Lacy Chappell, a senior pre-occupational therapy major from Seminole, Texas, shared the journey that brought her to LCU with her peers, professors, and LCU staff in chapel during the spring semester, emphasizing the evidence of God’s powerful hand at work in her life.
Lacy began her story by explaining that her parents were overseas missionaries in Scotland over the course of about four years through her high school years. During that time, she felt her faith begin to waver as she became complacent and listened to the words of some non-Christian friends.
“They said, ‘If life is so great, why do you even need God?’ And I couldn’t really tell them why,” Lacy recalled. “So, I began to lose my faith. If I don’t need God, then why keep Him around?”
Lacy also welcomed the relief from the perceived pedestal that she felt she had been placed upon as the daughter of missionaries—she had always felt that she had to be perfect. This pressure created an anger within her that she couldn’t ignore.
“I didn’t want any part of Him at all,” she said. “So, I created my own life, with my own plan, and so began my teen rebellion. Every teen has this phase, but I was definitely a pain—I still apologize to my mom almost every time I see her.”
At the heart of this rebellion was Lacy’s decision to marry a young man whom, in her own words, she, “had no business marrying.” During her senior year of high school, completely stripped of her faith, Lacy began filling her life instead with “this boy.”
“This was when my mom stepped in,” she recalled. “She realized what was happening and told me that she and my father weren’t going to renew my visa, which I needed to stay in Scotland.”
Her mother mandated that she would be going back to the United States, where she had the option to work or go to college—her only real requirement was that Lacy regularly attend church.
“I was angry with my parents for a long time after this—this wasn’t a part of my plan. I didn’t want to go to college, ever,” Lacy explained. “I definitely wasn’t interested in going to church at that time—I was so tired of church.”
Lacy decided that her best option was Adventures in Missions (AIM). “This is the part of the story where the Holy Spirit stepped in and saved me, because to this day, I’m still not completely sure why I decided to do this,” she shared, smiling.
AIM is a two-year program dedicated to training missionaries, located in Lubbock. The first eight months are filled with in-depth study of the Bible and strategies and training for ministering to people. After that, the remainder of the program involves the students being sent to a foreign mission field to work with an established, experience missionary or team.
“During those first eight months, I learned way more than a person who really doesn’t want anything to do with God wanted to learn,” Lacy recalled. However, the experience was absolutely transformational for her—by the end of the program, Lacy’s faith was stronger than it had ever been.
“I was ready to go out and teach the word of God. I was ready, and I wanted other people to feel what I was feeling at that point.”
Lacy was sent to the University of Phoenix in Arizona with another student, and together they made the 13-hour drive from Lubbock. Despite her renewed conviction, however, Lacy was soon to be tested.
“Things quickly went south,” she explained. “The sweet girl who had traveled to Arizona with me had suddenly been replaced with someone who had so much hatred for everyone around her.” The girl verbally abused Lacy daily, making her feel completely worthless, and also working to sabotage Lacy’s relationships with those with whom they had partnered in Phoenix, to the point that they never really trusted her after that.
“For a number of reasons, she left after a few months,” she said. “And then I was alone—so incredibly alone. And God was so completely silent.”
Lacy was angry and frustrated, wondering why, after her personal spiritual revival, she was being put in this place with these people. In the end, she decided that all she could do was trust that she was there for a purpose, and persevere.
“When my support was cut off, and I began to worry how she would pay rent, eat, and save money for bus fare and train tickets, since I didn’t have a car—I continued to trust. When I was followed home by random men, and worried about what would happen to me—I continued to trust.”
During the rest of her time in Phoenix, Lacy continued to beat herself down, because she had been told so much by so many around her that she was worthless. “I couldn’t understand why God was allowing me to feel like this,” she said, “because I knew that I was someone whom He so carefully created—but I continued to trust.” And that trust paid off, on July 5, 2015.
“I left Arizona, unsure of what I was going to do with my life,” Lacy recalled. “My mom had encouraged me to go to college, which was the last thing I wanted to do, but I respected my parents, so I decided to go.”
Because she didn’t have a list of places that she had been planning on attending, Lacy did the first thing that she could think of—write a list of colleges on a piece of paper, close her eyes, and point to one.
“Low and behold,” she said, “I ended up here!”
When she arrived at LCU’s campus, Lacy was still dealing with the events of her past year.
“I was quiet,” she shared, “definitely far timider than I am now. I stayed in my room all the time, and didn’t really get out of my room and meet anyone.”
However, God placed specific people strategically in her life to help show her that she was anything but what those negative voices had been telling her.
“They didn’t even know that they were helping me realize one of the biggest life lessons that I have learned to date—that God can take my mess and my hurt and turn it into something beautiful.”
Lacy learned much through her journey.
“I have learned to have patience with other people; that joy is found in putting other people first; that loving other people is the best kind of medicine; to trust that He will provide no matter what the circumstances; and most importantly, that loving God through your pain, and finding ways to seek him, even in what seem to be the most horrendous of circumstances, will bring you the greatest reward—being in communion with the one who continually holds you in His hand, and being a part of something far greater than what you can ever imagine.”