Student Journey


Nicole Murray

Almost a year ago I made the decision to make Black Mountain, North Carolina, my home.

At the time, I was finishing up a 9-month Leadership and Discipleship program, and needed to figure out what was next. I spent the previous 2 years of my life following Jesus around the world as both a missionary and a leader of my peers. So you can only imagine, after living such a transient life for my mid-twenties, how actually agonizing the decision to stay in one spot must have been. I laugh now as I think back to last fall, and how my mind was so set on committing to the Excel Community for a year. I had thoughts about potentially pursuing my Bachelor’s degree, but was still considering taking online courses through a university in my home state. 

Fast forward to this year, October 2021. I’m currently in the second module of my college career here at Excel College, and sometimes actually have to pinch myself to remind myself that yes, this is real. Yes, God does answer prayers and yes, He does actually give you the desires of your heart. 

My experiences over the last few years led me to know that in my life, I want to lead other leaders. I want to cultivate leaders who know to their core the answer to three questions: Who is God? Who am I? What do I do with all of that? In order to get to where I am now, I had to walk through these questions myself. 

Who is God? My Father, my creator, my guide, everything. 

Who am I? Nicole Amy Christ, a daughter of the King, His beloved, powerful, fire, woman. What do I do with all of that? Stand in confidence that the call on my life is to point Him out to others, and teach them how to bring the Heavens to Earth through their day to day lives. 

Here at Excel College, I get to do just that. When I first moved here about 10 months ago, I quickly moved into the role of House Captain. No, I don’t steer ships or wear a captain’s hat, but I do get to partner with God to set the direction for where our house is going in regards to culture. I live among 14 other young adult women, and it is an honor to get to be a part of their every day journey with one another and with God. Being a House Captain does include the practicals like keeping track of school attendance, creating cleaning lists, and unclogging toilets. Still, the moments that bring my heart to life the most are the late night conversations about being free from anxiety while sitting on the kitchen floor, or the moment I’m in right now… typing this blog while the fellowship (quite literally and figuratively) happens behind me as six of my girls eat a meal together and bond over Lord of the Rings. 

Being a House Captain has been incredible, and I’m even more in love with what this current and next season of my life holds as I transition into being a Coach for Excel College. The focus of a Coach is to tend to the practical, professional, missional, intellectual, and spiritual development of each student as they pursue whatever it is God is calling them to. I am currently, quite literally, where I have dreamed of being since I first came to know Christ almost 4 years ago. God has taken me on a journey over the last few years that has laid the foundation for everything I’m stepping into now. I’ve prayed for years that I would be able to finish my Bachelor’s degree, yet continually handed that over to God to see it happen in His timing. Little did I know that His timing would mean both being a part of the C6 Cohort as well as doing what I love most, leading my peers into those three life altering questions I mentioned earlier. 

Excel College has given me the opportunity to fully be who God has created me to be. I get to craft my skill here, in real time, all while relishing in the revelatory moments that are shared with me over a cup of coffee on my front porch. 

About a year ago, I said yes to moving to Black Mountain. I had one friend, the potential to maybe go back to school, and no direction from God other than “go where you want, obedient one”. As I look forward, I can’t wait to see where I am a year from now, and at the same time, I will say yes to soaking up every single moment in the presence of God and in the presence of my fellow classmates, leaders, and friends.

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