Leaning in: God is always God, even in the midst of a storm
By Loren Negron
I ended my spring semester at WSU with three failed classes, a C- and a term GPA below a 1.0. On May 12, WSU notified me that I lost all my financial aid and my full-ride scholarship.
At the time, only four people knew what happened. I was too ashamed to tell anybody else. I had always been an academic rockstar, but I lost that drive during the spring.
I battled depression as my parents started their divorce process. I fought back tears as I testified in a legal proceeding and shared my experience dealing with physical and emotional abuse during my childhood and early teen years.
I fought hard, and I’m still fighting.
There are many conflicting emotions ravaging inside me. I am learning to navigate through all of it. Some days are harder than others.
Sometimes I feel like I’m drowning in an ocean of pain. My suffering feels heavy.
I felt like a failure. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to finish college. I was worried about my finances. I felt so lost.
On May 20, I cried silently in my bedroom and prayed to God. My prayer was simple: “I need a miracle right now.”
When I woke up the next morning, I received an email from Kit Flowers, someone I interviewed last fall for a journalism class assignment. I remember him asking me “What’s your story?” after I interviewed him. I shared my story with him, as well as my testimony. We talked about God for 30 minutes after the interview, and he remembered me.
Flowers is the executive director of the international nonprofit Christian Veterinary Mission. In the email Flowers sent me, he asked what my plan was for the summer and if I was interested in working for them.
I met with him and the organization’s marketing director a few days later. They told me they were praying for someone with diverse communication/media skills to help them with projects as their organization transitioned into becoming an independent NGO.
I negotiated a contract with them, and they offered me a paid marketing internship. As part of the contract, I would work 40 hours per week this summer and they would pay me $24 per hour.
The income I’ve received from that internship is more than enough to help me pay my rent and car bills for this upcoming school year.
Soon after I landed that marketing internship, I met virtually with Tracy Simmons, executive director of the nonprofit SpokaneFāVS. She offered me a copy editing internship, which I’ve enjoyed all summer. I’ve had the opportunity to read and edit articles about religion, faith and values — topics that mean a lot to me.
As I started both internships, I was working with WSU to get my GPA back up and retrieve all my financial aid and scholarships. I had many discussions with financial aid advisers and my academic adviser. I submitted letters of appeal, explaining what impacted my studies during the spring. I also changed my grades to No Record COVID, which bumped my cumulative GPA back to a 3.81.
There were many times where I felt so alone. There were many times doubt wanted to take space in my mind.
But I continued to lean in to God.
On June 17, WSU notified me that I will continue to receive financial aid next year. And on June 29, they gave me my full-ride scholarship back.
What’s more, WSU notified me on June 25 that I am the recipient of two journalism scholarships — one of them being from The Seattle Times.
Now all of that is what I would call a miracle.
The God I know and believe in did all of that. Even when I was suffering, His love and grace never changed. I continued to lean in to God because I know He’s got me.
There may be many unknowns in my life right now as I navigate this difficult season. But what I do know is that God is always God, even in the midst of a storm.