For as long as Rachel Sellew can remember, she has always had a fear of the unknown. As a homeschooled student living in a small town, she always knew what her day would bring and what people she would encounter. “I was very used to having a schedule and having a certain way to do things. I didn’t want things to ever change,” she said.
Sellew grew up in Hodges, South Carolina, a small town with a population of less than 200. Growing up, her parents encouraged her to participate in activities outside of her hometown. “My parents really wanted me to experience the world outside of our small town. They motivated me to participate in church and summer camps,” she said.
When she was 11 years old, Sellew spent her summer in a Christian summer camp. It was her first time spending the night away from home. “I got really homesick. It was a really hard moment. That was when first I began to have panic attacks at night,” she said.
For the next six years, Sellew suffered from panic attacks anytime she was away from home. “If I stayed anywhere, other than home, I began to think ‘Oh no, what if my house catches fire back home? What if my family dies while I am away?’ It was the worst thing I could imagine.”
When Sellew began high school, she worried about college. “I felt like I was never going to conquer my fear. I thought I was never going to be able to go to college because I knew I would have to go away from home,” she said.
A Healing Experience
As a sophomore in high school, Sellew realized she needed to trust in the Lord. “God has always been there for me, and I knew I needed to place all my fears in His hands. I knew I could trust Him by putting my confidence in Him,” Sellew said.
Sellew began to grow closer to God and His Word, which led her to overcome the fears she had suffered with for so long. “As I began to read more Scripture, I found so many affirmations of God’s love which I really needed,” she said. “Proverbs 3:24 was one specific verse that brought peace to my heart.”
Proverbs 3:24 reads, “When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.” This verse helped Sellew understand that God would be with her regardless of how close or far she was from home.
With newfound strength, Sellew began to open herself up to new opportunities. In her senior year, she was given the opportunity to attend an art EDUcamp at BJU. “Coming to an EDUcamp was an amazing experience. It helped me understand that I love art, and it was something I wanted to pursue,” she said.
After attending EDUcamp, Sellew knew that studio art was the right career path for her. “Growing up, I never had an art program because I was homeschooled. So going to an EDUcamp was an eye-opening experience. After the week I spent at Bob Jones, I knew I wanted to come here to study art,” she said.
Since then, Sellew has been a counselor at EDUcamp for several summers in a row. “I knew that the EDUcamps made such a difference in my life, and I wanted to give back. I’ve worked there for several summers and it has been such an amazing experience.”
Trusting God with the Future
Sellew and her fiance will be moving to Georgia after their wedding in July. She is currently in the process of job hunting and looking for new opportunities. “I would love to work with another artist that is established and be like an apprentice and just help them in the studio,” she said.
This semester, Sellew had the opportunity to intern with Hollowed Earth Pottery. As a studio assistant intern, she prepared materials, cleaned up and assisted students during classes.
“There’s a lot of behind the scenes work that kind of goes into pottery and art that I think a lot of people don’t know about. You see art and you think ‘Oh, look at the finished piece’ but you don’t think about all the work that went into it,” Sellew said.
The experience helped her understand what type of job environment she would enjoy working for in the future. “I really enjoyed my internship there. It is like a community. As soon as you walk in and you don’t know someone you’re like, ‘Hey, how are you doing?’ You check in on each other, you make sure everybody’s doing okay. And I loved working in that kind of atmosphere,” she said.
While Sellew knows she wants to work in a job that is art related, she is not sure what that job will be. “People tell me all the time ‘Oh, you’re a senior? Good. Then you know what you are doing for the rest of your life.’ But I don’t, and that’s okay.”
While she was once afraid of the unknown, Sellew now welcomes it with open arms. “I am no longer afraid of what the future holds because I trust God and His sovereignty fully.”