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Featured Alumni: Michelle Zytkewicz

21 December 2018
 December 21, 2018

Be encouraged by what Michelle Zytkewicz, alumnus of Fall 2010 and one of our former Dean of Women, has to share on her time spent at CCBC and how the Lord has grown her since her time here.

1.   How has your time at CCBC prepared you for ministry, work, and life in general?

Being a student at CCBC was like being on the mountain top with Jesus.  It was so sweet and I wanted to stay there in that place with Him forever.  But there was a valley waiting for me when I came down the mountain. CCBC prepared me for the valleys of life.  I wish that life was filled with mountain top experiences, but more often life is lived in the valleys. The mountain tops are there for encouragement and refreshment but we must go back to the valleys because that is where our faith is tested and strengthened. The valleys are often the mundane of life. But so much growth can happens in the mundane.  CCBC opened up the word of God to me in a way I had never known before. The valleys are filled with lies that are meant to destroy us and separate us from our God. CCBC laid a foundation for me to know how to get back to the truth of God’s word. I learned to study God’s word and apply it to my life. However it is not a one and done thing to go to Bible college. We must continue to seek the Lord daily. It is a pursuit that is worth everything.

2.   What have you been up to since graduating CCBC?

I’ve done a hodgepodge of things since graduating CCBC all the while keeping a waitressing job.  

After graduating at CCBC I was asked to come on staff as an intern to the Dean of Women. I eventually stepped into the role of Dean of Women. It was very challenging and I was dealing with things that I had no idea how to deal with, but I grew as I was stretched by the challenges that came with the role. It was a sweet season that I will always be thankful for.

I decided to leave my job at the bible college to move back to Oceanside where I’m from; my plan was to pursue a career in midwifery. I pursued this pretty hard and came to a place for about a year and half, during which I knew I was no longer walking in obedience to the Lord, but trying to make something of myself for my own reputation.

During that season, I felt as if the Lord hid His face from me and it was a horrible feeling, but in my stubbornness and pride I pushed through it.

I became a doula (while still waiting tables) and had been attending births and enrolled in midwifery school ready to start the following semester. I then came to a place where I knew in my heart I had to make a decision to either continue walking in my will, knowing I was distancing myself from the Lord, or I could surrender to the Lord’s will and be in close fellowship with Him. I could no longer stand my sin of pride and stubbornness that was putting a hindrance between me and my Heavenly Father. I had to surrender my dreams, who I thought I should be, and the reputation I wanted to hold. From there the Lord began to open my heart to Him again. I now understand that by hiding His face He was causing a deep longing in my heart for Himself. “If you seek Him you will find Him”, and at that point all I wanted to do was find Him again. Letting go of the plans I had been holding so tightly to was both freeing and humiliating. I hated all the “what next?” questions. I didn’t have any answers and it hurt my pride to have to say “I don’t know.” I felt like a failure-to-launch loser. But knowing that the pride that was hindering me from walking closely to Jesus was being removed was so freeing and completely worth letting my dreams go to embrace His plan for my life. It was at this point that His plan began to unfold.  

During all of this I was serving in the children’s ministry at my church. I would put together a craft for each Sunday’s lesson, drop it off in the children’s classroom and head to the main sanctuary. Most of the kids didn’t know my name because I would run in and run out. They just knew me as the craft lady. I was pretty comfortable doing this, but then I was asked to teach in the kindergarten room. Going from college students to kindergarteners was a huge difference! I had no idea how to manage a classroom of wild kindergarteners, let alone teach them the word of God in a way that their little hearts could comprehend.

Shortly after I had decided to no longer pursue midwifery, the couple who led our children’s ministry were moving. My friends Hosanna, Jen, and I were asked to take over the children’s ministry as a team. I did not think I was the person for the job. I was just coming out of a season where I felt like a complete failure as a Christian. But I knew the Lord was opening this door and in obedience I was supposed to walk through it. I had to trust that the finished work on the cross was greater than my failure. The Lord began to use these children in my life in a way I could have never foreseen.

Also at this same time a friend and fellow alumna was getting married and knowing that I was artistic asked me to make some of the signage for her wedding. To make a long story short what is now Michelle Renee Calligraphy was birthed out of that.  Today, I run a creative studio making wedding and event stationery. What started out as a few signs for a friend’s wedding has become a business that I love and am so blessed to have. The Lord changed the direction of my life and I am so thankful. I would have missed out on all that He had for me. Not just the business, but the children and their families at my church that have become my family. Nothing in my life today is anything I could have accomplished myself. I’m not sure how to communicate this properly because I would hate for anyone to walk away from this thinking that if they are just good enough or obedient enough that good things will follow because that is simply not true. A lot of times choosing the path of obedience is the more difficult route. I’m learning to walk in the grace that the Lord has given me and to trust Him with the rest, no matter the outcome.

3.  Have you been involved in any ministries since graduating CCBC?

I facilitate the Children’s Ministry at my church along with two friends.

The proverbs say that “children are a blessing from the Lord”. I always assumed that meant your own children will be a blessing from the Lord, but have come to understand ALL children are a blessing from the Lord. Our hearts as leaders in the children’s ministry is that the Lord would capture their little hearts at a young age. We pray for Lord to be building a firm foundation of faith so that as they grow they would continue to walk faithfully with the Lord. I think everyone should have children in their life. They can be wild and messy and unpredictable but they are also the greatest blessing!

4.  What type of jobs/ careers have you worked?

Server, Intern, Dean of Women, Doula, Calligrapher

5.   Are there any words of wisdom that you would like to share with our current CCBC students?

GOD DOESN’T MAKE MISTAKES.  In the midst of hard times that statement doesn’t feel right, but it is true. You will walk through valleys. Most of life is lived in the valleys, but we do not need to despair over this. God is good. He is good on the mountain tops and he is good in the valleys. If I can encourage students to do one thing, it would be to be in fellowship in your local church. When you leave CCBC find a church to call home and get to know the people there. Live life alongside of each other. I am so thankful for my church family who loves, encourages, and at times rebukes me. It can be messy to be a part of the body of Christ, but we need each other.

“He does all things well.” Mark 7:37

 

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