If there’s one thing I’ve learned at Impact University, it’s to expect the unexpected. And the thing is, I wasn’t expecting to find a family in Impact. But that’s what I got, as much as it may not seem that way.

You may not understand that last part, but let me tell you a little bit about myself. When I came to Impact last semester, I was fresh out of high school. 18 years old, unsure of my purpose at Impact and just going on a whim. There were 2 other first year students, right out of high school as well. Everyone else was a second or third year, with 4 of those people forming two couples, and a third couple coming about after midterms. With all these relationships already formed, I was… an outsider. Of course, that was of my own making, as everyone at Impact is super friendly and always wanting to get to know you better. But as an introvert, I automatically shy away from social interaction. THIS is as social as I get. I’m more comfortable in my room, with my books and music than around people. I have 4 close friends, that’s it.

So I kept my classmates at arm’s length, making small talk with them, caring about them from a distance. And just when I decided that I needed to open up to them, that I needed to let them in and get to know them better, something happened.

I got sick. Those three words changed my life, maybe for the rest of my life. You see, I thought I had everything together. I was finally starting to get close to God, the way I craved and wanted and NEEDED. That was when the devil decided to strike, and strike hard. He put me in the hospital, not once but twice within a month. The first time was for 6 days, and they diagnosed me with Ulcerative Colitis. UC is an autoimmune disease, similar to Crohn's disease. They say I’ll have it for the rest of my life, and now that I’m on Humira, I’ll have to be on biologics my whole life. I’m still fighting that. The second time I was put in the hospital, I was specifically told by my mom that this was an attack on my life. I was in the hospital for 10 days, for an infection called C-Diff.

Both times I was in the hospital; I was visited by Impact leaders. The first time, Pastor Barr came and saw me, laid his hands on me and prayed for me. He reminded me that all of Impact was praying for me. Pastor Jayson and Pastor Ed also came to see me. They too laid their hands on me and prayed for me, reminding me again that Impact was praying for me. I didn’t think much of it at the time because it’s a Christian college. Of course, my classmates are praying for me. That’s what we do. It wasn’t until later when I wasn’t in pain and worried about getting stuck with needles, that I was grateful.

The second time I was in the hospital was harder for me. Pastor Ed, being newly ordained, came with his wife to anoint me with oil and pray for me. This time, though, was different. Because this time, I was putting on a brave face. I was tired. I’m a fighter usually, but my body was protesting, and I dreamed of relief. If that relief came from going to my home in Heaven, I can’t say that I would’ve minded. If it was my will only, I think the devil would’ve won. He would’ve taken my life, snuffed it out before I found out God’s purpose for me. But that day, when Pastor Ed prayed for me, I heard more than his prayers, but the prayers of my parents, my family, my friends… but mostly my classmates at Impact. Not just praying for healing, but peace, encouragement, love, hope. At that moment, I felt a tie to Impact that I never felt before. It was then that I realized, Impact is a family, just as much as my parents and I make up my immediate family.

After I got out of the hospital, I still had a battle to fight. In fact, I still am fighting that battle, as I lost nearly 30 pounds in a month’s time, and I still am dealing with the Ulcerative Colitis. Because of this, I am unable to physically attend classes. But I listen to them online and am with you all in spirit. But every day, I am thankful for my Impact family, because you all saved my life. Without your prayers, I don’t think I would be here to share this. So thank you, for being my family. And whenever you feel down, or just need someone to talk to, I encourage you to reach out to your fellow Impact students and teachers, because they can become your family too.

Blog by: Holly Sebastian