These past few months have been characterized by change — a season that has marked me, shaped me and continued to challenge me towards a deeper dependence on Jesus than I have ever known.
Single at 43, I had come to the conclusion that perhaps God’s plan for my life didn’t include the gift of marriage. I had spent several years seeking, trusting and praying, all the while considering His plan for my future and wondering where in the world “Mr. Right” was. Though I never felt wanting, or even that I was experiencing anything less than His very best for me, I still wondered.
I was content where I was in life, and was moving towards continued education in September 2012, when I was introduced to an amazing man — Bob Underwood, a widower with three children. Never in a million years could I have dreamt all that God had in store for me. February 14, a year ago today, Bob proposed, and on August 3, 2013, we entered into a covenant relationship witnessed by over six hundred of our closest friends and family members.
Faculty member Jim Velez, who introduced Bob and me, officiated our wedding and told our guests of my undying commitment to Multnomah University — so much so that I would marry a Mr. Underwood so my initials would match the initials of the university I love: MU. Those who know me know how deeply I love this place, and while the last name was truly not a requirement considered in the process, it’s certainly a fun piece of trivia.
Today, God is using these new relationships in my life to grow me in beautiful ways. It’s a time of change for sure — a change in marital status, parental status, church community status (along with a cultural shift status from the Pearl District to Estacada, Oregon) and, of course, a living status. Yet with these changes, as you might imagine, there are beautiful challenges and opportunities along the way.
What We Learn Through Change
Some of the greatest lessons I’ve learned in this new season are that God’s timing is perfect, He is faithful and at work even when we can’t see it and He has the very best for us if we dare to trust Him.
Bob and I have been enjoying the journey of marriage for just over six months now. As a family, we’ve been encouraged by opportunities of growth and getting to know one another. I truly believe that as we experience seasons of change within our lives, we have an opportunity to embrace what God is doing and open our hearts for growth and learning in ways that might not otherwise be realized. I have no doubt that God has purposed this change within my life and is using it for His glory.
Changes, Challenges and Opportunities at MU
It’s been a season of change here at Multnomah as well: Dr. Lockwood’s retirement after a 17-year tenure, our search for a new president, the initiation of our new sports programs and more. While exciting in some ways, these events have not been without challenges. You may be experiencing seasons of change within your own life — changes in employment as the winds of economic forces blow and new opportunities come along. Changes in friendships as family needs and employment pulls you or friends away to new places. Perhaps some of you, like me, face changes within your own marital and parental status.
Change is inevitable in life. It can be exciting, joyous, strenuous, uncomfortable and sometimes even painful. While life is continually changing, I find it encouraging knowing that He is the one thing that will never change: “For I am the Lord, I do not change” (Malachi 3:6). No matter what season of life you find yourself in today, my prayer is that you would find comfort in knowing that in the midst of a changing world, He never changes. He is the anchor that steadies us through life no matter the mountain peak or desolate valley we may be walking through today.
As God allows change, good or bad, to come into our lives, I believe it’s an opportunity for us to grow in reaching our fuller potential. As we learn to lean into Him, we find Him to be faithful each step along the way. My prayer for us today is that in seasons of change we would never doubt the love and goodness of God. May we rest in knowing that He is at work even when we can’t see it and delights in giving us His very best.
Embracing change and growing in deeper dependence,
Michelle (Peel) Underwood
Director of Alumni Relations