I Am Just a Branch

This past year I’ve been reminded that Christ is the vine, and I am just a branch. I can do nothing apart from him.

So, as I make it my focus to be a Christian professor, God is teaching me that only if I stay connected to him—really hidden in him—will I be able to participate in his work of drawing people to him on the college campus. 

At the end of 2021 and early 2022, I felt discouraged because of a lack of traction in my projects and the seeming stagnancy in my career. In short, I felt unfulfilled. 

I wrote in my morning journal on Monday, January 17th a response to a churchwide devotional prompt. It read: 

The devotion from Friday was Joel 2:12-13 

“Repentance cleanses our hearts to make room to receive more of what He has for us so that we may, in turn, become more like him. What are some of the things you need to repent of today, the obvious and the not-so-obvious?” 

I wrote, “I need to repent from disorganization in my work and, subsequently my purpose. Lord, I need you to continue to reveal to me my purpose and guide me on the path where you have me.”

Five days later, I attended a Faculty Commons online conference known as “A Common Call” featuring Drs. Rosalind Picard, Gbola Adesogan, and Heather Holleman. Dr. Picard inspired me to be organized and intentional in my work; Dr. Adesogan nudged me to be led by the Holy Spirit on campus; and Dr. Holleman’s message prompted me to cooperate with the Holy Spirit to create an atmosphere of peace in my classroom. 

Their encouraging words came at just the right time. Through the speakers, God’s message was to search for his guidance in my work and life. 

This year I’ve seen incredible opportunities to be a witness for Christ in my scholarship and mentoring students.

Newly refocused, I looked for ways to honor God in my work. I found a call for proposals in my field that actually requested proposals from professors who engaged faith as a topic in the writing classroom. I eagerly wrote a proposal, and in January, it was accepted.

Then, about a week later, I was assigned a peer academic mentor (PAM). A PAM is a softer version of a TA who meets with students to help them grasp material from class. I’ve had PAMs in the past, but this one was especially curious about my interest in students’ spiritual development. He asked me questions that invited me to share my faith and the ways I engage my faith in Christ in my work. At the end of our introductory meeting, I was able to pray with the student who is a seeker. Later in the semester, the student asked my husband and me to be his mentors.  

Sometimes God just isn’t subtle. The connections I made in my faith and work during the last school year happened in a way that assured me that the Lord was guiding me down a path. God truly hears the prayers of his children, and I am looking forward to cooperating with the Spirit of God on my campus this year and in the years ahead.  

Cantice Greene
Clayton State University