So I have been at seminary for about week and I would like to share my experience thus far. I have moved to a place that is seven hours from home and this is also the first time I am living in a different state than home. That being said I knew the transition would not be easy. One of my favorite Psalms is one that is traditionally used at funerals; Psalm 23 and my favorite part is verse four. I quote in KJV because it sounds epic in Old English
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”
Psalm 23 for me at least has always been a guiding light in my life, not to say that seminary is the valley of the shadow of death, although for some it is where their faith comes to die. My point is that I know that God has called me here to Michigan away from all my comforts of familiarity. God is here with me and that has helped me through this week of transition. You are probably wondering about what has happened to me thus far.
I have felt more welcomed here than ever before in my life; people have invited me into their homes, lives, and families blessing me with more fellowship, food, and fun than I deserve. People have graciously taken me boating, to the beach, and gotten me ice cream. I have been moved to the brink of tears by the level of hospitality and love people have shown me; it has been a truly humbling experience. I have felt alone in crowded rooms of professors, seminarians, and the like. On the flip side I have felt deep fellowship whilst alone in my room praying to God. I have felt qualified and completely out of my league among my peers. I have felt great hope for the future of the church by getting to know those whom will lead it in the coming years. I have also been deeply troubled by the same lot mostly because I am among them. I have moved into a living situation with a cognitively impaired adult which has challenged me but has provided with my deepest laughs. I have cried tears of joy and praise and cried tears of fear and longing for the familiar. God has given me a small taste of what Abraham must have felt following his call. A great preacher, pastor, mentor, and most importantly a great friend once told me “feelings are fickle”. Meaning our faith cannot be based on our feelings because if it is we will be like the rocky soil and be scorched when the going gets tough (Matthew 13:1-9). Wading through the waters of this week I have seen that I must fix my eyes on the Lord so that the waves of my emotions and feelings don’t drown me.
One such way for me has been to take the advice of a book titled How to Stay Christian in Seminary; which is to write a mission statement and to post all over. I think this is great advice for any and all Christians, what is the mission statement of your life? What word or phrase to you come back to when times get hard to remind you why we as Christians press on? It can be a passage from the Bible or it can be handcrafted; but once you have it hang it up to remind yourself why you are here on this planet. You can even use mine but remember feelings are fickle, lean on Jesus.
My Mission Statement is…
To spread the love of God to a broken people wherever we may be so that they can know God and together we can bring honor and glory to his name.