For those of you reading this who may not know me, my name is Cierra and I am a senior at Grand Canyon University, studying business entrepreneurship. I’ve always had a heart to share the Gospel and I believe one of the greatest ways to do that is by telling your story. This is why I wanted to create “A Time to Rejoice” blog, which is a little different from most blogs. “A Time To Rejoice” will generally consist of people telling their testimonies and sharing how God has made a difference in their lives. My hope is that God will use these testimonies to help people know His love and reach them for His Kingdom.
Since this is the first blog post, I’ll be the first to share my testimony.
I was born in Colorado and lived there until I was about 9 years old. While we lived there, many things happened, including my little brother, Michael, being born. I also experienced a lot of firsts while I was in Colorado; it was where I took my first steps, said my first words, first started bowling, and most importantly, first learned about Christ. Both my parents were Christians so I grew up in both church and AWANA, which is a Bible memorization program for kids. One night at AWANA, when I was about 7 years old, I decided I wanted to accept Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior. Fast forward a couple years, to when I was about 9 and ½ years old, and my dad lost his job for 6 months. He was applying for jobs in Colorado but eventually had to start looking out of state due to lack of jobs and the unemployment rate in the area. This is when he found a job with a trucking company and we ended up moving to Missouri.
This was pretty hard on my family and I because, not only is Colorado where we all grew up, but the majority of our extended family lived in Colorado, as well. However, my parents assured me that God had a plan and moving to Missouri was part of that plan. They also assured me that I could write to my friends and we would visit our family that lived there. As we moved to Missouri, I had mixed feelings, I was sad about leaving Colorado but I was also excited to see a new state. Everything starts off great, we have a church home, we find a new bowling league (both Michael and I are competitive bowlers), and everything is going well. I should also mention that both my brother and I were homeschooled kindergarten through 12th grade, so we didn’t have to find a new school. Fast forward a couple years again, to the time when the pastor of the church we had been going to decided to say from the pulpit that he believed the Bible was an allegory. We (as in my parents) also found out that he was plagiarizing sermons every Sunday, word for word. So, we ended up leaving the church and searching for a new one. The next church we found, we were at for about a year before my dad found out that he could be part of a management-training program that would be able to get him a management position within the company. The only thing is, that meant moving to Michigan. Like the move from Colorado, I was excited to see a new state but I was also very hesitant about moving, especially since we had some amazing friends in Missouri and I had also just started being coached by one of the top five coaches in the United States. But, we packed up our stuff again and moved to Michigan within a couple weeks.
When we got to Michigan, we found a new bowling league and a new church, although it took a couple months to find the church. From a bowling perspective, my teammates up there were some of the best teammates and friends that I’ve had in bowling, and I still talk to them every once in a while. Now from a church perspective, this was the only state we’ve lived in where we’ve called only one church our church home. The people in the church felt like family, my whole family was extremely involved, both my brother and I were baptized there, and I really felt like I grew in my faith a lot up there, mainly because of Pastor Frank’s messages and talks with me. These reasons are why it was pretty hard when we found out we were moving to Arizona because my dad had gotten a management position.
So, we went down to look for a house, my dad moved down there, and he lived there for about a month while we were still in Michigan finishing the bowling season and some of our other commitments. Once we got down there, we found another bowling league and church and started getting involved in other activities. We were at our first church down here for a couple years before some things started happening that we didn’t agree with and my parents decided we needed to start looking for a different church. This is when we started going to CCV; we started at the Peoria campus, then went to the Surprise campus, and then were part of the team that opened the Avondale campus. From a bowling aspect, I started bowling on the high school bowling team when we moved down here; which was cool because in Michigan homeschoolers weren’t allowed to play for public high school teams, but in Arizona, they can. While I bowled for the high school team, we went undefeated every season, won 3 regional championships, and 2 state championships, so it was a great experience. 2013 was a big year for me; the high school team won our final state championship (we were all seniors), I went to the homeschool senior prom, I graduated high school, and I got my Citation award in AWANA (which I had been working towards since I started AWANA in Colorado, although it was off and on due to some states not having the AWANA program for my age group). During my junior and senior year of high school, I had been looking at colleges and was scouted by a couple for bowling, including the school that won the national championships my freshman year in college. However, I really felt like God was calling me to Grand Canyon University (GCU), even though they didn’t have a bowling team at the time.
After praying and talking with my parents about it, I signed the papers for GCU in December of my senior year. This decision got me a lot of comments from people at bowling saying I had made the wrong decision because I didn’t choose a bowling school. However, a couple weeks after signing those papers, I found out GCU was getting a bowling team and I really felt like that was confirmation from God saying GCU really is where I was meant to be. I started GCU in August of 2013, had an amazing roommate (Bre, who is now my best friend), had my first job where I met my first (and only) boyfriend who is now one of my closest friends, and overall, had an amazing freshman year. Although I won’t talk about every year in college, I will say that college has been one of the best experiences I’ve had. From freshman year to now, I’ve met many amazing people, experienced so many things, stepped outside my comfort zone numerous times, had/have a student leadership position, and have grown a ton in my faith and walk with Christ.
What I’ve written so far has just been an overview of my life but I don’t want you to think I have a perfect faith or I haven’t gone through struggles, because I have. There have definitely been times where I have doubt or fear or insecurities or my faith isn’t super strong. In fact, one of the toughest times so far was probably last semester. I felt like everywhere I turned, there was another mountain in the way. That wasn’t the only hard time either, every year had some rough parts, some just more than others. The one thing I know though is that I would not have been able to get through any of this without God in my life. Christ is my foundation and who I go to in both the good and the bad times. He’s the one I lean on when I think I don’t have enough strength. Finally, He is the one that has helped me not only step outside my comfort zone and face my fears but also the one who I can trust in and know that “all things work together for the good of those who love Him,” even if I can’t see how at the moment.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my story and seeing how God has worked through my life. If you have, please stay tuned for the next testimony to see how God has impacted someone else’s life! Thanks for reading and God bless!