SNU Inside Story: Rachel Atnip

Edited by Paul McGrady, Assistant Athletic Director

Rachel Atnip came to class early a couple of weeks ago. Three or four students and I were chatting as we waited for class to begin. In the midst of casual conversation Rachel made a statement of exclamation, “This place (SNU) has changed my life. It is an absolute miracle!”

There had to be more to this story……………..

Rachel’s background is typical of college students in 2013. Her mother and father divorced when she was two years old. She has rarely seen her father and her mother struggled to keep her family going. Rachel found herself with more freedom as a young teenager than she needed. “I got into plenty of horrible things that a fourteen year-old should not be doing and I was making bad choices.“

For years she struggled with experiences and people that influenced her life in a negative way. Her life was plagued by bad times and hard times. “I finally made it through high school, barely squeezing by because I was struggling with drugs and alcohol.”

Rachel had attended two public colleges in the state of Oklahoma when she renewed a connection through the sport of soccer with SNU Women’s Coach Julie Duncan. “I decided that since SNU had a good soccer team I would try to get into school and play on their team. I contacted Coach Duncan and she accepted me. I would have never thought my life would eventually change in such a positive direction all because I made that one decision.”

Rachel stepped into a new world at SNU. “My first thoughts of SNU were a total joke. I would make snide remarks about people standing for worship during chapel. I was never raised in a home where we went to church, so this all seemed foolish to me. I finally realized that I was being selfish, and my mind was not straight because of my bad habits. After a couple of semesters I opened my heart to the SNU community. I began to hang out with my teammates more often. I began to communicate with my professors. I opened up about my problems. I was accustomed to being looked down upon as an athlete. But at SNU, I began to feel apart of something. This past year has been the most life -changing year I have ever experienced. I finally began to realize the wisdom of my mother’s advice about ‘choosing your friends wisely’. The girls of the SNU soccer team are not just my teammates’, they are my sisters for life. These girls knew things about my past that I am not proud of but they never judged me.”

“They have always believed that if I opened up my heart to God, that He would give me the direction that I needed. I have put my heart out there for Him to take over and He has come through for me. I now believe success is in my future! I know that if I would not have come to SNU, I would be a drug addict and I would not be graduating from college next December. I thank everyone at SNU for being open-minded towards me and giving me several chances to grow up before giving up on me. I just never realized just how much opening up my heart to God could change my life in such a positive way.”

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us……..” Ephesians 3:20

At SNU, we say that transforming lives through higher education in Christ-centered community is our mission. However, only Almighty God has the power to truly rescue a person’s life, change their heart and give them hope and a future. Today, I am thanking Him and stand amazed at His grace and mercy working in the life of one of His precious children!