Category Archives: seminary

Is Happiness Really the Goal


I keep hearing the phrase “as long as (s)he is happy” or some variation of it. It almost always hits a nerve. I’ve been trying to figure out why. Happiness is a good thing, right? I read a blog post once along the lines of “I don’t want my children to be happy.” I can’t remember who wrote it and I’m not trying to copy it here. I do remember it confirming some things in my heart concerning this American can dream of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Bear with me while I process some things here in the blogosphere. When my husband and I made the decision for him to go to seminary, I was not happy. I was sad. I grieved over leaving my comfort zone, my friends, my family and my familiar surroundings in order to pick up and move to central Florida, in the middle of the summer, while I was in my third trimester of pregnancy with my third child. We chose to raise support to supplement our income so that my husband could focus on school work. He was to be in a very intense Masters program for two years. One day my mom asked me if we still planned to go even if we didn’t get the support we needed. When I said yes, she got very upset and hung up the phone. She called back to tell me that she just wanted me to be “happy” and then hung up again.

Would I have been happier to stay in my comforts… yes? But was staying the best thing for me? for my husband? for our family? It’s taken me four years to be able to say this, but no… it wouldn’t have been the best thing. God, in his infinite wisdom, put me through the ringer. I was not comfortable. I was not content. I was not happy.

But from that experience, I gained compassion on those who have to make hard financial choices and who live below the poverty line. I learned to be creative with gift giving. I learned to be frugal in our homeschooling. I learned to ask for help. I learned that giving is not always financial. I learned to respect and defend my husband. I learned to stand my ground and follow the Lord even when it doesn’t make sense. I cried a lot and questioned God. I got mad and Him. I yelled at Him… and He still loves me. He didn’t abandon me. Was I happy…. not always, but I guess my happiness wasn’t the point of all that.

So.. .what is the point? What is God’s point? Sanctification… becoming more and more like Christ. Can I become like Him if I am seeking my own happiness? In my opinion, no… not completely. If I am seeking to make myself happy, I do not have my focus where it needs to be. Jesus summed up the law of the prophets as this: Love God and Love your Neighbor. I do not see where my happiness plays a part in that. If I am loving God, I am seeking the things of His heart… not mine. If I am loving my neighbor, I am focusing outward… not inward.

I spent a lot of the first year of our in seminary being focused on myself… what I had lost and how being there was effecting me. Something changed during the summer between his first and second year. I was able to vocalize my hurt and bitterness to the Lord and my husband and slowly,  I was able to start seeing other people again. I was able to start investing in others and look outward instead of just inside myself. A weight was lifted and it was like I was coming out of a horrible fog.

I am NOT saying that Christianity, this life I’ve chosen, is one of chains and dreariness and constant sadness. It is quite the opposite. It is learning deep and abiding JOY as opposed to fleeting HAPPINESS.

This whole line of thinking informs my parenting and homeschooling. I could do the easy thing and give into my kids so they will be happy and my life will be temporarily peaceful. But in the end, that is the greatest injustice I can do for my kids…. to always give them what will make them happy. Happiness is NOT the goal. So… what is the goal?

Sanctification…. Christ Likeness… Eternal Perspective.

I am so glad that I have been adopted into the family of a loving and merciful God who gently teaches me and doesn’t expect me to get it all right upfront.

 …being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6

Happy Monday Everyone !!!

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Confessions of A Seminary Wife- A Van and Four Seasons

Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed. Psalm 20:4

Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed. Proverbs 16:3

I do not, and will not, claim to know why God chooses to act in certain ways. I do not understand why, at times,  he chooses to bless those who could care less about him. I do not know why, at times, his faithful children groan in despair and frustration when things just don’t seem to come together.
I also do not begin to understand why God takes an interest in my life…why he chooses to love me. I am not a power player. We certainly do not have any money. We have little to no influence on the world at large. Yet… according to the Bible, He loves me, cares about me, will not give up on me, and he died for me.

It is no secret that I have struggled in the past two years. I have barely read the Bible or prayed apart from nightly devotions with the kids and cries of desperation and frustration when everything around me has fallen apart. I have rarely sought the Lord and told him that I love him… that I am sorry… that I am thankful. I have not been a “good” Christian. But… apparently… it’s not all about me. Amazingly, the Lord is not shaken by my emotion… my anger… my frustration. In fact… in the depths of my lonliness and resentment toward everything around me last year, the Lord reached out to me in loving kindness and reminded me that He wasn’t going anywhere.

I don’t know why he chose to continually bless our family despite my rotten attitude. I suppose that again, it is because it is not all about me… it is, in fact, for his glory. I suppose that it is because, when I finally get out of the stupor I have been sitting in, I will be able to look back on our time in seminary and trace his faithful hand and say… wow… He really was there… even when I doubted.

I could write page upon page about the random blessings that came to our family during our time in seminary… countless gift cards to random restaurants, clothes for our kids, friendships, financial support… the list goes on and I am still realizing quite a bit of it… but two that stand out to me more than anything are two things that I didn’t even ask for… I didn’t really think to pray about them… I didn’t really know that I could or should. They were desires of my heart that really didn’t make a difference in light of eternity… but because they mattered to me… they mattered to God…

The first happened shortly after we arrived in Florida. Our third child was born and we had a small car. It suited our needs. It was cramped, but we really didn’t have the resources to look for anything bigger. After the baby was born and I was getting into life with three kids at home and a husband consumed by seminary… the little car began to seem more like a prison to me. I was glad to have it… really I was, but every time we got in the car, my blood pressure would rise. The older kids couldn’t keep their hands off the newborn. They poked her eyes, stuck things in her mouth, coughed and sneezed on her, fought with each other. In my heart I would weep and cry and whine about how I wanted a mini van… if I just had a mini van, everything would be alright. I didn’t feel like I had a right to pray about God providing a mini van… He had already given us so much… and really.. .the car was fine. Well… a couple of months of this went on and then, on the way home from church, we were rear ended. I didn’t think much damage had really been done, but when the insurance adjuster came out, they declared the car totaled and gave us a check for way more than what the car was worth. Our church then came alongside us and basically matched the check. With that money, we were able to buy… A MINI VAN! My life changed. Car rides were so much more peaceful. God blessed me. He knew the desire of my heart… frivolous though it may have been. He knew… and he blessed me.

The other thing that stands out is the fact that we are moving in two weeks… to the mountains in North Carolina. I have whined about the heat in Florida for two years. It is so blasted hot. And… it is hot all the time. The “winter” here is maybe a week of highs in the 60s. People kept asking where we wanted to live when my husband graduated. I kept saying, I don’t know… I just want to be somewhere that has seasons. Again… I didn’t pray about this. I didn’t think to let the Lord know my desire. I felt selfish in having a desire… I mean… shouldn’t I be open to whatever the Lord has for us… no matter how hot it is? Well… the place where we are moving has a main thoroughfare called Four Seasons Blvd. The town is known for being a place where you can experience all four seasons. Again… He blessed me. He knew the desire of my heart… and he blessed me.

When it comes down to it, God is Sovereign. He will do what he will do… and it is for his glory. He cannot be manipulated by our prayers or actions. He cannot be tricked into blessing us in certain ways. There is no formula when it comes to God… He is living and active in our lives. He will act in accordance to his will and his glory. He is not heartless and he is not uncaring about the nitty gritty details of every day life. From the evangelist to the preacher to the missionary to the banker to the lawyer to the worker in the cubicle to the stay at home mom and everywhere in between, he is extremely interested in the details… I don’t understand it, but I’ll take it!

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Confessions of A Seminary Wife- I Know Lonely

Can I still call myself a seminary wife now that he has graduated? We still live a mile from the seminary. He still works for the school. We are still waiting for the Lord to reveal the next step. Although I am not completely removed from the seminary, I thought I’d share some reflections from experiences I had during our first year here.
Two years ago this week, the kids and I packed up our belongings and hit the road to meet my husband in our new home. He had come down two weeks earlier to set up the house and start looking for a job before summer classes began. I was about 32 weeks pregnant and not worth anything for moving boxes. I was frustrated, confused and oh so sad to be leaving the place we had been calling home. We had only been there for a little over two years, but had made some great friendships. I had established myself and had built a strong support system. Even though the business my husband was working for was crumbling and he was miserable in his job, I was mad that I was being taken out of my comfort zone once again. I was thinking about myself. I blamed it on the kids… oh, I would say… oh, this move will be so hard on them… they will struggle so much because they are leaving their friends behind. I blamed it on my pregnancy… I’ll never find a good doctor. Insurance will be a nightmare. I blamed it on so much, but really… my feelings had been hurt and I didn’t want to start over again.
Time went on, classes started, he got a job, the baby came, the kids started making friends. We attended a weekly playgroup with our church… maybe it was hormones, maybe it was the air I put off, but I was so lonely and just couldn’t seem to connect with anyone. Our church was filled with young families. Our kids played together… but I just couldn’t seem to make any friends. I was so lonely. My world was so small and filled with small people who needed me. It was all I could do to get out of bed in the mornings.
My husband was in school, making friends, living his dream. I suppose I was happy for him. I don’t really know. I was barely functioning at home. I was desperate for fellowship that I just couldn’t seem to find. I couldn’t bring myself to pray or read my Bible. I just wrapped myself up in pity and survived each day.
I was so desperate for contact with other people that I would get excited when door to door sales people would come. I actually looked forward to the ten to fifteen times a day our neighbors would knock on the door to borrow (or steal) my phone, food, money, anything (but that’s another story for another day). I just wanted someone to call my friend.
Sidenote: My husband is a GREAT husband. He did not neglect me or the kids during this time. He made time for us, he worked, he went to school… I don’t know how he did it all. He was there… but in my selfishness, I didn’t see him.
During our second summer here, things began to change. I finally acknowledged my hurt and anger and resentment out loud to my husband and to the Lord. I didn’t know what good it would do, but once it was all out in the open, my heart began to soften. I stopped spinning my own wheels trying to “fix” myself and began to let the Lord’s healing hand work on my heart. I still resisted. I still resented. But slowly, I think that has mostly melted away. The Lord brought sweet friends into my life who encouraged me greatly and taught me about living in community together. My kids have made sweet friendships as well that have taught them to pray for one another and live in community.

We are getting ready to move again. We may or may not be moving back to where we used to live. We might just move somewhere new… where we don’t know anyone… where we will be starting over again. I don’t want to experience despair again. I don’t want to experience loneliness and bitterness. I am praying that I am stronger now… that I am wiser and that I am ready.


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Confessions of A Seminary Wife- He Graduated

It happened. He finished his classes, turned in his assignments, donned his cap and gown… and GRADUATED!!! As I mentioned in my previous confession, when we first came down here, two years might as well have been eternity. I thought it would last forever! But… it didn’t. We had slow days… oh so slow… but really, the time went by fast and now it has ended. It is bittersweet. I really enjoyed this past year and the community we were blessed to be part of. I so enjoyed meeting other seminary wives who shared my struggles of being a wife of a seminarian as well as a mother of young children. We are designed for community… for fellowship. If we are not tapped into community, we are incomplete.

Now… here’s how it went down graduation night. I wanted to celebrate my husband. I wanted him to know that I was so proud of what he had accomplished… that this night was all about him… I wanted to walk around with him at the reception that followed and snap pictures and celebrate with him. However… life doesn’t always slow down for special occasions. Children do not always become miraculously obedient or understanding. Record high temperatures creep into the city, unexpected claps of thunder send everyone into a panic… life continues whether or not your husband is graduating from seminary. The ceremony took place at a church about thirty minutes away from the house. We grabbed some subs from Publix, loaded up our family and family who were visiting from out of town into two cars and headed off down the road. My husband’s celebratory graduation dinner: Publix sub while sitting in the back seat on the way to graduation. We got there early so he could get dressed and have pictures taken. However, other than him, there were eight of us who were going to be sitting around for about an hour and a half before the service. After we dropped him off at the entrance of the church, we went and found the free parking deck a couple of blocks away. While we were unloading the kids and food, we heard a ginormous clap of thunder… the kind that sets off car alarms! So… as you can imagine, the kids were really excited about that. We pushed on, hoping that was going to be the only thunder (it was… praise the Lord) and headed to the breezeway of the church to have our picnic. The toddler refused to eat anything. The six year old insisted that I had promised him he could play on the playground and the four year old… well…she was doing great… her grandmother, who she adores was there and that’s all she needed.
The time came to drop the toddlers (mine and my niece) off at the nursery.. always a heart- wrenching experience… for her… not me… I have no mercy or compassion for screaming toddlers… I just drop them into the hands of the caregiver and run! We had a quick drink of gatorade… red gatorade… before heading into the service…most of which landed on Little Sis’s shirt… lovely!
The kids handled the service incredibly well. They sat mostly still, stayed mostly quiet and paid attention… mostly. When it was over… when the time came for me to proudly walk around with my graduated husband, the selfish, sinful nature of my children rose to the top. I don’t blame them… it was two hours past bedtime and they were spent. Their requests were endless and unreasonable. They were tired, cranky, hungry, and they needed to go potty! I saw my husband for about two minutes as he was making his rounds and then I tended to the little ones.
I am not bitter or upset that things didn’t go my way or that I didn’t get the pictures that I wanted to take. It is just a reminder that my life is not my own. My plans and agendas are not my own. As I spent most of the night telling Big Brother, “It’s not all about you.” It’s not all about me. Life didn’t stop that night and it won’t any time soon. One crazy time in our life is ending and another will soon begin.

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Confessions of A Seminary Wife- Coffee House Reflections

After a great Mother’s Day with my kiddos and super husband, I am sitting alone, in the corner of a coffee shop just up the street from our house. The first time I came here was a little over two years ago. We came down to visit the seminary for a review weekend. My husband was being interviewed and doing various personality tests and inventories to find out if he was suitable for the program. I was about three months pregnant and so not in the mood to uproot and move to a new state and give him to a seminary for two years. Two years… that seemed like such a long time… a huge chunk of our lives.
They had a “spouses” question and answer time during the review weekend. After informing us spouses that we would basically be living as single parents for the next two years and we would do best go get a Netflix subscription and prepare to watch a lot of movies alone, they sent us on our way and told us that there was a coffee house down the road where we could hang out if we wanted until our spouses were finished for the night.
One of the other wives and I decided to head on over. I remember sitting there that night, listening to her talk about all the reasons she didn’t want her husband to enter this program and what it would mean for her family. I remember that it was February and 85 degrees outside. I was not looking forward to Central Florida heat. I remember knowing, deep down, that my husband would get accepted to the program. We would uproot and move… again… for the fourth time in four years. As I listened to this other spouse talking, I started making mental checklists of all the things that would have to be done in order for us to move… gather packing boxes, change our address, set up playdates for the kids so they could say good- bye to their friends and I could say good-bye to mine. A two year program seemed like an eternity to me. Especially because we didn’t have any plans for when it would be over… we still don’t by the way.
When we moved down, we didn’t have internet. My husband was off at school making new friends, starting new and exciting things, connecting with people and I was home with two, almost three children and no internet… no way to feel connected to the life I just left. No facebook to look at pictures and see what people had been up to… no blog access… no email. I felt so alone.
Once a week or so, I would take my pregnant self to the coffee house where I am sitting now. I would soak up every email, every facebook post, every ounce of connection I could feel to other people. I would come here to escape reality and long for a place where we no longer were. I didn’t want to move on. I didn’t want to accept my new reality.
I  eventually did move on. I eventually began to connect with those around me. The kids made new friends and got to see the ones we left when we went back to visit. I made new friends. I saw my husband thriving as he was learning new things. I think I grew a little in the process… I don’t know… I’m still trying to figure that one out.
I haven’t been to the coffee house in a while. I haven’t needed to. However, my husband gave me a gift card to here for Christmas and I figured I better come and use it before we move on once again. It’s been two years. It didn’t take as long as I thought. We don’t know where we are going or what we will be doing. But, the sun will come up tomorrow. Graduation will happen in a couple of weeks. The lease on the house we are renting will come up in July.  My husband will find a job and we’ll move on once again. I am SO glad that this earth is not the end. I cannot wait until I am securely planted in heaven and all my needs for security and stability will be fulfilled completely by Jesus. Sure.. he is my all sufficiency even now… but my sin is constantly clouding my vision and realization of his all sufficiency. One day… one day I will see face to face and it will all be clear!

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Confessions of A Seminary Wife- Being Frugal isn’t Always Frugal (29)

Anyone who has been in graduate school or seminary or just starting a new job with family in tow knows that the budget is tight…. with little to no wiggle room. We are constantly keeping track of every penny. I can’t sleep at night if I know our checkbook is not balanced perfectly. I am obsessive about getting the balance in my register to match what the bank says. I want to know what is in the account at all times. I have to know. I have to keep track because we have to be so careful with what we spend.

I have struggled with our finances being what they are while we’ve been in school because, though I have never been a big spender, I have always been able to make purchases when I want. I have always been able to grab a pair of shoes from the clearance rack or stock up in the dollar section or peruse the clearance bins at the craft supply store. I like to bargain shop. I like to find deals and boast about them. But… when you don’t have the disposable income to even bargain shop with, then even those deals are excessive and unnecessary.

A couple of months ago, I came across a coupon code for a free Photo Album from Walgreens.  I was excited because we had recently had our family portraits done when I won a free photo session from a friend’s budding photography business. I thought the book would be a great way to display the pictures. I planned on completing the book and having it shipped to Walgreens in order to avoid shipping costs. I worked on the book for two hours, but when I went to check out, I found out that the ship to store was not an option with this coupon. I would have to pay $7.99 to have it shipped. I was SO disappointed because I had just finished paying bills and wiped out the bank account. It was only eight dollars, but it was eight dollars we just didn’t have. I had to walk away. I had to give up the “free” book.

In a previous post, I shared that I found some fabric in the clearance bin at Joann. I bought enough to make both of my girls dresses for Easter. I was so proud of my find and excited to make the dresses. I felt so domestic and accomplished. My husband was impressed and proud of the dresses as well… but he gently pointed out that the girls already had perfectly good dresses and the money that I spent on the supplies was money that could have been used elsewhere. At first I was mad at him for bringing that to light. But the reality is… he was right. We’ve been blessed time and time again with hand me downs and the girls both had beautiful dresses that would have been nice to wear. The fabric and supplies that I bought, even though they were on clearance, were not necessities.

I sold those other dresses on ebay and got the money back… but that’s not the point. The point is.. being frugal is not easy. Being frugal often means just saying no to those great deals. Being frugal might mean not spending the money on ink and paper to print out coupons.It might mean just going without.

We live in a culture of excess and abundance. What I deem a necessity is likely seen as a luxury in other parts of the world. My children have more clothes than they know what to do with. They don’t even wear half of them. I don’t need clorox wipes and swiffer pads… even if they are on sale. I can make my own vinegar all purpose cleaner at home and knit up some reusable swiffer pads from all the extra yarn I have hanging around. I like that I can make my kids clothes, but they don’t need that from me right now. So many people see being frugal as being a great bargain shopper. But for me… it has to be just being content with what we have and either making do with what we have or going without.

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Confessions of A Seminary Wife- I Know Crazy

 When we moved for my husband to start school, we kept saying “it’ll be a crazy of years, but we can do it.” I feel like every month he says, “the next couple of weeks will be crazy and then it should slow down a little bit.” But it never does. Some other crazy thing pops up and takes our time. I’ve gotten used to it… and truth be told, I’ve grown rather fond of our crazy life. I’ve learned to not get too attached to my agenda. I’ve learned to be more generous with my time and resources.

Right now, I have three extra children in my house. Their mom is a dear friend and was given a great, kid free, opportunity this week. When she asked if the kids could come over, I could have said, “no… we just got back in town. My house is crazy, my kids are crazy and it’s just not a good time.” I could have said that, but I didn’t because crazy is normal around here.

Knowing that our lives are crazy helps me to not be so surprised when the unexpected pops up. I get frustrated, but am not surprised when an unexpected bill comes along. I am prepared when I expect my husband to be home at a certain time, but he doesn’t make it until a couple of hours later because he got hung up at the school. I am learning to play real life dodgeball and deal with all the craziness that is thrown my way. I could stand their and let the hard knocks pummel me over and over again… or I can learn to be quick on my feet and figure out how to maneuver through all of it.

I am not the first to live a crazy life… and I certainly won’t be the last. Let me tell you about some others I know.

Once upon a time, there was a lady named Jochebed. She probably had hopes and dreams about how her family would turn out. She probably watched her mother as she grew up and imagined the day that she too would be a mother and take care of her own home. She might have imagined having a large family with lots of little ones running around. She had a boy and a girl before the king declared war on the Hebrew baby boys. He declared that any Hebrew baby boy that was born should be tossed in the river. Jochebed had a baby boy, Moses. She made the crazy choice to hide him until she could hide him no more. Then she put him into a basket and sent him down a dangerous river, trusting the Lord to deliver him to safety. He did. The daughter of the very king that was trying to kill the baby, saved the baby and raised him as her own. How crazy is that? You can read more about this story in the Bible… in the book of Exodus.

Once upon another time, there was a scrawny shepherd boy who was overlooked by everyone, even his own father. His brothers were sent to war while he stayed home to care for the sheep. His father sent him to take food and supplies to his brother and he ended up fighting a giant on behalf of all of Israel and winning. He wasn’t even in the army. How crazy?!? Read more about this shepherd boy in the Bible… in Samuel and Kings.

Fast Forward to Bethlehem. A young girl, engaged to be married finds herself pregnant. But she’s a virgin. This is crazy. An angel tells her that this baby is from the Lord. The girl had to be scared. She lived in a time when those who committed adultery were drug into the streets and stoned to death. She hadn’t committed adultery, but who was going to believe her? She chose to trust the Lord. Her betrothed did as well and against all odds, the baby Jesus was born. Read more about their story in the Bible… in the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

Stephen, an apostle of Jesus, after Jesus returned to heaven was being stoned to death because he loved Jesus and preached that Jesus was Lord and was the only way to heaven. He went against the norm. He did not fear for his own safety. He was so desperate to tell people the good news of Jesus that he literally went to his death proclaiming Jesus. CRAZY!

Fast forward again… about 2000 years and meet the Owens family. They had a “perfect” life… three beautiful children… a secure and safe lifestyle. They soon felt the burden to shake things up and adopt… from Uganda. The two children they adopted were not “safe.” They had been living in a prison with “delinquents.” Who knows what kind of horrible habits they might bring into this “perfect” family. But the Owens chose to trust the Lord on this one. Read more about their story on their blog… Good to be Crazy!

Then there is the Noll Family… they are missionaries who are currently in the States and in Seminary… and also in the process of adopting two children from Ethiopia. Crazy… right?

We know people who have given up promising, successful careers to follow the call of the Lord. The call doesn’t promise riches and power. It doesn’t promise fame or honor… at least in this world. The call to follow the Lord is generally a bit crazy looking. It’s generally a day by day, step by step kind of thing. The road is not always clear… which adds to the craziness.

It helps me to know that crazy seems to be a theme throughout the Bible and throughout the lives of Christians. I feel like we are in good company.

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Confessions of A Seminary Wife-Waiting is So Hard (7)

I do not like waiting. I confess that I am a product of our instant society. The microwave can’t get done fast enough. The internet is always too slow. The drive through takes too long. I do not like to wait.

This attitude does not set well with being a Christian. God does not seem to be in the habit of instant gratification. He does not instantly answer the prayers that I so hastily pray. I want sanctification…and I want it now. I am tired of losing my patience with my kids, under appreciating my husband and over looking the “least of these” who desperately need to be cared for. I am tired of being selfish, self- centered and sinful. But sanctification takes time…a life time in fact. Unfortunately, I will always struggle with sin this side of heaven.

When we began this seminary journey, it seemed the waiting would never end. Waiting to see if his application was received. Waiting to see if we’d be invited to the review weekend where they interview possible future students. Waiting to see if he was accepted in the first round of applicants…no. Waiting to see if he was accepted in the second round…yes.

Then we waited to see if we would be able to find a house to live in, raise support for our expenses, get out of our lease for our apartment. All this waiting was driving me nuts. I was pregnant and desperately needing to nest and make a home for our family and a place for this new little one who would be arriving soon.

Two months after he was accepted, we moved to a new state and into a new neighborhood. The waiting continued. Waiting to make new friends. Waiting to see if the support we were trying to raise would be enough to cover the bills. We waited. We wait still.

Now we are waiting to find a job. To know the next step. Graduation is just over a month away. Our lease on the house we are renting will be up in July. So much still needs to be completed before he can even graduate. I have been praying and I know that others have been too…that God would lead us to the right job, in the right city, at the right time. I know that he will. I would just like to know sooner than later what that next step will be.

I wish that I could rest in the present. I wish that I could be okay with not knowing the next step yet. I wish that I could trust that we will know when the time comes. I know that God already has it planned and is not concerned. I know that I am borrowing trouble from tomorrow and letting it shadow my today.

It is exciting in a way to think of all the possibilities. Graduation is going to come. Our lease will run out. We will take that next step. I’m just eager to know what it will be.

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Confessions of a Seminary Wife- Friends Needed!

In my last confession, I shared that I realized I was trying to take on life by myself…a task doomed to fail. We were just not created to go it alone. We were created to be dependent beings, living in community. I mean…look in Genesis… In the garden, God looked at Adam and said it was not good for him to be alone.

When we made the decision to move to a new state for my husband to go to seminary, many people advised me to get connected with other people, moms, seminary wives, etc. as soon as possible. I was so sad to leave our community of friends at our church. We had only been in our previous city for just over 2 years and I was finally starting to feel like I was making some solid friendships. I tried to get connected when we got here. I joined a play group…we joined the YMCA… We went to a church filled with young families…but the friendships that I so longed for just weren’t coming together fast enough for me.

It was hard to want to connect with people knowing that my husband was only going to be in school for two years and we were likely going to be moving on when he graduated. We have moved a lot since our oldest was born. I have realized that I have two choices…be calloused and hard…make shallow friendships so it doesn’t really hurt so much when we have to say good bye… Or…invest in people, love well and go deep with people…no matter the consequences.

It took about a year, but we started to meet other seminary families. Families who live in our neighborhood…with lots of kids…who homeschool. Husbands that can talk seminary together. Wives who can relate to the challenges and joys of motherhood, marriage and graduate school! We only have a few short months left in the program. I could shut these people out of my life because I know that we are starting a new chapter in our lives come this summer. But I choose to love well and live in community…no matter the consequences.

Two pieces of wisdom I have received over the last few years that have stuck out to me:

1. A military wife I met in a Bible study once encouraged me to set up a home wherever we moved. Even if we would not be there long… Put pictures on the wall and make it cozy.

2. A friend who opens her home to house guests (even though her husband is in seminary and they have 3 kids) said about having these guests, “It’s good for my sanctification.” Living in community keeps us honest. Allowing other people to speak into your life is a great reality check.

Friendships take time. Letting people into your life can get a little hairy at times. It seems like it would be easier at times to just go it alone…but that’s just not the way we were designed. And when you try to operate something in a way it wasn’t designed, you won’t get very far.

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Confessions of a Seminary Wife- I Stalk the Mail Carrier

I’m getting better… really I am. But I cannot deny the truth… I stalk the mail carrier. We live on a caul-de-sac (no clue if I spelled that right)… not many cars come back our way. The mail truck has a distinct sound. I can hear it coming as it makes it’s stops at each home. I look forward to the mail coming everyday… to say it is a highlight of the day would be an understatement.

I am getting better though… If you’d asked me a year ago… I would have said the mail was THE highlight of the day and not just A highlight of the day. You see… in coming to seminary, we decided to raise support. The program my husband is in (Masters of Art in Counseling) is an intensive two year program. The school suggests that if you work at all, work no more than 20 hours a week. Well… 20 hours a week ain’t gonna put food on the table or shoes on our feet, now is it? We knew that we were going to need help and began to ask people to come along side us with prayer and financial support. Oh… did I mention this was right after the economy crashed and everyone was losing money and scared? yeah… that was a great time to ask people to invest in one more thing. We did, thankfully, have several families commit to join us in our “great adventure.” We did not, and have not, however reach our goal amount… so each month, we pray for God’s provision to bring in the rest of what we need to pay our bills. We have been blessed time and time again by one time financial gifts that have come at just the right time.

Therefore… I stalk the mail carrier. I never know what might be waiting in the mailbox. We have our monthly support checks that usually come at the beginning of the month… and then we have those occasional gifts that show up every now and then.

I’ve always loved getting mail… who doesn’t? But now… I stalk the mail carrier… hoping that she’ll deliver good news to my mail box… the right check at the right time. Poor woman… she doesn’t know that she’s the object of my obsession. She doesn’t know that I get mad at her when she just puts ads, coupons and pre-approved credit card deals in my box. And Lord help her if she puts and unexpected bill in there! I have been trying so hard to trust God’s timing in providing for us. I have tried so hard to be thankful when our bills are taken care of on time and without using a credit card (yes… I did just say credit card… don’t judge). I have tried so hard to still trust and still believe that God has my best interest at heart in those times when the checks don’t come and all I find in the mailbox is a stack of coupons to restaurants that we can’t afford right now. It’s hard though… it’s hard to want something to happen one way, but accept reality when it doesn’t. It’s not really the mail carrier that I am mad at… she’s just an easy target.

I am still trying to figure out what it means that some months, we seem to be left in the lurch when it comes to our bills. I have become so narrow in my understanding of God’s provision. I think it should mean every penny that we need… right when we need it. I forget that we have never had to buy clothes for our kids because we have received so many hand me downs. I forget that we have a roof over our heads, two cars in the driveway, a big backyard with a great view of Florida wildlife, and countless other blessings that have been given to us. More than that, I forget that my citizenship is in heaven… and this world is not my home.  Paul (from the Bible) was beaten, flogged, shipwrecked, imprisoned and more… but referred to all those things as “light and momentary troubles.” If he can say that about the persecution and hatred he faced… why am I whining about not getting the mail I wanted? Paul lived his life in light of eternity. What would my life look like if I had that kind of perspective.

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