Krissi Lester believes, serves, loves, and seeks to honor God in everything. That is the message she wants to send, period. Facing incredible challenges, including a tough childhood and incarceration later in life, Krissi knows that the only way she can stand today is because of her faith in Jesus Christ. Now, as an adult learner starting her sophomore year in the Bachelor of Science in Christian Service and Formation program, Krissi is overjoyed that she is finally earning her bachelor’s degree – a major accomplishment for her family. The God of second chances has looked favorably on Krissi, and she is eternally grateful. The real question on the floor is: what will she do next?
Finding God In The Storm of Life
Krissi grew up in Tyler, Texas with a rather harsh childhood. Having little-to-no role models in her life, it was not too long before life got a hold of her. Giving birth to her son in high school, Krissi felt her life was meant to be this way. Maybe she wasn’t meant to finish school or get out of the rut she was born into. Life was a storm, and there was no way of getting out of it. Struggling over the course of the next 20 years of her life, Krissi found herself incarcerated. She hit a new low.
“I just remember thinking, ‘how did I get here?’” Krissi said. “It was at that moment that I told myself ‘I need to get my life together. I need to use my time here for something.’”
While she served time, Krissi not only obtained her GED but also met God. For the very first time, she felt peace. She was motivated to do something with her life. Learning about His constant presence, provision, and faithfulness, Krissi dedicated her life to God and decided it was time to make a change. Upon being released from prison, Krissi began looking for ways to turn her life around. Finding work as a housecleaner, joining accountability groups, and seeking ways to serve her church, Krissi remembered her original dream: earning a bachelor’s degree.
At first, Krissi had no idea you could earn a degree online until she started seeing ads on Facebook about it. Feeling like this might be the best way to achieve her dream, Krissi researched online colleges around her. It didn’t take long for her to land on ACU Online. From the moment she clicked for more information to the conversation she had with her admissions advisor and financial intake specialist, Krissi saw God’s hands in every step of the way. He was real to her, and for some reason, He was leading her to ACU.
“It was just amazing,” Krissi exclaimed. “It was like He was in every single conversation I had. Like, the type of people I was getting to speak with, and the things they were encouraging me with, it just felt like ACU was where I was supposed to go. They saw me, for me.”
Within the next few weeks, Krissi worked with her advisor and was enrolled as a new student in the bachelor’s in Christian Service and Formation program. This was it – her dream was coming true.
Living and Walking In New Life
Krissi cannot contain her new found joy in the Lord. For the first time, Krissi is taking classes dedicated to focusing more on Jesus, His teachings, and what is possible when you place your life in His hands. And for Krissi, that’s what keeps her wanting to learn more. As a sophomore, Krissi is just overjoyed at how easy it’s been for her to take classes toward earning her degree. Juggling the responsibilities of being a full-time employee, college student, and grandma, Krissi’s views on life have drastically changed for the better. She would like to attribute that to her professors, peers, and a few staff members who have encouraged her to continue despite her past.
People like Abbey Green, ACU Online’s student wellness manager, is just one of those people. After speaking with Abbey about her growing eyesight issues, Abbey willingly provided her glasses from the Wildcat Care Fund, a university-wide fund dedicated to providing students with short-term monetary support to purchase immediate necessary items like prescription eyeglasses, a month of Wi-Fi charges, or even textbooks.
Needless to say, Krissi was in awe. It made her fall in love with ACU even more.
“I was just in shock,” Krissi explained. “No one had ever done anything like that for me before. She took the time to talk with me and help me, and it just reminded me of how God puts people in your life for a reason. People bless you when you least expect it.”
Krissi’s heart has even started to grow, too. Motivated by her peers and professors, Krissi has decided to begin brainstorming her future non-profit foundation dedicated to helping other people who have faced similar obstacles like her. Having overcome struggles herself, Krissi is keenly aware of the tremendous challenges people can face, especially if they lack a system of people and faith that can support them. She aims to make a difference in the world. With God on her side, Krissi sees nothing standing in her way.
“I think God took me out of incarceration for a reason. And I honestly believe it’s because He wants me to tell other people that they too can achieve the unthinkable,” Krissi remarked. “Maybe it’s a crazy idea, but I’m convinced that this, including going to ACU, is a part of my greater purpose.”
Interested in earning your degree like Krissi Lester? Visit our website or call 855-219-7300 to learn how you can step into a fulfilling, innovative future at ACU Online.