About a year ago I blogged about having a break for the summer from seminary and I probably made some statements about being a more disciplined person, getting into scripture more and so on. Not sure how much of that happened… One thing I have learned after these past 4 years of seminary is that sanctification is truly a process. I had thoughts about what I would be like when I finished. I thought I would have it all together. I also thought I was fairly learned at the outset of seminary, I quickly discovered that I was not. The big idea is that it is hard to see growth as it is happening. Throughout all the struggles, frustrations, and life that has taken place over the last 4 years, I have frequently felt that maybe I wasn’t growing at all. Maybe I was just surviving, just getting by, just coping with the crazy workload of full-time employment, full-time seminary, an interim pastorate, being a husband, and other commitments. Now as I look back, there has been growth from that first day of classes. I have learned a great deal in my classes and have had my appetite stirred to continue in learning. Yet, what I have really learned is that sanctification takes time, the Holy Spirit works slowly or perhaps more appropriately, I learn/change/grow slowly. I do think that God works slowly, especially in relation to the pace of our society and the expectations that we have in relation to growth, change and results. Hopefully after these 4 years, I am a little better disciple of Jesus, a little better husband and a little better prepared to serve in ministry. A gentleman from church told me yesterday that since school is over, now my real education begins.
I do truly feel that I have stumbled out of the wilderness. It’s funny to hear from some parts of my extended family that they had no idea what I had been doing in school, let alone even knowing that I was in school. In some ways, it represents the cave that I have lived in these last 4 years. I have been grateful for the support that I have received first from my incredible wife; God has used her to truly be an encouragement and a blessing throughout school. I am also grateful for the support that good friends have showed me through this time as well. However, it is difficult to not receive support from others or even to receive some criticism, “Men cannot provide for their families as a minister,” “What do you want to do something like that for?” “That’s nice, but what are you going to really do?” Sometimes, just a general lack of concern or support is disheartening as well. Then again, I didn’t answer a call from God to seminary and to ministry in order to receive blessing and support from every person I have ever met. Yet, it still hurts to not feel supported at times. But God sustains us and urges us on.
This is a big year for my wife and I. From school being out to expecting our first little one in October, there are going to be big changes for us as a family. I don’t think that I have blogged about baby yet; my wife has done a good job of covering that :). Nevertheless, I am so very excited to be a Dad! It’s an awesome, humbling and exciting responsibility! Everyone asked me yesterday what I was going to do next now that I graduated. I confess I did tell a few people that I was going to Disney World…but I’m not really going, which is rather disappointing. Mostly what I told everyone is that I am planning to pray; to pray for direction, for opportunities, for open doors and for God’s blessing. There are things stirring in my spirit about what I think I may see for the future, but I need to discern if these things are from God.
Until next time…