Equipping the Called3 min read

“’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV).

It was the senior year of high school for Madison Arendt of Howell, Mich. Her parents were very worried. Could it be that their daughter would be the first in generations in their family NOT to graduate from high school? Madison had been a figure skater for 15 years until vertigo issues closed that opportunity, leaving her unmotivated and adrift. The social aspect of school was appealing, but not the academics. She squeaked through graduation with a minimal Grade Point Average (GPA), glad to be putting school behind her.

Madison always felt she would like to work with kids, but it wasn’t until she discovered the profession of Child Life that she knew in what capacity. She found that Concordia University Ann Arbor (CUAA) offered a Child Life Specialist minor through the Family Life Education Program. Madison’s passion and motivation soared, and the family advocated on her behalf for CUAA to allow her a provisional admittance, given her abysmal high school GPA. By her second semester at CUAA, Madison was on the Dean’s List with a 3.5 GPA, and she earned that honor every semester thereafter! During her time preparing for Child Life at CUAA she was chosen as Volunteer of the Year at Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor. She was Student of the Month for October, 2014 and was hired as the Sibling Program Coordinator at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. She did her practicum fieldwork in pediatrics at Sparrow Hospital in Lansing and Just Us Club for adults living with developmental delays in Ann Arbor. She served in her internship at Florida Hospital for Children’s Walt Disney Pavilion in Orlando, Fla. and graduated with high honors in May, 2015.

Too Many Coincidences

Madison laughs saying she originally didn’t want to come to CUAA because it was small. She thought a large, state school would better meet her vision for a social life—“the only reason to go to school.” She firmly feels God sent her to CUAA. “CUAA saved my life in many ways,” she says. She was churched growing up, but sports took her away. She sees how He removed a “party” college from her own plans. She feels it is a blessing that she came to CUAA and was cared for by faculty and staff. There were too many coincidences for this not to be the work of the Holy Spirit. God loved her and directed her to CUAA even before she knew Him well. When she goes into a public hospital, she can’t talk about her faith, but she can demonstrate it. She can walk into a room and allow the Holy Spirit to work through her. She is firm in her faith, knowing that God is in control both of her experience and the people she serves.

When she first met the Family Life staff and saw the program that was offered, she was intrigued. The community at CUAA motivates students to follow God’s plan for their lives and to serve others. She was impressed with how teachers are with students—they know them and serve them; students can see faculty’s faith in action beaming through them.

As Madison researched this profession, she liked that it was working with children in hospitals but not as a nurse or doctor. “When I think or talk about Child Life,” she says, “I find myself smiling.”

Madison comments, “I’m always excited to be doing Child Life homework. I can see how much I’ve learned; I feel very confident interviewing and working as a Child Life Specialist. I want to offer compassionate support and be a genuine person whose company other people enjoy.”

Madison found her passion as a Child Life Specialist and her relationship with her Heavenly Father. Ultimately, she says, “I will walk by faith and God will place me in the position where I am meant to serve.”

Subscribe to Blog Button

About the Author

Professor Karna Doyle is the Manager of Child Life and Community Services at Concordia University Ann Arbor.

More by This Author