A college student learns the truths of God’s Word and discovers a church family for the first time.
In her early years, Kaitlin Lamb felt the tug of the Holy Spirit as she heard about Jesus. She just didn’t quite know what to do with the Holy Spirit’s tug; it all seemed so vague.
It wasn’t until she enrolled at Wisconsin Lutheran College, Milwaukee, Wis., that Kaitlin began to understand how God was working in her life. There, God surrounded her with people who shared the gospel with her and helped her understand the Bible for the first time. Their actions—and the Holy Spirit—changed Kaitlin’s life.
Struggling to understand
Growing up in a Navy family, Kaitlin and her parents and three siblings were never in one place for long. They mainly lived in Connecticut, but they also lived in Wisconsin, North Carolina, Virginia, and Massachusetts. It’s not surprising, then, that the family wasn’t able to put down deep roots and get connected to a church home.
Kaitlin recalls praying and that her parents would sometimes talk about God, but it wasn’t until the family moved to Virginia Beach that they began to regularly attend a Lutheran church near their home. For about nine months they attended every Sunday, until the time came to relocate again. Then, living in Connecticut, Kaitlin would go to church each week, sometimes alone, if no one else in the family could go.
She remembers trying to read the Bible. “The Holy Spirit was constantly trying to push me to get more involved and learn more,” she recalls. But she was also frustrated by not understanding what she was reading: “I tried reading the Bible but was confused because I didn’t really know anything. The Holy Spirit was in my heart, but I didn’t know much.”
Fast-forward several years, and the time came for Kaitlin to research colleges. Her aunt, who lived in Wisconsin, joked about Kaitlin looking at colleges there. On a whim, she did. Wisconsin Lutheran College (WLC) popped up in her search, and the word Lutheran caught her eye, since her grandmother was Lutheran. “I didn’t even know that Lutheran colleges existed,” Kaitlin admits. “But when I saw Lutheran in the name, I decided to check it out.”
After reading the college’s mission statement, Kaitlin was intrigued. She was thrilled when her dad suggested a visit. As soon as she stepped onto the campus, Kaitlin was hooked and decided to enroll. “I fell in love with the environment and everything about it,” she says. Little did she know what an impact it would have on her relationship with God.
Growing in knowledge
Now on campus as a freshman, Kaitlin’s life changed the day she sat down in her first theology class. “I thought to myself, This is the best thing in the entire world. Someone is actually helping me read the Bible and know about the God I’ve been so curious about my entire life. I had spiritual guidance for the first time.”
Kaitlin soaked in God’s Word like a sponge, taking advantage of every opportunity available to her, from theology classes to daily chapel to the wide variety of campus Bible studies. She also eagerly participated in campus ministry events. She became intrigued by the concept of confirmation and questioned her roommates, both of whom were raised Lutheran and strongly grounded in their faith, about it.
Determined to learn more, Kaitlin sought out Greg Lyon, WLC’s brand-new campus pastor. “I just walked into his office and said, ‘I don’t really know what confirmation is, but can we do that?’” Lyon replied, “Well, this is my first year too, but we will figure out what we can do.” Lyon began to meet regularly with her, guiding her through Bible information class and answering the questions she had about her theology class.
The growing knowledge of the Bible helped her. “It changed everything—absolutely everything—about my life,” she says. She finally began to receive the spiritual answers her heart had been craving. “I felt like I was consumed,” she remembers. “I’d been praying for years, ‘God, I don’t understand this,’ and he was like, ‘Here you go. Here is all this stuff. I want you to know all of this.’ ”
As her knowledge of Scripture increased and her relationship with her Savior deepened, Kaitlin couldn’t stop thinking about confirmation. Since she didn’t have a car, Lyon drove Kaitlin to several local WELS churches, so she could get connected to one and become formally confirmed. She was thrilled to find a WELS church within walking distance of campus.
Kaitlin fights back tears as she remembers her confirmation day. “It was such a big step in my faith,” she says. “I was just so excited to be confirmed and be a part of a church. I never had a church family or congregation until Wisconsin Lutheran became that for me.”
Another reason the day was so special was the presence of the college friends who played such a big role in her faith journey. Kaitlin marvels, “I told my friends and they all went. They said, ‘We will walk there with you, go to church with you, and see you being confirmed.’ They were so proud of me.” She’s fully aware of the impact these friends have had on her life. “I never had Christian friends before,” she says. “This is a big deal to feel that loved—and not only by God. God’s using those people to encourage me in my faith. I call them my soulmate friends because I know that God made us for each other.”
In addition to being surrounded by her best friends—her spiritual cheerleaders—on her confirmation day, Kaitlin’s family members from Wisconsin came. Her mother and grandmother also flew in to encourage her and celebrate Kaitlin’s faith milestone.
Back on campus, Kaitlin was now on fire for the gospel. She worked with the campus ministry office to brainstorm ideas for Bible studies and creative ways to get more students involved. She also was instrumental in organizing an event to bring WELS Women’s Ministry on campus so students could explore the different ministry options available to them. Knowing the joy that serving Jesus brought to her life, Kaitlin wanted her fellow students to experience the same joy.
Even though her faith has been a blessing to her life, Kaitlin knows that the life of a Christian is not always easy. She has struggled, but her faith made those times bearable. “Learning more about God and making sure to have him as my foundation, as my base to everything, makes tough things in life so much easier,” she says.
As a recent college graduate, Kaitlin knows how hard it can be to be a college student. It’s a time of uncertainty and growth and learning who you are in Christ. Her advice to college students who are struggling? “Put God first. God above everything. Always go back to the Bible. God’s Word will speak to you, and the Holy Spirit will work in your heart.”
She also wants to remind college students that their campus is their mission field. “Get to know other students and what they believe. You have to have a relationship with somebody before you can really talk deeply about your beliefs and dive into the Bible together.”
Now living back in Connecticut and preparing for a new elementary school teaching role, Kaitlin continues to be a student of the Bible she loves so much. She attends Messiah, South Windsor, and regularly invites others—including her boyfriend, her friends, and her family members—to join her for worship. She wants the people she loves to experience the peace she has through Christ.
The unabashed way Kaitlin talks about her faith and her thirst for God’s Word make her seem wise beyond her years. She simply can’t understand how people can live without Jesus. “It’s hard for me even to think about my life without Jesus. He’s my best friend, he’s my Savior, he’s everything to me. He has changed my life so much that I can’t even remember before. I was such a different person.”
Sometimes faith stories aren’t dramatic. There might not be a single, defining life event that turns someone toward Christ. Sometimes the Holy Spirit plants a kernel of faith in a young heart and quietly nurtures it over the span of years. Kaitlin Lamb is a living testimony to the persistence and power of the Holy Spirit, and proof that one is never too young to be a witness to the saving work of Christ in our lives.
Author: Ann Jahns
Volume 108, Number 2
Issue: February 2021
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