Professor Holly Blakely’s Testimony

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June 2, 2022 by

For Career Development for the English Major class (ENG-2020) in spring 2022, Dr. Kevin Heath asked students to form groups and choose an entrepreneurial project to aid the community, the campus, or the major. Four students collected testimonies from faculty and staff at Cedarville University to be included in a booklet intended to encourage faith conversations on campus and affirm Cedarville’s faith ideals to its broader audience (including alumni, parents, and incoming students).




Holly Blakely is an Assistant Professor of English in Cedarville University’s Department of English, Literature. and Modern Languages. She teaches English composition (a class most Cedarville students take their freshman year), along with various other English and writing courses, and is the director of the Writing Center. Thus, she is a faculty member who positively impacts not only students in her department, but also many freshmen and Writing Center clients. Like all Cedarville professors, Prof. Blakely lives out her faith on campus and acts as an example to her students.
As a member of the Professors’ Testimonies Project, and one of Prof. Blakely’s students and employees in the Writing Center, I was overjoyed to have the opportunity to read her testimony and learn more about her spiritual life. Like Prof. Blakely, I do not remember the exact moment I accepted God into my heart. I practically grew up in the church, was baptized before I really understood what salvation was, and before attending Cedarville I sometimes wondered if I could even call myself a Christian. It is such an encouragement to hear one of my favorite professors also struggled with and overcame something similar. Prof. Blakely’s testimony also highlights the ongoing process of sanctification. Sometimes becoming Christian feels like a done deal. You think you’re saved and you’ve made it. But really, accepting Christ is just the beginning! Everything afterward is learning how to live more like Christ and growing alongside other believers. I am pleased to say Prof. Blakely is someone who encourages me to live more like Christ and grow alongside my peers — in the way she teaches, the way she leads, and the way she shares her story. I hope that after graduation, and even now, I can take some of what she and other Cedarville professors have taught me to help lead others to Christ as well, and I know that Cedarville is the best place to equip me for that mission.


Professor Holly Blakely’s Testimony


Although I don’t remember the moment of my salvation, I also do not remember a time when I did not know God. That is to say, if you are looking for something akin to an Unshackled story, you won’t find that here. What I can say is that I distinctly remember having an ongoing dialogue with God in grade school. The dialogue was childish on my part, but thankfully, He is patient. At that time, it never occurred to me to question my salvation. I had been told I was saved when I was 4 years old, and I had been baptized at that time. I could still remember being baptized, but my salvation seemed to have been bestowed on me rather than an act of my own volition. When I entered middle school, I began wondering how I could lay hold of my salvation for myself. Throughout my teen years, God would bring me to have full assurance that I belonged to Him, which provided the foundation I needed for many of the challenges in my adulthood. 

The sanctification process in many Christians’ testimonies often gets overlooked. It is almost as if, once you are saved, everything that needs to be said has already been said. However, God is far from done with us when we accept the Gospel. Our salvation brings us into a process of sanctification where God molds us throughout our earthly lives to become more like His Son. Because God drew me early in life, my sanctification process forms the bulk of my testimony. Sanctification isn’t easy, and it is only by clinging to God that we make any progress. Our enemy, Satan, longs to interrupt our sanctification, and he has often attempted to shake my foundations. However, God promises that “no one can pluck [us] from [His] hand,” and He is not kidding. Thus, my testimony does not contain times when I backslid or doubted the Gospel. Instead, it centers around my constant clinging to God when the world around me mocked my belief in Christ as Lord. 

In April 2018, God led me to apply to Cedarville University. At the time, I was content to be an adjunct at a few local universities. Prior to that, I had spent 10 years as a stay-at-home mom, homeschooling my two daughters through much of that time. As far as having a full-fledged career in academia goes, I believed that ship had sailed. In 2005, when I chose to stay home with my youngest daughter, leaving my full-time position at Wright State University, I had been told that my “career would never recover.” I had accepted that reality. I never looked back. 

Coming to Cedarville introduced two dramatic shifts to my life. This was the first time I had been away from my daughters since we had adopted them in 2004 and 2006. That was honestly painful, but God has been faithful in using it for good. It was also the first time since I began teaching Composition in 1999 that I could speak openly of my faith in the classroom. This second change meant that I shifted from the primarily witnessing role I had at secular universities to a primarily discipling role here at Cedarville. This shift brought a new kind of camaraderie with my colleagues, but it also caused anxiety when I thought about my previous students who did not know Christ. In the years since, I have often wondered if God has sent other Christian professors to point the way to Him. I’ve also wondered if those students have since visited a church, opened a Bible, or had a real conversation about the Gospel. I have missed the opportunity to pour into their lives.

I have no doubt that it is by God’s good grace that I am at Cedarville, but I do not believe He placed me here solely to make me comfortable. To teach at Cedarville is to fulfill all of your normal teaching responsibilities with excellence while continually keeping in mind the eternal significance of what you are doing. However, that is also part of the thrill, and it becomes more thrilling when I think of the following: Who knows? Maybe one of the students that I have been blessed to know at Cedarville will cross paths with one of the unsaved students that God still leads me to pray for. If not that specifically, then I can take comfort in knowing that many of my Cedarville students will cross paths with those like my previous students, and through those interactions, God will be glorified. 


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