By the grace and imagination of God alone: December 10, 2010, I graduated with my Masters in Christian Education (discipleship really) from Asbury Theological Seminary.
It was a cold day in Kentucky, but a relaxed morning with some meaningful fellowship and important messages. I had time to connect and talk with some of my fellow CE classmates during rehearsal and entered into a sacred moment of communion with all my fellow graduates. The speaker at our commencement, Rev. Adrian DeVisser (a Lausanne International Deputy for South Asia), reminded me that to do ministry in the name of Christ is simply to be incarnational among His sheep and to practice grace followed by truth. This squelched a rush of concerns that I'd forgotten all I'd learned or that I'd never be prepared enough to lead people further into relationship with God. The most significant part of the ceremony came, though, with the "Affirmation and Commitment" to the "Call to Ministry". Even after 2 years of study, I have a deep doubt that God has any real purpose for my life or that He will use me to minister. He had me cornered here, though. I had to affirm this question:
"Do you affirm in the presence of this company that you have heard God's call to a vocation of ministry; that you have tested that call in reflection and ministry; and that you now stand ready to take further steps of faithful service and mission?"
I couldn't deny that study, reflection, mentored ministry, and the comments and encouragements of my professors furthered affirmed a call to ministry that I've often wondered about. I have a long way to go in discovering and finding confidence in my giftings, but I feel have more knowledge, resources, and experiences from my Seminary time that will assist me in future relationships and work.
I have many people to thanks. Most of all, Keith who has encouraged me to study and affirm a call to ministry despite my many doubts and anxieties. And my little Claire who has allowed me to be absent at times, crabby at others, and preoccupied with studies in her early years.
Second, though, I need to thanks the admirable and generous women who watched Claire while I studied and gave her the love she needed in my absence: Tricia Smith, Amberly Strebeck, and Autumn Logan. When I wonder if it really melded with God's plan for me to attend seminary, just remembering His abundant provision through these women and others in our community reminds me that He indeed called me to study and prepare in this season of life.
A long two and a half years of studying + mommying has finally come to an end. It feels good. It will feel really good once we are back in Wilmore after the holidays and I no longer have the burden of homework and deadlines. Yet, I'm not sure quite what to do with myself. What should I read? What should I think about? What do I do with all that I've learned? What is waiting for the Jagger family come March with the new baby and come June with our move beyond the reaches of Wilmore and Asbury Seminary?
Speaking of Wilmore days and Seminary nights- Oddly enough, Dec. 10 was also the day that the Seminary finally decided to tear down Broadhurst manor- the first place Keith and I lived as a married couple when we came to Wilmore. Not sure the symbolism here, but for Lance, Lacey, Melody, and many others who were not here for this special moment of musty cement, coves of mold, and cockroach hotels facing their demise- we have a picture!
For now, I am enjoying the mounds of snow and blizzardly winds of northern Illinois and Wisconsin. Side note. Claire asked why they put "pepper" on the road when it snows:) She did correct herself a few moments later by saying she meant "salt", but it was just too cute. We also stopped over in Louisville and stayed at the elegant Galt House hotel as a family celebration for graduation. We not only spent time admiring the Gingerbread Village the hotel had on display, but we also enjoyed the Louisville Science Center and Imax theater together.
Cheers for a Christmas break that includes NO homework and will climax with the wedding of my beautiful friend Lori Hofmeister to her Scottish groom! Stay tuned for pictures of my huge belly squished into a blue bridesmaid dress (Keith says I look like an actual blueberry) and little Claire bear shyly walking down the aisle as the flower girl...