As I drove onto campus recently to begin my fifth year as a full-time faculty member at Milligan College, my thoughts turned to the first time I drove onto Buffalo Nation’s territory as an applicant for the advertised position. It was early June, and the beauty of the area was simply stunning. From the lush green of Buffalo Mountain to the brilliant flowers that beckoned me to take a seat on one of the many benches dotted about Mary Swords Commons, the campus invited me to drink in the beauty of God.
It was not just the beauty of nature’s landscape that spoke His name. The people were kind and welcoming, and they were clearly content, contributing to the lives of those whose futures they were shaping. There was a deep commitment to the college’s mission to “raise up servant leaders.” I felt, in the words of Rich Mullins, “Everywhere I go, I see You (God).” His presence during my maiden visit and the interview process was palpable. My heart was so full I could barely contain my excitement. On the plane ride back to Memphis, I gazed out the window at billowing clouds that seriously resembled cherubs with ample arms and legs and plump, smiling faces.
The next Monday morning as I drove to the campus of the college in Memphis where I had worked for seven years, I prayed for God’s purposes regarding the interview at Milligan. The call with a job offer came on Tuesday. From the moment of my “yes” to the setting of my feet on campus for the first time as a faculty member on August 15, the necessary whirlwind of activity kept me so caught up in things to accomplish I barely had time to think. Order PODS…check; hire relator to sell house of 27 years…check; find place near Milligan to rent…check.
Looking back on that time of transition, I see so clearly the hand of God in all the circumstances that had to come together for such a significant relocation. God’s hand was even more evident when, seven months later, my colleagues at the Memphis college were informed they no longer had a job. In fact, at this writing, the Memphis college no longer exists.
Risk is a word that makes me squirm. It makes my heart beat faster and trips all my hyper-vigilant alarms. Risk is what I was invited into when I filled out and mailed an application for the opening at Milligan.
Risk is something faith requires because the Jesus I believe and trust is a wild man.
If I am following Him, there will be risk. There will also be tremendous adventure, life, and fullness of joy. I am so thankful for the risk I took when I said “yes” to Milligan, and for the life my husband, Tom, and I have known in this new space at this time in our lives.
I wonder…are you standing on the edge of a precipice? Will you risk your “yes” to the one who holds your future?
“’Safe?’ said Mr. Beaver…’Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you’” (The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, C.S. Lewis)
Christine Browning is a lover of story—including her own. She loves to hear and longs to respond well to others’ stories. A late bloomer in the field of education, it is her absolute delight to teach at Milligan College in East Tennessee. She also counsels women who have experienced trauma and abuse. Christine is the mother of three adult children, three incredible grandchildren and has been married for 42+ years to her delightfully playful husband, Tom.