If I could summarize my time at SEBTS, I would say it was both a deeply challenging season and some of the most formative years of my walk with Christ so far. Coming to SEBTS was never in the plan for me nor did I accept it quickly when the Lord placed it on my heart to come. Working as a full-time nurse was both enthralling and comfortable at the same time-not because it was an easy job nor was it the wrong career choice. It was my plan and what I knew. For as long as I could, I ran from that plan because it didn’t make sense in my finite mind. But God, somehow in his mystery and sovereignty, had a plan for SEBTS to be the design for me to become more like His Son Jesus. Coming to SEBTS revealed a lot of my rebellious heart and at the same time revealed a deep tenderness of the Lord that I had not known previously.
“Come over for dinner around 6pm,” Tara Dew said. SEBTS is full of highly intelligent professors and some of the most incredible people I have ever had the privilege of studying under, but the main reason Wake Forest became like home to me was because of the people I found here in this place. God’s heart and lovingkindness often-times can be learned through studying in a classroom and for that I am so grateful. The education I received here taught me the counseling concepts of how to weep with those who weep but more than anything the people who were teaching me were exemplifying these same character traits and concepts we were learning in those very books.
Learning to love the process has been a theme of the last 3 years of my life.
In July of 2017, I was coming out of a pretty dark season in my life. Life seemed out of control. It was hard and days seemed long. I would now describe it as a cloud of darkness that seemed to follow me everywhere and as fast or as far as I tried to run, it still towered over me. I prayed to the Lord that he would allow those hard months of trial and uncertainty to one day be used for his glory. Hindsight is 20-20 but I would almost say now, that it is necessary to walk through these kinds of days and months, sometimes years, that we more deeply know the God we read of and learn about in the bible and in textbooks.
These words I wrote in those days are a more accurate description of the really difficult places we may find ourselves intersected with God’s sweet loving-kindness.
“God, sometimes the obstacles in my life seem like chasms and I don’t even know how to move forward; I need you to help me break down walls in my own my own heart to see how you want me to live a Holy life, despite how I feel.” (March 29, 2017)
“Even when my ‘feel box’ doesn’t feel like feeling, point me to your feelings. Even when I am up and down, lead me to the truth that is steady. Even when I don’t see a reason to be sad/lonely/etc., teach me comfort in you. And Lord, if I can ask one more thing-help me to know my lifeline is you…”
I have learned that emotions and feelings aren’t always right-they are a thermometer for what’s really going on inside my heart. We can feel those different emotions and still trust the God who gave them to us. And I am continuing to learn the desire for something more than being in control of my life. Control is a delusion and it’s not possible as a mere human. I have experienced un-comfortableness, being in the middle of the will of God and, there is no joy comparable. It may sound simple- but contentment comes through trust in Christ.
Isn’t that what we long for at the core of who we are? To be content and satisfied in this life. The longings we had as a young person to grow up, go to college, get a degree, get married, have kids and so on. I believe, as a follower of Christ, there is a desire much deeper than the American dream- much more than being in control. Much more than always knowing the next step of life. When I’m so focused on being in control, I can’t possibly enjoy the process because my mind is only focused on the end result., not what God is doing in me.
I’ve found in the abandonment of my own plans, there is Jesus. His faithful, loving arms wrapped tightly around me, saying, “Daughter, why did you fear and why are you trying to do this thing called life on your own? I will never leave you.”
Faith in action is living moment by moment in the arms of the Lord that he has given me this day to live in and trust him no matter the circumstances of my day.
God did lead me to a place away from my home. He did make me uncomfortable. He did make me a grown up in more ways than one. He did move me away from my friends and everything I had ever known. He asked for much sacrifice. But friends, the reward was and is so much greater than the sacrifice.
He sustained me through dark nights when I couldn’t understand how he could possibly work everything out for my good and his glory. His faithfulness met me in moments of panic and sheer disbelief. Jesus gave me himself, and he was enough. I finally got a glimpse of just a small piece of what Paul says in Philippians 4:19- He supplied every need. He gave me all that I needed exactly when I needed it.
He tore the veil and continues to make a way for me to trust him and daily walk in a manner worthy of His Gospel…only by his grace and mercy.
Ministry is hard work, but if I have learned one thing it is this—It’s God’s work. We are surrendered and submitted to a sovereign God who is working in ways we will never understand, and our part of the story is to be faithful to His work, faithful to His church, and faithful to surrender EVERY SINLGE MOMENT to Him before we ever try to change/love/counsel or minister to His people.Learning God’s word transformed my heart to be more like Christ while I got to see the very word lived out in the lives of the teachers who were teaching me.The Southeastern community has become part of me and I am honored to be alumni.