Throwing My Mirror Down

Learning to love God and live for His people

So Let Us Love the Broken Ones

Two posts within a four week time-span?! Yes!

Success.

success-baby

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Emotion and all of its charm is a funny thing. Since I adhere to the “keep-it-all-deep-inside-until-things-explode” school of emotion, it tends to remain a funny thing. A thing not well-liked and explored. A thing that gets rationalized and compartmentalized within my mind. Not exactly the most healthy of ways to approach my own feelings, but alas, it is a part of me.

But, it’s just every now and then that the surrounding things and environments seem to force my own hand to address the swirling vortex of doom that can be my emotions. It just so happens that this “swirling vortex of doom” has once again appeared, and presents a very odd, but necessary opportunity to reflect and ponder.

As the days tick closer and closer to my move-out date, and subsequent Internship start date, things and events that were once routine and normal become the “second to last time” and eventually “the last time” doing *insert random thing here.* And coping with these changes are difficult to internalize. I’ve been used to a certain way of doing things, and while the days and months ahead provide many new and exciting adventures, I mourn for what I must leave behind.

Every new beginning is preceded by some sort of ending and change. This always seems to escape my field of vision. It’s not like I’m callous and jump from event to event without any emotional baggage, it’s just that I seem to quickly pack those emotions into some back region in my mind and refuse to sort through them then and there. Oh, they come out eventually, but not gradually where I could theoretically “handle” them, but all at once and with great intensity. I’ve been “plagued” with this way of expressing things for as long as I can remember, but nonetheless, it is the way that I am.

How does this impact where I am going and what I hoping to be a part of? Pretty much every aspect of my life. I’m not going to sugarcoat that this is, and will continue to be an issue and weakness that may or may never change. Whether or not I like it, I will experience challenging and real struggles in both my life and in the lives of those that I serve. It both a terrifying and humbling realization, and something that still feels surreal when I try to look back on the how and why of it all. That God would choose someone like me to walk alongside His people in the various struggles and joys that life contains is simply astounding.

Me! Me, with my poor way of handling personal emotions. Me, with my stubborn streak a country mile wide. Me, with my failure complexes. Me, a sinner.

I don’t claim to have all of the answers (and thank God I never will!) and hope to never claim exactly that. But what I do know that is certain, is that I have been claimed by Christ and washed free of sin in the Baptismal waters so that I might fulfill His Will, wherever I am sent. I was broken, but was made whole by His sacrifice to love those who are yet broken. To bring light into their darkened eyes. To love them when no one else even cared.

Terrifying, yet humbling.

My journey is just beginning, and while this portion of my life must draw to an end, I am being led to a place that has been prepared for me. Reminiscing can be a good thing, and should not be something that I am afraid of, even when accompanied by various residual feelings and emotions. I’m still learning. And I welcome the opportunity for daily education.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This song, randomly heard on Spotify, has been on constant repeat for the past few days as I’ve worked through the myriad of emotions associated with a change in life and I thought I would close with it. It’s helped to put things into a more healthy perspective as I’ve thought about the coming weeks and changes.

Until we meet again, Peace in Christ, loves.

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Reflection? Optional. Trust? Required.

*Oh, hello again. It’s been, oh what, a year since I last wrote? Oh dear… Well, here we go again!*

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It’s always around this time of the year that I get really really reflective. Like I think about what the past year has brought for hours upon hours. It gets that bad sometimes. My mom says that every now and then I revert back to my “melancholy musician” days, where the sky seems to have a perpetually grey tint. Well, I’m not so sure that it’s one of those days, but it definitely has been one of those months.

You see, these next few weeks are my last few as a residential Deaconess student here at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. Tomorrow marks the end of yet another school year and the beginning of a massive transition within my life, as well as many of my friend’s lives. June will pass by quickly as I pack up my belongings back home for a short time, return for various things in St. Louis, and then completely relocate to South Carolina for my Deaconess Internship. So, am I thinking about how exactly I’m going to get everything to South Carolina; or how when exactly will I see my friends next; or more how did I even get here, to this point in my life? The Lord, truly, only knows.

I know that I’ve expounded greatly on the journey I took to arrive here at the Seminary, so I will not suffer you through another rehashing of my long-winded tale. However, as I’ve been wrestling with the knowledge that I will not be returning for an additional year, as my friends will, the crazier my story and journey seems to be. *At least, it does in my own mind.* 

When it comes down to it, the surprise that accompanies the truth of my current predicament simply astounds me. Pure and simple. No one but God Almighty would have crafted the path that I’ve taken. Oh, I’ve had to address the consequences of various decisions that I have made, but even those were orchestrated by my Father above. The twists and turns of my road to arrive at this new and strange adventure all seem to point here now, but in the midst of it all confused me more than anything. Simply awe-inspiring once I sit still and just remember. No One else could have directed my steps.

Could I have made different choices? Spoken up more? Expressed certain feelings more? Taken more chances than I’m comfortable with? Of course, without a doubt. However, I’ve come to the understanding that my actions and doings are all ordered according to plan, and that there is an unseen path yet untraveled. Perhaps the time was not right. Perhaps it was never meant to happen and I pushed too hard for it to appear. But what has happened, has happened. Learning to accept and look at the here and now with an eye for the future continues to serve me better than losing sleep over the past.

It’s been a difficult road to learn, and I’ll be the first to say that I do not always remember it. But that’s the beauty of being a Child of God: I am forgiven.

I make mistakes.

I am forgiven

Ahead of me lay roads yet to be discovered, and people yet to meet and know. Things yet to be done. I have a vocation to fulfill to the best of my abilities. And when I sin and mess up, I have the reassurance of Christ’s forgiveness and the eternal Hope of the Resurrection leading me on. 

So. Am I scared of what lies ahead? I’d be lying to you if I said no. But my trust is not in myself. I put my trust in the One who overcame Death itself. Who made a way for me to return to Him and live my life in service to Him and His Creation.

I live my life through my vocation of daughter, sister, granddaughter, cousin, niece, deaconess (intern/student). I live as a Resurrection People. I live as one redeemed by the God of Creation.

“Be still and know that I am God”
~ Psalm 46:10

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Can’t time take a stroll every now and then, and not simply fly?

From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.
- Luke 12:48b (NIV)

Image
It’s hard to believe this is already one year old.

~~~

I have been aching for the past recently.

Not in the sense that I wish for a return to things finished and completed, but it is a wish for a chance to go back and experience again certain feelings and emotions, that at the time seemed trivial and non consequential.

It is a wish to go back to those various moments, and to simply savor the moment.

One year (almost) has passed since my graduation from Florida State University, and about 11 months removed from my decision to apply to Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. One year since my life began to prepare for the craziest, most frustration-filled and emotionally compromising adventure I’ve experienced.

As I know I’ve mentioned previously on more than one occasion, this was never the place I had ever imagined myself being one year following my FSU graduation.

The process of allowing myself to be formed and made into someone able to faithfully serve God and His people has been the most challenging thing I’ve ever faced. While I look with great expectation and excitement over the prospect of becoming a deaconess in the Lutheran church, I find myself facing various circumstances and emotions I’d never previously considered.

As one prone to refrain from showing strong emotions, this past year and its various adventures has abducted me from my solitary island within myself and tossed me onto a raft caught in hurricane-ridden waters. Places I did not know I could reach were discovered. Depths and heights of feelings, explored but not yet fully understandable. Wishes and hopes from years past pushed aside, making room for dreams only half realized and formed.

I still find myself yearning for to be around my family, laughing at the same kind of jokes, and still loving the same music. However, now I find my view of the world and all that is in it, wholly and utterly changed. For the better, of course. :)

This journey of mine is not complete, and Thank the Risen Lord that is not. He knows exactly where He needs me the most, and where I will be able to do the most for His Kingdom. He has placed me here to receive the training necessary to faithfully and truthfully serve His Church. I continue striving to place my whole self in His hands, and to constantly hope in the promise accomplished for me by Christ.

~~~

One year gone. One year remaining at the Seminary before internship. Two years left until my first call, Lord willing.

They say time flies, and I would agree. However, would it be too much to ask that every now and again time could just linger? How different would our lives look if that were possible? Maybe it’s for the better if time flows along as it always has, directed by the sure hand of our loving Father above.

Maybe today? See you later, for there will never be a final good-bye for us.
Joe Neff, asleep in the promise of Christ and His Return

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Spring Fever?

How do I always think to update this before/during a break from classes?

Huh. It’s like I can only think of the outside world when classes are on recess.

On to more pressing issues…the weather here at the Seminary:

What? Ain't nobody got time for that.

What? Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Spring? Hellooo?! St. Louis, stop trying to confuse my sense of seasons right now. Don’t you know Florida only has two seasons? 1) Boiling lava hot (April – October) 2) Perfect (November - March)

Nowhere in that are there provisions for freaky random snowstorms. I would appreciate it tremendously if you would cease and desist. Thank you, from a most grateful Floridian girl.

~~~

Moving on.

I believe that I have previously mentioned various struggles that plague me on a routine basis. [If not, do forgive me, I simply cannot remember who I've had these conversations with before.]

Stubbornness runs deep within my family. More often than not, it proves to be a serious crutch and severely limits my emotional output.

Wait. Holly, you’re speaking on stubbornness. How does your emotional output relate back to that?

Well…I’ve been thinking a bit on this lately. It’s a bit of a dangerous pastime for me…

(This is normally where my mom and I would recite the dialogue between Gaston and LeFue from Beauty and the Beast on how thinking is a dangerous pastime)

Reflecting on my personal thoughts and feelings has always been difficult for me. I like to compartmentalize things and heavily gloss them over, more or less to weaken the initial shock of it all. Defensive mechanism, I suppose.

But when stress and life in general gets a wee bit troublesome, that is when smiling and acting happy gets the most burdensome. Some times, a simple hug suffices and I’m able to reevaluate and move on. But others, those require me to retreat a step or two and listen (actually listen).

Listen to those who love me. Listen to those who care about me. Listen to the One who died for me.

I tend to be one of those who, if something/one is not actively around I forget and move on. (Defensive mechanism, I suppose.) Or, I start over thinking and convince myself that I’m not worth it for it/them.

The mind may be one of the most beautiful things the Creator bestows on His creation, but it is most certainly flawed. Not flawed because the Lord made it, but because of who I am. At the base, a sinful, evil human being. And my over thinking tends to lead to many other thoughts, none too perfect and God pleasing might I add.

I lose sight of rejoicing in His creating me for a purpose, and therefore lose sight of giving Him my whole being. This journey at Concordia Seminary has been life changing in its simplest. There is no other phrase that can get to the heart of the matter. Simply life changing.

As is evidenced above in my slightly sporadic soliloquy, the Law has been firmly planted within my soul. I now strive to recognize that the Gospel message needs to be constantly heard and mulled over in my heart. This life changing and strengthening thing is something to not be trifled with. God is not one to joke and mock. He is both loving and just. Through my trials of the past few weeks, both aspects of God have been most evident.

I pray for the continued shaping of my life, and praise Him for being ever constant and abounding in steadfast love for me. For me, and my sin, that He sent His Son to save me (flawed, over thinking, lacking-in-confidence Holly). There is no better message on this earth than that. Christ died for you.

~~~

As we approach the final days of Holy Week and the lead up to Christ’s death and resurrection, I pray for your family and loved ones. I pray for you. That you can wrestle with all that you are and turn to the One who does not remember past sins.

Christ’s death would be meaningless, unless there was the resurrection on Easter Sunday. Know that He died for you. And that He lives again, to reign forever and forever.

This is the message that makes me smile, even though I cannot find a reason to be happy. This solid promise in the resurrected Christ finds a waiting heart within this sinner.

I pray peace and comfort upon you and yours this joyous weekend.

Happy Easter

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Still here & loving Jesus!

Sorry :(

So.

It’s been, what? 3 or 4 months since I’ve paid attention to this, huh?

Woof. It’s been too long WordPress. Too long.

Sad Kitty is sad, because Holly has not given enough attention to this blog. :(

~

Well, since *October* (?!?!?!) I’ve begun a new quarter, which also ends this Friday oddly enough. I’ve traveled home to Florida for the first time since I moved to St. Louis in August. I’ve visited our sister seminary in Fort Wayne (awesome time btw). I’ve taught 7th grade religion at a local Lutheran school for the past three weeks (more a wee bit later). And I’ve experienced more ups and downs than I ever thought possible.

As an interesting side comment, I know I’ve been studying Lutheran doctrine a lot when I disagree with a popular Christian song’s theology on the radio. True story, because it happened yesterday.

This past quarter, I have been able to take a course named Pastor as Educator (just sub deaconess in for pastor and you’re good). For this specific course, there is a period of three weeks where we teach (everyday) a religion class at a local Lutheran school. The grade levels ranged from Kindergarten to 8th grade, and we had the opportunity to specify which grade we’d prefer. So, I chose 6th grade and up, so include all middle school classes. Not that I do not like younger children, but middle school kids are something special. They’re at that awkward time when stuff really starts to change and take a more concrete presence in their life. Also, they’re just pretty darned cool kids.

I was assigned to a 7th grade class at a school about 10 miles away from the Seminary. I was expected to teach class every day, as time allowed, and overall I got a full 9 days of teaching accomplished. (A little less than hoped for, but still wonderful) Looking back on my time, I completely underestimated the kids abilities to comprehend the material that I covered and actually produce real life applications. Every morning, they gave me reassurance that the Gospel is in fact a living and breathing entity. Not just something written for our own good, but something that continues to work in this day and age.

Throughout my time spent at St. Paul Lutheran School, Des Peres, MO I not only learned how to become a better teacher of the Gospel, but how to be a better Christian. For all the studying we do here at the Seminary, getting my feet wet in the teaching of what I’m learning is something of invaluable worth. I loved the chance to talk through the beliefs and confessions of our church with these kids, and that they had willing and understanding hearts to deal with my shortcomings. (They probably don’t think that they showed patience, but they did. And I’m thankful for that.)

What also has become of this teaching practicum, is both my renewed love of Lutheran education and the desire for one day taking a call at a church with a school. Again, that would be the ideal call, but who am I kidding. It’s all in God’s more than capable hands. I’m going to be excited to go anywhere for my first call (heck, even internship!). With every passing week here at the Sem, I become more and more excited to be able to go out and help God’s people. The education and training that I am receiving and will receive all circle around what Jesus commanded us to do in Matthew 28:19-20 (The Great Commission). And for this, I have never felt so excited for.

~

I keep returning to where I was a year ago. Not really knowing what I was going to do, and kind of lost (OK, a lot of lost). Now, as I write this, I’m reminded of my Muumu’s favorite hymn and the one that I played at her funeral: “How Great Thou Art.”

“O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder
Consider all the works Thy hand hath made,
I see the stars, I hear the mighty thunder,
Thy pow’r throughout the universe displayed
Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to Thee,
How great Thou art!
How great Thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to Thee,
How great Thou art!
How great Thou art!”
(LSB 801)

My simple little brain can’t even begin to imagine what lies in store for me. But I do know is that through the promise given to me in Baptism, I will live again with Jesus Christ, forevermore. I pray that this day you remember the never-compromising love that Christ has for you, and give each day to God in praise of His wonderful gift. Seek to follow Him and seek to love all around you, in lieu of this free gift.

~

Let’s see if I can do this more often, yeah?!?

Be at peace, and love the Lord, for that is all we can do.

:D

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Growing Pains

We sang this hymn, albeit the other version, today in chapel. Every now and then hymns just seem to express exactly what I’m craving to hear.

I have been struggling the past week or so.

Attempting to figure out why you’re at a specific place is not the easiest thing to do. You start asking questions.

Why did I come here? What do I really want to do? Is this the place I’m supposed to be at?

This weird grey cloud has just descended over my eyes (think Eeyore and his cloud), and it’s caused me to falter a bit. I feel overwhelmed and completely not in control of the situations.

I’m one of those people who crave structure and schedules. I just function better with them. Deadlines are my friends. And this past year totally flipped my life expectations upside down and inside out. Not knowing fully what lies ahead bothers the basest part of me.

The past week has opened various new doors, relationship wise and school/career wise. I understand that experiencing these types of things are normal and should be expected. I feel like I’m walking down one road with no issues and then I’m directed down an entirely new one. The processes of forming new friendships and the process of “unlearning” what I thought was Lutheranism are daunting and emotionally exhausting.

I saw this awesome C.S. Lewis quote on Twitter late last night:

“You are certainly under the guidance of the Holy Ghost or you wouldn’t have come where you now are.”

If that didn’t make me cry, I wouldn’t be fair to you.

I feel like I keep forgetting that I’m here for a reason. And whether I see it in the next week or in the next few years does not belong in my hands. I don’t have the right to try and reason with what God only knows. I can only faithfully continue in the places He has put me and trust in Him.

Trust.

That word causes me trouble. Trouble with capital “T.” I know that I need to place ALL of myself into His hands, but do I fully accomplish this? Quite frankly, no I don’t. It all comes back to this problem of control and allowing the control to be stripped from my sinful hands and into the One who controls everything.

I understand that my time here at the Seminary is not going to be full of sunshine and roses (most likely snow and rocks:]), and that I will likely experience more of these “growing pains.” But I know that God promised me eternal peace and that He has surrounded me with a wonderful support system. My family, my friends (new and old), and church families are all rooting for me and are a source of great love.

This may just be a phase, and that I’m still trying to adjust to a different mode of looking at my future. But with constant prayer and continuing love shown by those around me, I’ll pull through by the grace of God. He wants me here for reasons I may or may not know.

Learning to let go is not easy. I’ve struggled with this for years now, and it may always be my Achilles heel. However, the past months have been the most rewarding times in my life thus far. I would not trade this time of confusion for any mediocre job or other schooling.

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This week at the Sem!

- I am in the handbell choir here, and we’re playing tomorrow (Thursday 10.4) in chapel during distribution (during Communion)!! Pray that we give glory to God through His awesome gift of music!

- I have also joined the Student Association as the 1st year Deaconess Representative! Our first meeting is in about 10 minutes (as of 1:55 on Wednesday 10.3)!! I’m so excited to be a part of this group and this chance to be further involved at the Seminary!

Until next time!

:D

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Quickie!

So… I’ve failed you yet again!

I keep thinking I’ll sit down on Friday and write – but funny how good intentions work.

But, I’ll come up with something for Friday!!

In the meantime, I thought I would leave one of my favorite songs for all y’all!

Peace and Blessings on this Wednesday!

See you Friday!

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Variety is the spice of life?

*I would like to apologize for the tardiness of this post! I’ve promised to post every Friday/Saturday, and fell away already!
I’m still trying to adapt to life here at the Seminary – so, please excuse me if I forget every now and then!!*

“I will praise the Lord as long as I live;
I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.”
~ Psalm 146:2 (ESV)

It’s not a secret – I’m somewhat of a music snob, I’ll admit it. I’m not the best person to sit next to during a singing of the National Anthem. It’s just not a wise move. Because there will usually always be something I just don’t like about that specific rendition, and will proceed to talk about at length.

What I tend to forget is that, that singer/group performed to the best of their abilities at that moment. Could they have sang/played better? Most likely. Should I complain non-stop about it? Probably not.

That tends to be the same approach I, and many others, take as we attend a church service that completely differs from our “normal” services. And, again, I’ll be the first to admit, I’ve walked out of a church that I visited and flat out promised never to attend services there again.

As a member of the LCMS, I’ve been blessed to be witness to many different kinds of worship, ranging from very high, traditional liturgical services to services with a guitar playing pastor with a simple eucharist (Lord’s Supper) meal added. Does either one of these have more worth or validity to them? No, not at all. The manner of worship should not matter, but the content/reason of worship is where the focus must lie.

If we suddenly start teaching contrary material to that of the Bible, this is where the true offense lies. Once we take God away from His rightful place, things quickly spiral out of control. The intended balance is thrown for a loop.

Otherwise, the type of music, whether the pastor wears a collar/full garb or jeans/t-shirt, strict liturgical organization or not – giving these things precedence over the message being spoken only serves to undermine a focus on God.

Personally, I fall in the camp that prefers a more traditional, liturgical service. This does not mean, however, that I refuse to acknowledge that contemporary, praise band led services are not “proper” worship styles. If you are receiving God’s Word, uncorrupted by human reason and logic and attempts to put God in a box made of your own reason, the style of worship seems to me a small issue in light of much more pressing matters.

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{Now… stepping off of my soapbox.}

The first two weeks of classes are now over, and the third week began this morning. Two essays, one bibliography assignment, and countless pages later, I’m still confident in my decision to attend the Seminary. Along with rediscovering the pains of school work, I have discovered the wonderful world of Pinterest.

(For those unfamiliar – Pinterest is a social media website where you “pin” various pictures/crafts/websites to multiple “boards,” sharing with others as you go. If you can think of something, it will most likely be on that site.)

So, I’ve been struggling to keep focus on my studies, and to not continue to allow myself to be distracted! It’s a learning process, and one that I will most likely keep on working with.

Other “urgent” points of interest…

We (the Deaconess students) will be assigned our Field Work Churches for the year in the very near future! I’m super excited and a lot of nervous to begin assisting in any way I can.

AND!! It’s getting cooler here! And for a Florida girl, waking up and seeing 60/65F is a signal to wear a sweater! Suffice to say, I’ve been the odd man/woman out, wearing a scarf or two around campus. In 65F weather. So, we’ll have to see I handle the next month or so, before winter hits. (-_-) Pray for me!!

~~~

I would like to welcome those from Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, Lexington, KY as they have become my sponsors in the Adopt-a-Student program. They have shown great confidence in me, without truly meeting me, and for that I am extremely humbled and thankful. As there is nothing more fitting to say, thank you.

I also thank all of you who read this post, and for those who comment. It does not go unnoticed. I’ll try to keep up with what I set for myself, and post again at the end of the week. Perhaps, even with better ideas and results!!

I pray that God will bless this week for you, and for me, as we seek to follow Him and serve His people in love.

See you Friday!

:D

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I owe Forrest Gump a new box of chocolates

That’s me!

You know the line:

“Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”

Well, sitting at my desk in the Deaconess house at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, you can rest assured that I did not have this program in my personal chocolate box.

You also may know this line:

“We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps.” -Proverbs 16:9 NLT

But God had this program in His chocolate box for me.

Deaconess. Why Deaconess, Holly? What exactly is a Deaconess?

These are normally the responses I now expect when meeting new people, whether it be a fellow Seminarian Master of Divinity (Pastor) student or at a church I’m visiting with a fellow Deaconess sister.

Truthfully? I’m not 100% certain, as I’m just now beginning to understand what kind of impact I can have on the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod (LCMS) and the Church worldwide. All I know is that I have heard and felt God speaking to me, loudly by the way, for several months to pursue this position.

If you would so graciously give me leeway to flash back to this previous year, perhaps I could assist you in understanding the call I have felt upon my very soul.

August 2011

I am beginning my senior year at The Florida State University, looking to double major in Music and History, with expectations of graduating in April 2012. As I move back into my apartment (with my new kitten!!), I have begun to form vague plans of applying to several Historical Musicology graduate programs, with hopes of eventually earning my PhD with a specialization in Russian late 19th/early 20th century music. My mom and I begin to set a basic timeline, of which I am to follow immediately.

Oh the typical culprits are included: raise my GPA, assemble a portfolio to submit to the various admission councils, and obtain several professor recommendations.

Luckily for me, I have been allowed to take a graduate music history course on 19th century music (GREAT stuff by the way…). And again, one of the professors from which I need recommendation is teaching the course. Great! I’m on my way, right?!

Well, kinda sorta, not really.

Everything is going according to plan: I received a B- on my first project/paper, and was participating enough to remain afloat in such an intimidating setting.

But, somewhere in late November, about the time that I should be sending in my full application to the selected schools, I find myself greatly hesitating on completing even the school application, let alone asking for recommendation letters. Somehow, somewhere, my heart had begun to change its mind. I did not truly desire to enter grad school for musicology, but in my mind I resigned to follow through with what I had already planned years for.

Then December and Christmas Break happened. Once again, I was dragging my feet on beginning the long process of applying. But, it still didn’t sit well internally, in my heart of hearts. Repeatedly I kept telling myself, “You’re expected to do this. Just do it.”

But, I didn’t. So, in the end I made the emotional decision to wait a year and reevaluate my desire to attend graduate school.

The following months were some of the most difficult that I have yet experienced in my short life. I’m one of those people who like to know what is planned for every hour of vacation days, so for me not to have finite plans in order following FSU graduation was very trying.

I felt lost, confused.

“Wasn’t this what I wanted to do?” I would ask myself. “This is what you’re good at, passionate about!” I would berate myself at night.

So, I began to make plans with my family to move back home and look into substitute teaching or teaching certification in history. There. Now I finally felt a little better about life after FSU. But, deep down, I knew that I was not made for this. There was something else out there.

Where are we now? February? March? To tell you the truth, those two months are such a blur for me, its difficult to decipher when it was that I came to that conclusion. But, again I had resigned myself to go through with this plan and see what lay ahead for me.

“Leave it to God,” I would say, but not really submit all of my trust, clamoring to desperately hold onto some semblance of control my selfish heart craved. Trust is something I constantly struggle with, and most likely will always. I was so shaken mentally that I would hear a song on the radio and suddenly begin to cry. I’ve always connected with music on a basic level, and soon I began to feel that God was trying to tell me something. Something huge. Life changing. But I continued to plod along in my schoolwork, all the while still attending the same church I had been for most of my FSU career. I soon realized that I had begun to plod along in my relationship with my Creator as well. I had ignored Him, pushed Him aside, trying with my human logic to reason out why my life was going the way it was.

And slowly I began to feel the desire to help His people. More so than just being a kind and loving neighbor.

One night, my iTunes played the hymn “Here I am, Lord.” That really broke the remaining barriers. I remember singing the verses with tears streaming down my face, surrendering my life into God’s more than capable hands.

Being born and raised Lutheran, I had grown up with knowing Jesus as my Lord and Savior and never truly lost that truth, even through those months, but I was spiritually spent. Depleted. It was like knowing your friend was your friend, but not taking the time to strengthen your bond of companionship and simply expecting them to be there for you.

Well, while that hymn played I told God, “I’ll go where You want me to go. Where You need me. Just lead me there.”

Fast forward several weeks, two weeks left to go in my undergraduate career! It’s Monday, and I’m sitting in a Colonial America History lecture writing my notes and getting amped up to finish strong! It’s about 10:35 AM and all of a sudden a quickly, but loudly uttered statement flashed through my thoughts derailing all thoughts of Jonathan Edwards and Benjamin Franklin.

“You should look at the Deaconess program.”

That was it. That’s what flew through my brain. To be frank, I had never even really considered being a full time church worker, and was confused with the concept of Deaconesses. But I knew that I had to take at least a few minutes and research it before discarding it wholly. As class ended, I quickly called my mom at work, and together we poured over every available website in regards to Deaconesses and what they provide for the Church. While it all seemed a little vague, I was filled with a peace that I hadn’t experienced with all of the research I did with musicology schools. It was overwhelming, but at the same time it was a solid ground to stand on.

It was God smacking me upside the head and telling me what I had been yearning for. Who was I to ignore this?

As I completed my final weeks at FSU, I kept researching and investigating the seminaries that offered what I was looking for. I immediately was drawn to Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, for reasons I did not know. Again, I believe that God was telling me what and where, even though it happened so quickly and suddenly that only months later can I look back and see.

My family soon gathered in my tiny apartment for my graduation ceremonies, and the inevitable question of “What’s next?” soon began. I told them honestly that I was looking into becoming a Deaconess. And all of the family there immediately supported my decision to investigate more and encouraged me to apply. I truly have been blessed with a loving family, both immediate and extended. And I strive to thank God every day for them, for without them, this important decision could have had vastly different results.

I’ll speed up the story now… ;)

The following months of May, June, and July saw me call the Seminary, apply after many deadlines, have district interviews, receive my acceptance call, and take any pre-Seminary tests. Suffice to say the past summer has been both extremely fast and slow for me, and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

~~~

So, that’s my explanation on how I found my way here to St. Louis. It’s been very overwhelming to think about all that I have done in the last few months, from applying in June to moving in August to begin a whole new journey. What I hope to accomplish with this weekly blog is simply this: that you get to know me and together we can learn just how Deaconesses can make a Godly impact in His Church and for His people. I will pray for you, if you pray with me and my fellow Seminarians as we daily struggle with temptations and that we may grow to know God more and more each day.

Over 1500 words later and what do we have? Obviously, a Seminarian student who writes way too much!

Joking aside, what I garner from my own story is that while you think you know what you want, God truly has your heart in mind as He works daily within our lives.

Just as Proverbs 16:9 tells us.

Be at peace, and love the Lord, for that is all we can do.

:D

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