The year of 2012 brought many tough questions for Danielle Schaffer. A second year law student at the time, Schaffer had everything figured out by the world’s standards. But behind the happy-go-lucky exterior, Danielle was wrestling with questions of doubt. “My second year of law school started like any other, but I was quickly confronted with four inescapable questions: Why had obtaining my desires and goals elicited such misery and lack of contentment? Why had achieving societal standards of success fostered numbing pain? Why was I held captive by invisible shackles if freedom was doing whatever I please and morality was relative? Why was my parents’ Christian faith and unconditional love intriguing me?”
Being someone that relied so much on her reasoning, she couldn’t understand where these questions were coming from, let alone why she had no answers. Was the faith and love her parents had so often displayed beginning to affect her own outlook? This appeared to be the case as she entered class in September of 2012. “My fingers unconsciously typed Employment Law Notes – 9/11/12. I felt numb to my exterior surroundings, yet my heart was pounding. Anger permeated through my body as I ached to grasp understanding. Questions flooded my mind with no rational explanation. My mind raced as I heard the words, “Good morning, class.” I stared at my lap fighting back tears. I knew what needed to be done: I looked up with a smile and class commenced.”
After leaving class, Danielle knew something had to be done. “The façade of the cheerful employee at the firm was too frequently greeted with pain behind closed doors. My veneer was cracking. The disconnect between the allure of worldly desires and its byproduct was all too real and marked my quest for answers. Is there more to life than your GPA? Could Christianity and the stories I heard growing up be real? Wasn’t there a dichotomy between reason and faith? Could Christianity be more to me than a cultural identification?”
Even with all the doubts and questions flooding Danielle’s mind, she was fighting what she knew she was supposed to do. It didn’t take long before she pushed past her ego: “After spending a few minutes pacing around school, I decided to swallow my pride and messaged an old friend about college-aged ministries. Vintage was one option and it fit my schedule best – in fact, it was meeting that very Tuesday night.”
After deciding to go to Vintage, there was still some lingering doubt about whether she had made the right decision. “My pride started simmering up while en route alone to The Chapel, but I wrestled with my ego; telling myself no one will ever have to know I went.”
Danielle thought she had built up her walls high enough, so that no one could really see what she was struggling with on the inside. But, when the message started that night, those walls didn’t seem so high. “Pastor Wes began a new series at Vintage, The Return. My walls slowly began to break down as we studied 1 Thessalonians 4 and Titus 2:11-13. We were challenged to invest in what matters and dive into the Bible; challenged to stop buying the lie about what will bring pleasure. Pastor Wes spoke God’s truth to me, that all true prophecy becomes history as we study the physical return of Christ. I was presented with the simple question: How does He want this truth to impact my life? My heart was pounding, not from anger like earlier that morning, but from an overwhelming joy and unsurpassable feeling of love.”
It was then that Danielle gave her life to Christ.
My heart was pounding, not from anger like earlier that morning, but from an overwhelming joy and unsurpassable feeling of love.
God began to show her the answers to the questions she so desperately sought were found in Him alone. “I began to pour into His word searching for answers. God showed me that reason and faith are not divorced from one another; rather, He alone marries the two. God held me as I cried, fighting the lie that I am bound to my past, teaching me that I am free in Christ. God’s absolute truth convicted me, knowing morality is not established by manmade laws; rather, from His transcendent law above the law. God was patient with me as I grew not only to understand, but also internalize, that my value is in Jesus Christ alone. God taught me how to discover life: “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it” (Matthew 16:25).”
“On that morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2012, anger permeated my body, by that night an incomprehensible peace rushed through me. In the morning my questions were all about me, by night my questions were all about Him. In the morning I was studying the Lochner era, by night I was studying the Living Word. In the morning I was a student, by night I was a daughter of the King.”
Photos by Betty Faery