Updated: Oct 17, 2019
By: Danielle Carmichael
Danielle is currently a sophomore at Northpoint|GR. She and her husband, Kaleb, serve together in youth ministry at Riverside Tabernacle in Flint, MI.
It’s incredible the way God moves even when I stand in His way, and how His timing is always so right. I would say my life is a firsthand testimony to this. Around the time that I had rededicated my heart to Christ and had just started attending church at Grand Rapids First Assembly of God, I heard about a school called Northpoint Bible College. Feeling a fresh fire and calling for His will, I was excited about the possibility of attending a place like Northpoint, but it was a Bible college, and because of a million things tied to my past and what I believed about my future, I felt like it couldn’t be for me. So, I tried to ignore the undeniable pull that I was feeling (you know- the great brush off) and did everything in my power to repackage the truth. I knew deep down that God had shown me this school for a reason, and he was calling me there, but instead, I began the process of going back to a community college for the fall semester. Thankfully, God’s timing is always so right, and He is so faithful to His plans even when we are not.
While serving in the youth group at Grand Rapids First, a friend who attended Northpoint approached me. This friend asked if I was in school so I shared my plans with her to return to the community college, to which she responded, “Yeah, but you should check out Northpoint.” I kind of laughed it off, but she continued, “set up a meeting with J.P. Dorsey, you will be so glad you did.” I said the famous: “Well, I’ll pray about it.” Driving home from my youth group that night, I felt compelled to actually pray about going to Northpoint, so I did. As I sat in the quiet of my car, asking God for guidance and help, He so clearly responded with the word “Go.” Stunned and excited, I decided to contact the President of the school, J.P. Dorsey, to see if he would meet with me.
I found myself sitting in J.P.’s office, feeling nervous, and not knowing what to expect. After talking for a few minutes and listening to President Dorsey share his heart for Northpoint, I knew I was in the right place. I still remember how I felt walking into the first Monday morning chapel service of the fall semester. It was a butterfly storm of both excitement and terror in my stomach. I wish I could say the excitement outlasted the terror, but sure enough a month into the semester, I was ready to give up. It was as if the enemy knew I was walking in my destiny and thought, “How can I make life hard for Danielle?” That semester I fell into the same bad habits I’d always fallen into with school and I was too proud to ask for help. I let pride run my life instead of God. Allowing pride to be in control had always been the beginning of a devastating chain reaction that I was very familiar with. It went a little something like this: pride came first, failure second, eventually I quit. Quitting is what I did at Northpoint as well, but even quitting this time was different: the professors didn’t let me slip away unnoticed. They took the time to try to connect with me and help me, but my pride would not allow me to accept their compassion and care.
Pride is such a devastating sin because it can block you from walking in the calling God has on your life, and it almost did this to me. While I did take some time away from school, I eventually began the journey of heading back to Northpoint, arguing with my pride. Pride yelled, “But it’s been too long, it’s too hard, you know that ship has sailed for you!” God and his faithfulness and timing, unchanging and unyielding to my weaknesses, reminded me that there is no ship that can sail far enough to escape his grace and calling. Where I had associated Northpoint with my failures, God in His constancy, showed me that it could be a place of victory in my story. In the Fall of 2018, I was once again walking into chapel with the feeling of excitement and terror, but also with the determination to persevere and a commitment to the renewed call.
Northpoint has become my family. It’s a community of students, professors, and staff who understand what comes with committing to “the call,” and work tirelessly to equip students from all walks of life to go out and serve the Kingdom of God. Northpoint is where I receive my education, and it is a place where I experience grace and truth. It’s Community Night with guys basketball and girl’s breakthrough night; a space where I cultivate friendships, learn new things, and laugh with dear friends. It’s a place that feels like home to me.
It’s here that I met and married my husband, Kaleb, who had also attended and graduated in the spring of 2019. We appreciate that we are not only being prepared for ministry, but also learning new skills to build a Christ-centered marriage. Growing up with divorced parents, I can’t say I know a whole lot about healthy, Jesus-filled marriages. Through chapels, classes, and by the examples of staff and faculty, I am continuing to learn what a healthy marriage looks like and am thankful for the impact that it will have on our family going forward.
I mentioned earlier that my pride had been a part of what’s held me back too often, so this past school year, I worked on leaving pride behind and requesting and accepting help. This year I’m working on removing “I can’t” from my vocabulary and exchanging it with “I
can.” I’m Danielle Carmichael, and I am a sophomore/junior at Northpoint Bible College, I will be graduating in 2022 with my B.A in Ministry Leadership and a minor in Psychology.
When I think about my story, I am amazed that Northpoint has been a part of it. When I only saw my failures and disappointments, God saw opportunity for growth. I am grateful that during my time at Northpoint Bible College, God has equipped me and continues to equip me as a believer and minister, a wife and friend, determined to win hearts and souls for the Kingdom.