Holly Meriweather attended CBC from 1985-1986 as an English major. Now she is the lead writer for the Baptist Missionary Association. Read about the decision in 1985 that changed her life.
A Great Decade
The 1980s was a great decade. Movies like Top Gun and songs like “Walk Like an Egyptian” defined that era. Nike and Polo brands were king. Ronald Reagan was President, and we chewed Hubba Bubba gum, went through the TCBY drive “thru,” and saved our quarters to play Pac-Man.
But it was really all about the hair . . . Guys, girls, and rock bands had hair that will probably never come back in style: curly mullets for guys, spiral perms and the-bigger-the-better hair for girls, hairspray for our stiff bangs, and hair scrunchies for our side ponytails.
My Decision in 1985
But for me personally, it was the decision I made in 1985 that defined the rest of my life. That was the year I graduated from Conway High School and began attending Central Baptist College (CBC).
God’s Direction to CBC
By the time I stepped onto CBC’s campus in August of that year, God had already been directing my childhood and teenage years. The first example of that “direction” was when a neighbor invited my family to attend Antioch, a BMA church in Conway, which we did, at first together, then just my little brother and me.
My Church Home
Antioch quickly became family. There was nothing wrong with my bio-family; church just wasn’t for them. But I knew something was different about those people who loved and cared for me at church and I wanted what they had, although I couldn’t exactly put my finger on what that “thing” was.
Saved at Seven
I was saved at the age of seven and participated in children’s choir, Sunday school, bus trips to Dogpatch, and youth group, all the while being discipled by the adults around me at Antioch. Discipleship wasn’t really a word back then, at least that I had ever heard of, but that’s what those precious people did for me. They made sure I attended VBS, training service and GMA, teaching me the whole way. But most important, they were praying for the little girl who got dropped off at church. I just didn’t know it at the time.
Why I Considered CBC
Several members of Antioch Baptist Church were CBC employees and/or former students and they encouraged me to consider going there after high school. Being in close proximity to the campus, I had spent time there and knew a few students, so it was an easy choice and one that my parents approved.
I have a clear memory of move-in day where I met people with whom I would live, sing, travel, eat and attend class. CBC was a very different campus back then with remnants of Old Main still around, no paved parking and half of the Cooper Complex unfinished. I’m not sure how many students there were, but it didn’t matter. Not only was I having a good time and making friends, I was maturing spiritually. And, again, I didn’t even know it was happening.
Set up for Success
In 1987, I transferred to University of Central Arkansas (UCA) and completed bachelors and masters degrees in English. Although CBC’s reputation is that girls could also complete an “MRS degree” there, that was not exactly my story. However, I did meet my husband, John Meriweather, at a CBC Homecoming game the year after I left to finish at UCA.
More of God directing my life . . .
We were married in 1990, and I began teaching English while John worked at Acxiom, a technology company. In 1995, we had two daughters and a son, and I became a stay-at-home mom for the next 14 years, occasionally teaching part-time at UCA and CBC. It was during my children’s toddler years that God gave me more of those “directions” and this time it was about my spiritual growth.
Desire for Spiritual Maturity
Although I had been gone from CBC for six years, I still wanted that spiritual maturity I saw in faculty and fellow students there. God had continued to give me a hunger and thirst for his Word, and it was time to surrender to that desire.
God’s Life-giving Story
A young mom of three toddlers, I began attending Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) classes, where I finally matured spiritually. I wish I had taken advantage of Bible classes at CBC, but I was much more interested in passing notes in Bro. Brown’s and Dr. Slayton’s classes than learning about the Bible. Even so, I began to understand the life-giving story of who God is, what he sent his Son to do and how his Spirit works in the lives of believers.
Back to My Decision in 1985
And that desire can be traced straight back to my decision in 1985. I know that a public university would NOT have been as impactful and life changing. I know that the people with whom I attended CBC, although not at all perfect, pointed me to Christ. And I know that while I was there CBC faculty and administrators loved and prayed for me.
My children are now grown and gone, I’m a grandma (or whatever my grandson wants to call me), and I currently serve the Baptist Missionary Association (BMA) as lead writer for their departments, Lifeword, BMA Missions, and Ministers Resource Services.
A Launching Pad for Changed Lives
My office is a couple blocks from campus, and many people who walk through our doors at the BMA are some of those CBC friends. There’s an instant bond between us even if we attended CBC in different decades. I may have gone to college with big hair and Nike high-tops, but I left with a lifetime of sweet friends and great memories.
It’s just a special place, a launching pad for changed lives, and I praise God for directing my life toward Christian higher education at Central Baptist College.
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