag a handwritten note which I asked her to give to the professor. The dean was stunned and hesitant. I explained to her that it was my opinion that someone claiming to be a Christian had deeply hurt the professor and that was what prompted her overt hostility to Christians. I explained that the note was an apology from me, as a Christian, for whatever pain she had suffered at the hands of another. I told the dean that I had forgiven the professor for her actions and then told her how my note described to the professor what true faith in Christ looks like; that while Christians are imperfect, Christ is perfect. I shared with the dean that my prayer for the professor was for her to encounter Christ himself and allow him to heal her. The dean, looking at me in complete bewilderment, accepted the note and agreed to pass it along.

     It was almost three years before I graduated from that community college. On numerous occasions during that time I would run across the dean in the hallway or pass her in an office. Each time she would just look at me, smile a curious smile, and say hello. I think of both of these women from time to time and lift them up in prayer hoping for each of them to experience the life-transforming work of the risen Lord.

     If you would like to know more about the work of the American Center for Law & Justice, you can visit them on the web at www.aclj.org.

     In a future article, I'll share with you my experience at graduation from the university. While not quite so shocking as being physically hit, it was mind-boggling what the department chair said about me while giving me the award for finishing first in my class! Incomprehensible...

Copyright © 2008-2015 Kerriél Bailey, Esq.

Reader Comments...
2009-01-27 18:42:06
"Kerriel Bailey, Esq., you are amazing. Your story is inspirational and so well told. I look forward to reading more of your writings!"
        - Denise
2009-01-17 21:47:54
"Wow, Kerriel, you had me on the edge of my seat! Thanks for telling your story, and for being a courageous and humble witness for Christ!!!"
        - Stephen

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