Novlyn “Novie” became a part of Chi Alpha in 1971 as a Louisiana Tech University freshman when fellow student Denny Duron led their ministry. Novie was asked during her senior year if she would stay as the Chi Alpha director. She stayed for three years until 1978, and went on to be a teacher and eventually a mental health counselor. Novie now lives in Fairfax, Virginia and works in Arlington, Virginia, both suburbs of Washington, D.C.
How did Chi Alpha impact your life?
Chi Alpha has had a lifetime impact for me. I was filled with the Holy Spirit my freshman year. I made friendships that have lasted a lifetime. Some of us have been going to the beach together every year for over 40 years. My friends from Chi Alpha, both as a student and as a director, are still my closest friends. It was in Chi Alpha that I really got to know God. I made connections with other campus ministers, which led to my doing a degree at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia. Basically, Chi Alpha changed my whole life.
What has your career looked like?
After teaching high school English in both public and Christian schools in Baton Rouge, Louisiana for ten years, I went back to grad school to be a mental health counselor. I am a therapist and own a private practice with psychiatrists and mental health therapists. I see both Christian and non-Christian clients with a wide variety of issues. Because of my locale, I see clients from many ethnicities, though most are American. I have also seen many clients who are in very influential and important jobs in our government.
How are you continuing to live on mission and be involved in discipleship?
I am not involved in any kind of formal ministry, but I consider my job a ministry. If my clients are open to it, I pray for them. For my Christian clients, I try to integrate their faith into therapy. When appropriate in therapy, I have shared my faith with my clients.
For me, ministry is life. It is a product of who I am. The older I am, the more aware I am of how broken our world is and how we as Christians are called to be salt and light. My job allows me to be with people in their brokenness and be very aware of my own brokenness and neediness. I don’t know how anyone without faith can operate in this world!
How does giving in the marketplace impact your walk with God and your community?
For me, giving is a part of life, not just tithing or giving at church, but also giving to those around you when we are aware of need. Being older and having a bit more income carries with it a responsibility to help those in need.
What advice or encouragement would you give other alumni who are trying to live on mission in the marketplace?
My advice to others is to be open to God’s work in your life. If anyone had told me when I was a student getting degrees in journalism and English that I would end up being a therapist and owning a small business, I would never have believed them. It was a crisis in my own life that led to big changes because God opened doors and I was willing to walk through them.