Monday, March 11, 2013

A Day to Remember

Friday, March 8, 2013 is a day to remember.  A day that I did something that I NEVER do- cry out of pure joy.  I didn't cry on my wedding day, I didn't cry when finding out I was expecting (although I did cry when I found out I was expecting twins but that was not out of pure joy but out of unbelief and an incredible overwhelming feeling:)), I didn't cry at the birth of my children.  But on Friday when I found out that Providence Christian College had received accreditation the tears just started coming as I joined with the Providence community in praising our Lord for His incredible faithfulness to this wonderful institution. 
Fourteen years ago I was a Junior in high school and embarking on the fun journey of deciding where to go to college.  I really didn't want to go away to college, I was a California girl through and through and the thought of going to the Midwest where it snows and is cold did not sound good to me.  I checked out some strong Christian colleges in my area, but growing up Reformed I had a strong desire to go somewhere where I would be taught from a Reformed perspective, so those colleges in California just weren't an option for me and I decided to head out to that cold land :) for college.  My dad didn't like that.  He didn't like that if someone wanted a Reformed college education they had to go to the Midwest.  He saw so many students head off to the Midwest for college, find a spouse, and stay out there.  He saw the Reformed churches on the West declining and he thought maybe if there was a Reformed college out there maybe young people would not only get a great education, but they would also maybe meet a spouse and stay out West. :)  He had two more children who would be going to college in the coming years and he decided it was time to try to get a Reformed college on the West Coast.  I don't know if he had any idea then what it would actually take to make that happen, but even if he did, I know he would do it all over again.  And now, 14 years later after much blood, sweat and tears Providence has come to the point where they are an accredited college!  
My dad always says that he finds it an honor to be in the front row seat of the Lord's work.  Providence is truly a work of the Lord.  Those who work there will tell you that we learned so much about trusting in the Lord by working there.  At almost every staff meeting, beginning with the very first one on July 1, 2004, first president Jim Den Ouden would remind us of the verse "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understandings.  In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight" (Proverbs 3:5-6).  I remember he had a plaque of that verse hanging in his office.  We truly had to trust the Lord each day that Providence was His school and He would be the one to make it happen.  I am truly blessed to have been a part of it!
I want to thank Mary Ellen Godfrey and Dawn Dirksen for all the work, the endless hours, the sacrifices, the dedication and fight they gave for Providence to get Providence to this point. 
And I want to thank my dad, Geoffrey Vanden Heuvel, for all you gave to make this happen.  And hey, both your younger children did get a West Coast Reformed education and you got a daughter-in-law out of it. :)  So it worked! :)  And Lord willing in 17 years you'll be able to say that you have your first of many grandchild attending Providence  :). 
So join me today in praising God for His faithfulness and the wonderful blessings He has bestowed on the Providence community.  If you've never heard of Providence I encourage you to check them out here.  It is a wonderful college with great professors and staff and hey, you can't beat the weather :)! 


  1. Here, here Julie!! My eyes have been dry for a day or so, but the tears welled up again as I read your account of the beginnings. What wonderful memories we have of singing together (as long as you and Jim were there ;) and the joys and pains of starting something from the ground up. Thank you for this beautiful account and thank you for all that you gave to Providence during your time serving with us. God in His abundant grace has called you onto even greater work in raising your children to love and serve Him. May He bless you and Steve with all you need to do that with joy and gladness!! Love you Julie!! <3 Dawn

  2. My dear Julie,
    I have been out of town the last few days and just read your post now. I had to wipe the tears away to type this message. God is so good. I am a blessed man to have been given the privilege to be your dad and to be involved in starting up this providential institution named Providence. May God continue to keep us close to Him and moving forward as we carry out His plan here below.
    I love you girl!