Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The Road Is Narrow, But It Has Many Curves...

I never cease to be amazed by God. He has always been faithful in leading me. The way of God is narrow, but that doesn't mean it can't twist and wind and present some sudden curves...

I graduated Rochester College with my Bachelor’s degree in 2002 and knew then that I had the desire to pursue graduate studies at some point in the future. The question a graduate is always asked, “What is your degree?” is always answered by me as, “Interdisciplinary Studies—my two concentrations were Religion and Communication.” Inevitably, the reply is, “Oh, what do you plan to do with that?”, to which I respond, “Go to graduate school…someday.”

The question floating in the back of my mind throughout the past four years has been what field of study do I want to pursue? I have varied interests, and my interdisciplinary degree provides a diverse background from which I could have a good chance of being accepted into a variety of graduate programs. I have thought for some time that I would really be interested in becoming a college professor, but again, the question becomes what field of study? That background is the setting for a life-altering event in my life that I experienced only a few weeks ago.

Sara Barton invited me to be a part of the Women in Ministry Conference held on the Rochester College campus during the last week of May. I had no expectations of that two day experience, but I certainly came out changed. While I continue to wrestle with my egalitarian tendencies while desiring to remain true to my restoration heritage, I have never felt the sense of empowerment and enlightenment that I experienced while engaging in dialogue and communion with these other women who were pursuing their passions and giftedness in ministry in Churches of Christ settings. In those two short days, God worked on my heart in a way that frightens and excites me. I feel empowered to pursue what I am passionate about, regardless of gender. Now I know that God can use me within the ranks of my church heritage in ways I had not really considered.

While deciding on a major in undergrad, the only reason I didn’t get a degree in Biblical Studies is because I honestly felt that I wouldn’t be able to “do” anything with it. And I could vividly anticipate the questions that would come…“Well, what are YOU going to do with that?” I felt that at that time, and maybe there was more truth in that thought then, that there wasn’t really much place for women in full-time ministry within the Churches of Christ. Honestly, there was a lot of fear on my part—I didn’t know of any other women in Churches of Christ working in full-time ministry. Now, however, I have seen that those thoughts and fears are simply invalid, right here, right now in 2006.

Therefore, the question of what field of graduate study to pursue became quite clear. I am passionate about God and His people, and I thrive on engaging in intellectual dialogue and learning about theology and ministry. Therefore, it is off to grad school in fall at Rochester College. At the moment, I consider my goal to continue my education after the Master’s program and eventually become a college religion professor. But I am always open to the Lord’s leading, and I am excited that He has led me to this place in my life.