Johanna Wolfert shared the following thoughts in the last chapel of the academic year, just before exams and her graduation as a part of the class of 2019.
As someone who likes to know how everything is going to play out ahead of time, I’ve often struggled to step out into the unknown. But God has been patient in teaching me to trust in his faithfulness, and I’ve learned that he will never let me down when I am obedient in following his call. This hasn’t always been easy. As an introvert who was used to having her own space, I struggled so much with the transition to living in residence in my first year that I very nearly moved back home at Thanksgiving. The only reason I stuck it out at first was that I knew God had told me to stay. It definitely wasn’t what I wanted to hear at the time but sure enough, I had grown to love living on campus so much by Christmas that I ended up staying for the rest of my degree.
It turns out that I’m a pretty slow learner, though. I spent the fall 2018 semester studying at the Laurentian Leadership Centre in Ottawa and initially, I really didn’t want to go. I didn’t want to leave my friends and family and comfort zone for something completely unfamiliar. God had made it clear that it was the right next step but I spent the whole five-hour car ride there dreading my arrival. Well, you can imagine how the story went: by the end of my first week, I had fallen in love with life in the capital. The LLC proved to be one of the most professionally, socially, spiritually, and intellectually enriching experiences of my life.
Over the past four years, I’ve also become deeply convicted of the power of Christian community. God never intended for us to seek his face on our own. I have been challenged and encouraged in so many ways by the people I’ve met at Redeemer, from my fellow students to the faculty and staff. Community, of course, doesn’t just happen. I’ve learned that it takes time, commitment, showing up when you’re tired or bored or busy or just don’t feel like it. I’m not always excited about getting up early on Friday mornings but meeting with a group of friends for prayer at 8 a.m. every week has turned out to be one of the highlights of my semester. My closest friendships today — and the ones I know will continue long past graduation — are those that I’ve had to work hardest for.
Because of God’s great mercy, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the person standing in front of you today is not the same girl who showed up here four years ago. Redeemer University College, I cannot thank you enough for these incredible years of growth, wonder, change, challenge and healing. I will sing to the Lord, for He has been so good to me.