Pages Menu
TwitterFacebook
Categories Menu

Posted on Mar 16, 2010 in Before Marriage Blog, Spiritual Life | 7 comments

The Blank Canvas

The Blank Canvas

Does God have a plan for your life?  Are you one of the special ones for whom He has set out a purpose?  Or are you just wandering through life, a background person in the lives of those who are special and called of God?

My pastor tells us often that God has given each of us a “vocation” – a sense of calling that pushes us to do things because we’re made to carry out a certain mission, even when those things don’t make sense to others.  Writers may not ever make any money or have stability, but they must write their thoughts down.  It’s in their bones and they can’t exist any other way.  An engineer must figure out how to make things run better.  It’s just the way it is.  But I talk to many people who don’t feel a sense of calling, who don’t feel there’s something they simply must do.

When I went to seminary, the leaders of my school realized that if we didn’t know ourselves, we could never know others.  Since pastors primarily work with people, they required us to get to know ourselves.  We took assessments and went through steps and read books.  We learned our personality and temperament, our work style, the role we most often play in a group, our strengths and weaknesses, and more.  I learned a lot about who God has created me to be while I was there.  I learned that it’s more valuable to improve our areas of strength and be the best (an expert) in one thing, than it is to be a well-rounded person who can do most things decently.

When I meet people who don’t feel they have a sense of calling, my assumption has been that they don’t know themselves well enough.  They haven’t submitted themselves to the battery of tests, to self-assessment, and to significant prayer time on the matter.  (I spent years in prayer and regular fasting before God finally told me to go to seminary and then it took three years until it was actually time to go.  But I didn’t give up.  I just kept asking Him what to do and where to go until He finally answered me.)

But last week I went to hear Donald Miller, a popular author, speak and he said something that stunned me.  He said he doesn’t believe God has a specific plan for most people’s lives.  He said it isn’t a biblical concept.  He said God has a specific plan for some people’s lives, but it’s a small percentage of people.  He said he believes that when we’re born, we have a big, blank canvas in front of us with lots of colors to choose from and we make our own design on it.  That’s God’s gift to us – our free will – and our lives are our own to shape and design.

That is a hard thing to hear for someone who has submitted herself to total obedience and is waiting for God to give me direction on the next steps in my life.  I believe God does have a specific path I am to walk and that my success in the Kingdom of God depends on my obedience.  I believe I can live a life of frustration and fear, as I have in the past when I wasn’t obeying God in all things, or a life of victory and joy through total obedience.  But if God doesn’t have a specific plan for my life, then who am I obeying?  Is it possible that I am painting my own canvas and obeying my own desires?

My mind has been whirling with these thoughts.  As I went back over my life, I realized that there are a few times when I have known beyond a shadow of a doubt that God has spoken to me clearly regarding the direction of my life.  At times I obeyed right away and other times I allowed misery to overtake my life before I submitted.  I can look at the results of those times to convince myself, if no one else, that I had heard from God.

  1. God told me to move to Nashville, TN.  I obeyed and am very thankful.
  2. God told me not to date the sociopath, but I didn’t know why He was telling me that because the guy seemed great, so I ignored Him for a year, which led to misery.
  3. God told me to go to Regent University to seminary.  It was one of the best things I’ve ever done.
  4. God told me to wait for a ministry position after I graduated and to turn down the secular jobs offered to me.  I obeyed and am thankful.

When I look at those things, those very specific things, it’s hard for me to imagine that God doesn’t have SOME kind of plan for my life.  All of them were hard.  At the time, they were all much bigger things than I could do on my own, or even wanted to do.  I know they are things I didn’t make up on my own.

Once I got to Nashville, I didn’t feel any specific calling about where to work or go to church.  I think it’s possible that it didn’t really matter and God could work with whatever I decided.  Or it’s possible that He was guiding my every step and didn’t need to give me a thundering word of direction because I was stumbling upon His will without it.  I can think of many times in my life where that’s been the case.  I made the best decision I could make, given the information I had, and God has used it.

I suppose it’s possible that I am one of the few people (in Donald Miller’s concept) who God does have a specific plan for.  But that seems like a terribly arrogant thought.  I don’t really buy into the concept that I’m special.  I think it’s narcissistic.  It seems much more reasonable to me that God does have a plan for everyone’s lives and we have to learn to listen and obey.

I’m really struggling with this issue and would love to know what you think.  Here are a few Scriptures I found to support my point of view.  Is your opinion different?  Please post your comments below.

Proverbs 19:21 (Amplified Bible)
Many plans are in a man’s mind, but it is the Lord’s purpose for him that will stand.

Psalm 33:10
The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to naught; He makes the thoughts and plans of the peoples of no effect.

Isaiah 46:10-11
1
Declaring the end and the result from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure and purpose, calling a ravenous bird from the east–the man [Cyrus] who executes My counsel from a far country. Yes, I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass; I have purposed it, and I will do it.

Even though I have a different perspective from Donald Miller on this issue, he’s still one of my favorite authors.  I’d encourage you to check out any of his books.

 

Read More

Posted on Jan 14, 2010 in Before Marriage Blog, Spiritual Life | 5 comments

Depression

Depression

I dealt with depression for the first time when I was fifteen.  To be perfectly honest, it started because I felt so guilty.  I had snuck outside after all parents were asleep to make out with the visiting missionary’s older, wild, green-eyed son when they stayed with us for a week on a fund-raising tour.  He tasted like smoke and his sister kept bugging us to stop.  (Definitely weird, but a good way to keep your purity…)  I felt so guilty for what I had done that I went into a depression that lasted for months, even making myself physically ill.  I listened to a Margaret Becker cassette tape non-stop, singing about how God wasn’t afraid of my honesty.  I didn’t know what was wrong with me and tried to smile and act normal around other people, but inside I felt dead.  God gave a prophetic word to a youth worker one night in Bible study and she prayed for me.  That night my illness went away along with the depression.  I felt like a wet, thick, heavy blanket fell off my shoulders.  That’s when I realized I’d been depressed. 

During my freshman year of college I lived in a girl’s dorm.  Horrible, unspeakable nightmares became a regular occurrence.  When I woke up in the morning, I was so upset and disgusted that I laid in bed, paralyzed, unable to face other people, unable to look in the mirror.  I spent many days in bed crying and worrying that something was deeply wrong with me.  I went to the college counselor and she was as wacky as anybody I’d ever met.  Among other things, before I’d talked for 15 minutes she told me that my parents were total crap and had done everything wrong.  I knew that my parents had done a pretty decent job and while not perfect, were definitely not total crap.  I never went back.  But I had a dull ache inside and didn’t know what to do to make it better.  I fell in love that summer and thought for sure that the ache would go away.  I was blissfully happy and sure that I’d be married soon, but even then I knew something was terribly wrong inside.

When the boy I was blissfully happy dating dumped me, the dull ache became a seething wound.  I worked at a Tex-Mex restaurant and most of my memory of that year involves all the food I ate.  After eating an early dinner, I’d work for five hours, forget the dinner I already ate and eat again.  Fast food and Tex-Mex did it’s work quickly and within a year I gained 50 pounds.  I listened to country music and cried nearly every moment I was alone.  My parents tried to talk to me, but they assumed I was so upset about the break up because we must have had sex.  Their suggestion offended me because it insinuated that I shouldn’t be that upset if I hadn’t had sex.  Not that I would tell them, but I was still a virgin.  I was a mess and the heart-break was the only thing I knew to cry about, but I was crying for the dull ache and the fifteen year old girl and other things I had no way to understand at that point.  The wet, thick, heavy blanket was back with a vengeance. 

Somehow I managed to graduate from college within the expected four-year time period.  I’m still not sure how I did that.  I’d graduated high school near the top of my class and in college lost my academic scholarship and feared I might not graduate because you had to have a cumulative 2.5 GPA.  I think mine might have been a 2.6?  I knew something in my life had to change, so I moved to Nashville after college to pursue music and book publishing. 

By the grace of God, I ended up at a church that had a full-service counseling center for their members.  My sweet aunt, a psychiatric nurse, listened to my woes and expressed her concern.  She suggested I get professional help.  I was skittish after my one and only experience with a counselor, but since the church fees were income-based, I decided to give it a try.  The counselor faxed me a form to fill out before I came in.  The form requested all kinds of personal information and at the very top it said something to the effect of, “If you want counseling to work, be honest.  If you aren’t honest, we can’t help you.”  Cringing, I filled the form out honestly and faxed it back.  I remembered that statement and decided I was going to do it right.  But for safety, one of my first statements to my counselor went something like this:  “I come from a very good, Christian home.  My parents are just about perfect.  They did a good job with me, taught me the Word, and I love them very deeply.  Whatever is wrong with me is not their fault.”

That was the beginning of six years of counseling.  This counselor was a gift from God – down to earth, honest, and extremely talented.  Those sessions absolutely changed my life.  It was hard work, but I got to the root of my depression and was able to work through it.  The seething wound, which had begun to heal a bit with time, cleared up. 

I had one more bout with depression near the end of those six years when the man whose engagement ring I wore decided he wanted to date indefinitely.  He wasn’t ready to get married after all.  I started having a hard time getting out of bed in the morning and my jaw ached all the time because I constantly clenched my teeth.  My lovely counselor told me about something called an anti-depressant and my primary care physician gave me a six-month supply of samples. 

I was still sad and I still cried, but my sadness became manageable.  I could get out of bed and get my job done and maintain my friendships.  The side effects were fairly mild – sleepiness and a foggy memory.  It wasn’t bad, but I noticed at times I couldn’t recall the word I needed or it took me a little longer to figure out simple math.  I took it for six months, as my doctor and counselor suggested, and then I quit.  I felt like I could handle it at that point.  My grandfather passed away within a week of going off it, but even with that I had a normal level of grief.

I found out during my next doctor’s visit that it’s dangerous to go off those drugs cold-turkey.  You’re supposed to wean off them.  Not doing so can cause serious side-effects.  My doctor freaked out when I told him.  Thankfully I never experienced any problems.

A few years later when I was in seminary, I had another dark time.  I was sad and didn’t know why.  I did much soul-searching and wore out a good friend who is a therapist with questions and discussions.  I got to the bottom of the problem pretty quickly and dealt with it.  When I talked to my dad about it a few weeks after the darkness lifted, he said with compassion, “Oh Kimberly, it’s February.”  Huh?  He explained that the days are shortest in February, it’s cold and it’s been cold for a while, and the fun of the holidays has worn off, so many people get down in February.  Who knew?  My problem wasn’t simply the time of year, but that probably didn’t help.  Ever since then I’ve been on the look out for that wretched month and do my best to schedule fun, invigorating things then to ward off the blues. 

I read something in the book Hiding from Love by Dr. John Townsend a few years ago that has really helped my outlook on depression.  He basically wrote that depression is what happens when we get sad and can’t process the feelings.  Instead of dealing with the sadness, we get stuck, and that is depression.  Sadness is the antidote for depression.  When bad things happen, it’s normal to feel sad about them.  If we allow ourselves to feel the sadness and deal with it, then we move through it and return to normal.  When we don’t deal with it, we get depressed.   Sadness is a temporary, difficult feeling; depression is a black swirling hole of muck that tries to suck you in and hold you down. 

I had some sadness to deal with, but my experience of the world and normal human relationships was so limited that I didn’t know sadness was the correct feeling.  I acted like everything was normal and told myself I was fine.  But I needed to feel sadness so I could move on.  Instead I felt like the swirling black muck might suck me under.  My counselor helped me understand the way things happen in normal, healthy relationships and then helped me face the unhealthy, abnormal things I had experienced.  I got sad (and angry) for a while, but then I moved on.  I was able to forgive when I understood that my circumstances required some forgiveness and it was okay to acknowledge that fact.  In my case, the anti-depressant helped me function while I worked through some extremely sad and angry feelings.  Without it I’m not sure how I could have kept going to work and interacting with others.  I was thankful for it. 

Since reading that information, I have learned to allow myself to feel sadness when sad things happen.  I don’t like to cry because I really hate the cry “hangover” – pounding headache, puffy eyes, splotchy face, and blurry vision.  I also tend to think I’m strong enough to handle hard things and keep on going.  It’s hard to stop and let myself feel the sadness, to cry or scream or punch something.  But crying releases the stress and washes away the pain, so I allow myself to cry with a cold wash cloth and 2 Advil.  It helps.  And I allow myself to rest when I recognize that I’m in a stressful situation.  Oh, and I also exercise.  Boxing is really good to get out anger and long walks are good for clearing the head.  Long walks often help me to stop the tape playing repetitively in my head trying to make sense of something I don’t understand. 

The summer of 2009 was blissfully happy.  There was no underlying ache.  Life was simply good.  My relationship with God was thriving.  My job responsibilities brought me joy.  I had a lot of time with my incredible friends.  I even had a personal trainer.  I remembered when I got glasses in elementary school.  I hadn’t known how clear the world could look until it was suddenly clear and I realized how fuzzy it had been.  I hadn’t realized that some people go through most of their lives with this kind of clarity.  I savored it while it lasted.  The bliss faded as the temporary circumstances I was enjoying came to an end.  It was amazing while it lasted and I look forward to more times like that in the future.  Now that I know that it’s possible, I’m on the lookout for it. 

I know it’s not always that easy, but it’s my hope that throughout the rest of my life I’ll continue to learn and practice more effective ways of dealing with sadness and moving through it.  I hope I never have depression again.  I hope I never take an anti-depressant again.  But if something devastating happens and I’m struggling to get out of bed and take a shower, I’ll go back on them to get through the rough patch.  But if there is a next time, I promise to wean myself off them slowly.

I feel that it’s important to mention in closing that my experience is quite different from many people I have spoken with over the years.  I’m grateful that my depression has been treatable and manageable.  Unlike many others, I responded well to the first drug I was given.  The resources that were available to me to get the help I needed were priceless.  If you do not struggle with depression but know someone who does, I beg you not to tell them they simply need to pray more or should snap out of it.  If you feel it’s an issue of prayer, then YOU pray for them more.  If you feel they need to snap out of it, then be their friend and help them laugh and lighten their load in any way you can.  But please do not place a heavier burden on them then they already carry.  They would snap out of it if they could.  If they had the energy to pray more, they actually might.  Help them carry their burden and vent your frustrations to God.  That’s just my two cents, but of course this is my blog so you know that.  Thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts all the way to the end of this very long entry.  I welcome your comments.

Read More

Posted on Sep 11, 2009 in Before Marriage Blog, Spiritual Life | 4 comments

You Know You’re a Grown Up When…

When I first moved to Nashville at the age of twenty-two, I thought I was pretty grown up.  I had lived in an apartment for a couple years, graduated from college, and even worked a full-time job over the summer.  But I was really only a half-cooked grown up.  I struggled to go to work every day, seriously missing the ability to skip class when I felt like it.  I called in sick to work on a regular basis when I just didn’t want to get out of bed.  I had a boyfriend who took me on nice dates nearly every weekend where we got dressed up and ate at the best restaurants in town, but we had little to say to one another because we had nothing in common.  I went to church once every two to three weeks, exerting my independence after growing up in a house where I had to be there every time the doors were open. 

And then one night a friend sat on my couch and sobbed, telling me that she had caught her husband cheating on her.  They’d been married for less than six months.  My heart broke for her.  I remember thinking, this is grown up stuff.  I had no idea what to tell her.  She was MARRIED.  If this had been her boyfriend, I wouldn’t have any trouble telling her to leave him.  But he was her husband.  She had joined her life with his till death. 

I know many people who have been divorced, but a few years ago I had a good friend who decided to divorce her husband.  They had children.  It was a very messy thing and I got deeply involved in the situation.  There were lawyers and private investigators and recording devices and police…  I can’t remember how many times I thought, now I’m a grown up.  (Note to self…  NEVER GET A DIVORCE.) 

My younger brother is now twenty-three years old.  He is learning what it means to be a grown up.  He raced his motorcycle on some big race track in Atlanta last weekend, going speeds up to 155 mph.  It scared me to hear what he did, but he was thrilled.  He said that day at the race track separated the men from the boys.  He is now a man.  I smiled, realizing that this was one of those experiences for him where he said, Now I’m a grown up.

Several years ago two beloved young adults in our church died in a car accident.  It was horrible.  We all sat around for a while staring at one another in shock.  We looked to our senior pastor to know what to do.  I’ll never forget when he looked back at us and said,
     “You all think I should know what to do, but I go behind closed doors with other leaders of this church and we run around with our hands in the air asking, What do we do?!  We are clueless too.” 
He was having a moment, well into his fifties, when he realized that he’s a grown up. 

Recently I’ve had to make some very grown up decisions, walk others who are older and more experienced than me through difficult things that they could not objectively understand.  My adrenaline was pumping and I was able to handle the situation with confidence.  When the day was over, I couldn’t decide if I should curl up on the couch, go punch a boxing bag, or find some sweet, innocent children to play with for a while.  Being a grown up is harder than it looks.    

I guess we all go through those times in life when we are in a new situation and it’s truly challenging and the answers aren’t clear.  As children, we thought our parents and the other adults knew what to do.  Sometimes they did, but many times they didn’t.  We are still looking to the generation(s) above us to know the answers, even in situations that are new to them.  It seems like part of the growing up process to recognize that there are situations when even the most experienced and wise want to throw their hands up and run around because they don’t know what to do.  Sometimes being a grown up means that you evaluate the situation and make the best choice possible given the information you have and you pray to God that it’s the right thing to do.  And if possible, you go home after that, curl up on the couch, and let the tears come.

Read More

Posted on Jul 2, 2009 in Before Marriage Blog, Spiritual Life | 2 comments

And So the Story Goes, Part 5

In spite of my big award, I did not yet have a job to go to upon graduation.  I had been job hunting since the beginning of the year with all the skills I had learned and my beautiful résumé.  I was saddened to find that many ministry job postings literally said things like “the ideal candidate for this job is male and married.”  I wanted to be a Small Groups Pastor and applied for those types of positions, but didn’t even get an interview for one.  In spite of the fact that I grew up in church offices and had extensive volunteer church experience, I had never worked on a church staff and that was another black mark against me.  Young, single, female, and inexperienced, I was not anyone’s ideal candidate.

I was completely open to go anywhere God called me to go.  I applied for jobs all over the country and considered overseas missions work.  I still really wanted to return to Nashville, but I had learned my lesson about telling God what I would and would not do.  I didn’t even ask Him if I could go back to Nashville.  I just kept looking everywhere I could. 

Moses and I moved in with my sister and her husband for a few weeks, but they were newlyweds and not excited about my cat, so I knew I needed to find another temporary place to stay.  My old roommate in Nashville was going out of town for the summer and offered to let me and Moses stay at her house while she was gone, rent free.  In fact, she offered to let us stay with her until I found a permanent position.  I missed my friends and my church in Nashville, so I decided to go back and enjoy my time there for as long as I could. 

I had done an internship at my church in Nashville the summer before with the Director of Women’s Ministries.  She had supported me during seminary by allowing me to interview her for course work, praying for me, and staying in touch.  When I did my internship with her, I had a tiny office in a far corner away from the rest of the church staff.  Any hopes I had of impressing the senior pastor or other church leaders were quickly dashed.  I spent four weeks there and never saw the senior pastor one time outside of the pulpit on Sunday mornings.  I worked closely with the Women’s Director during that time and I learned a lot from her.  She mentioned wanting to hire me, but explained that she could not get an additional position approved. 

When I returned to Nashville during the summer of 2006, she took me aside and told me that God had granted her favor with the church leadership and she thought it was possible that she could get me a job in Women’s Ministries at the church.  I didn’t really want to work in Women’s Ministries and questioned the type of job it would be, but she was insistent.  I seriously doubted that it would work out and didn’t put too much faith in what she said.  She asked me to have patience with her.

I found out several months later that she and the widowed senior pastor had become romantically involved!  I was shocked at the news and didn’t believe it at first, except it explained why she suddenly had favor with the church leadership.  Over a period of several months, it became clear that she and the senior pastor would get married and she would eventually need to be free from her current position.  The story is long and convoluted, but in essence, here is what happened:  In December, 2006, I was hired to help the transition go smoothly and in January of 2007, I became the Director of Women’s Ministries. 

In July of 2008, the senior pastor retired and the associate pastor took over his position.  The staff was reorganized and I became the Community Groups Minister.  I still maintained my position with Women’s Ministries, but have also been working to build a small groups ministry in the church since that time. 

In addition, a member of one of the women’s Bible studies that I led last summer turned out to be the head of a Christian publishing house in town.  She contacted me to write articles for a book series she publishes.  Through that relationship, I’ve now had the privilege of being published twice and am working on a third article for the latest book.  She also gave me a part time job as a contributing editor.  My dream of becoming a published author has already come true. 

When I consider what God has done for me – allowing me to return to the place I love, allowing me to work with small groups and create a new ministry, giving me a wonderful church home, and so much more – I stand in awe.  Life is not perfect, but I am blessed. 

Many difficult and troubling things have also happened during the years I have just finished describing, but this is my testimony of the good things God has done for me.  My life is not charmed, and God has tested me many times along the way.  I have often been frustrated, sad, hopeless, and felt very alone.  But this one thing I know – I purposed in my heart to be obedient to God and to give Him all that I have.  In return, He has given me tremendous blessings. 

God has not yet provided a husband for me, but He has filled my life to overflowing with the best of friends and a true church family.  He has taught me that He is the lover of my soul.  He is the One who truly satisfies.  No human love could ever bring me peace and joy like the love I feel from Him.  I have peace, knowing that God will continue to provide for me and make a way where there seems to be no way.  On this day, June 29, 2009, I am not dating anyone.  I am, however, completely wrapped up in my relationship with Jesus Christ.  Any man who wants to come into my life in that way will have to be so full of God that together we are better than we could be apart.

Read More

Posted on Jun 25, 2009 in Before Marriage Blog, Spiritual Life | 2 comments

And So The Story Goes, Part 2

Three years earlier I had gone through a time of intense prayer and fasting to determine what future God had for me.  I felt God speak to me very clearly that I was to go to seminary because He was calling me to full-time ministry.  This thought had never occurred to me before and it took some time to wrap my mind around it.  The school I was interested in had a distance education program, so I assumed that was the way I was to attend there.  I would not consider leaving Nashville. 

My job required me to travel extensively and I was often out of town Tuesday through Saturday for weeks on end.  With the hours I worked and the demands of travel, I wasn’t able to focus on school work.  I spent several years applying for other jobs, trying to find something that would pay a little more so I could afford school and stay in town.  With nearly every job opening, I made it to the final cut only to lose the job to someone else.  It was very frustrating and I couldn’t figure out what God was doing.  When I got engaged, I truly hoped that we would go to seminary together, which made a lot more sense to me than going as an unmarried female. 

When my engagement ended and everything else fell apart, I knew that God was telling me to GO to seminary – in Virginia Beach.  He was going to get me there, even if He had to kick me out of Nashville by force.  We moved around a lot while I was growing up: I went to 2 elementary schools, 2 middle schools, and 2 high schools – and then I changed colleges three times in four years.  All this transition made stability and security very important to me.  I don’t like to move.  I wanted to live in Nashville for the rest of my life.  Leaving didn’t appeal to me, except that I knew a change of scenery would probably do me some good. 

There was also the huge financial issue of going to school.  I still had debt from my undergraduate degree, plus credit card debt.  I’d worked hard to reduce it significantly, but it wasn’t gone.  I had no idea how I could pay for graduate school, but I applied anyway and prayed hard for financial aid.  I asked God to prove Himself and if He really wanted me to go, I would get a 100% scholarship.  The financial aid letter came back with news of a 20% grant.  I was beyond disappointed, but I knew the minute I read that letter that God was not releasing me from the call.  I had to go.  God led me to the book of Proverbs and showed me many times how Solomon commanded us to get knowledge, get wisdom, and get instruction – and that it was worth any price.  With fear and trembling, I decided to take out student loans.

One thing I had learned well in Nashville is, “It’s all about who you know.”  I knew our church’s senior pastor was friends with the dean of the school.  I tried to set up an appointment with the senior pastor to ask him to let his friend know I was coming to the school.  But our senior pastor was in the middle of writing a paper for Oxford and couldn’t meet with me.  I was devastated, but God reminded me that I knew Him and He is the One who opens and shuts doors. 

My mother and I scheduled a trip to Virginia Beach in July to check the area out and look for a roommate, housing, and a job.  The university hired writing coaches, so I applied for that job.  In the interview it came out that I was a professional meeting planner.  The person interviewing me stopped the interview and took me to meet her co-worker who was trying to hire a graduate assistant to help him plan student workshops.  My background and experience were perfect for what he needed and I got hired.  I was one of the only students who went to school with a job already lined up.  It was such an encouragement to me. 

Not only did that job suit me, but I was put in a cubicle in a large room with other people my age.  We all got along great and had a blast working together.  I used to go in on my days off just to say hi to the friends I worked with.  It also led to a secondary job as the newsletter editor for the university.  Almost everything about that job was a blessing to me and I relished the good atmosphere after what I had just left.  It was healing to my soul.

I had a hard time finding a place to live because housing is so expensive in Virginia Beach and my cat was not exactly a positive thing to perspective roommates.  I prayed and prayed about what to do, not wanting to leave Moses the kitty behind but unable to find a place to live.  Several days before I was to leave for school, I got a call from a woman who rented me a room in her house close to the school and let me bring Moses – all for a really good price. 

After being out of school for six years and struggling with severe depression in college, I was also terrified that grad school would be too hard for me.  I wondered if my brain still worked like it used to or if I’d have to study 2 or 3 times harder than everyone else.  I worried that my professors wouldn’t be interested in teaching a girl.  I was full of fear.  Thankfully I had a few friends who encouraged me and believed in me.  They listened faithfully and repeatedly told me that I could do it.  After all that God had already done to pave the way for me, two weeks before classes started I panicked and seriously considered not going after all.  Through the prayers and encouraging words from my friends, I finally accepted that this was the time I was to go and nothing was going to stop me.  Once my mind was made up, I dove in and gave it everything I had.

Read More
%d bloggers like this: