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Pathway, part III

Lots of students that I have met through student ministry ask me about seminary because they think it is only for pastoral training. They wonder what a girl does in seminary! I enjoy getting to share that with those ladies praying about what job God has for them that there are many unique types of ministry. Maybe you will serve as a missionary in a secular job where people are needed to shine the light of Jesus into the darkness. If you are looking into serving in a ministry vocationally, I hope I can be an encouragement to you too.

Mostly because my friends’ influence, I took lots of opportunities to work in missions in college. Baptist Campus Ministries sent out teams most weekends to local churches to organize disciple weekends, True Love Waits Weekends, children’s programs, and student worship services. I loved the road trips, friends, and late-night trips to Wendy’s. Who knew a dollar frosty could taste so good? Whether going into ministry as a “job” or not, take advantage of opportunities to serve where you are!

Each summer of college was a different type of ministry experience. After freshman year, loving the freedom and independence of college, I must admit I did not want to go home for the summer. I love my family but I love going and doing, so I applied with the North American Mission Board and worked in Detroit, Michigan with a bi-vocational pastor and family. We worked in a trailer park with children and their parents and did church in a strip mall. We served ice cream to the children each day, so who seriously could not have fun doing that?

The next summer, I worked as an intern at a church in Louisville, Kentucky. They put me to work with children’s camp, VBS, middle school events, family missions, and even let me organize a cheerleading camp for elementary school girls! The leaders I worked with left an impact on my life as I saw how much they loved each other and cared about people.

The following three summers, I worked Centri-Kid camp as a Bible study leader and track time leader. I have never worked so hard in my life, but after one summer, I would seriously do camp every day of my life. I learned to do everything with excellence and met amazing friends. Watching individual children learn about Christ, talking to them about God, and even comforting homesick babies changed my life and once again, helped me learn to love people.

After I graduated from college in 2006, I knew if I did not attend seminary then, I probably never would. I moved home to Nashville, Tenn. to work and make some money that fall. Graduating from college is a huge transition that I was not prepared for. I knew I was making money for seminary, but I saw friends who had full time jobs and I’m at Chick-fil-A like “Is this for dine in or carry out?” I also worked at Victoria’s Secret to pay for seminary! I actually had really good conversations about Jesus with the girls I worked with there. One night at closing, while folding panties on the floor with a girl who did not think God could love her after stuff she had done. I had the privilege to tell her He certainly DOES! The days were long, opening at the good old CFA and closing at the mall. Some days I wanted to quit, after rude customers, back aches, and tired feet, but I was determined to make it to seminary.

I began Southwestern Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas in January 2007. Entering seminary, I thought about studying counseling, but after a meeting, the professors scared me as they explained how difficult the program was, so I changed to Christian Education to focus on girls ministry. I met wonderful friends in the girls dorm, ran from some tornadoes, and participated in Youth Lab on campus. I realized that there are not many paying jobs for girls ministry, so I eventually switched back to counseling, which had paying jobs. A girl’s gotta eat, right?

After getting married, we attended Southern Seminary in Louisvlle, Kentucky. Broke as a joke, but learning a lot, we each worked at least three jobs and went to school. Baby-sitting, lifeguarding, coaching cheerleading, parking cars for Nascar races, and working the Kentucky Derby paid the bills. Woohoo! The Derby was seriously a cool job, though.

We ended up moving once more time to Kansas City, Missouri to attend Midwestern Seminary, where we both graduated in 2010. They had an excellent counseling program with state licensure, so we moved there without jobs and had faith God would provide. He did provide monetarily, and we graduated in 2010 working only one job each!

God allowed opportunities for growing in leadership there, writing for the seminary magazine, and a counseling internship at a crisis pregnancy resource center. Girls ministry and counseling are what I am most passionate about and I was able to do both at Rachel House. My counseling professors were encouraging and excellent counselors themselves. I knew sitting in their classes that was God’s plan for me. We were incredibly blessed with compassionate professors and kind bosses, as we both worked on campus and lived on campus. After being broke for so long, I felt like big stuff in the “treehouse” I called our apartment there.

At the end of seminary, I was still searching for the perfect blend of girls ministry and counseling. I knew that God had and still has it all under control. It was admittedly tough many times through the three years. I questioned if I should even be a seminary student and if it would be worth it. Throughout seminary I was still searching for God’s direction and it is not always clear, but a matter of taking small steps of faith as He leads us to where we can look back and see His big picture. I still am searching for what God has for me, and I do not have all the answers. I do know that I am glad I chose to follow God through seminary, and despite hardships, choosing His plan, even when it is difficult.

It may take time to see what God’s plan is, but faith is taking those small steps. It is following Him as He leads, even when the pace is slow. It may not even make sense. Do not let the enemy put discontentment and discouragement into your life. Don’t do it! When it is tough, remember God’s faithfulness in the past and keep going. As long as we are here on earth, “We walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7).

We made pumpkin and leaf cookies today and there is some chocolate icing left in the container, so I am going to finish that sweet goodness.

Y’all have a great day! Talk to you soon, friends!



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