Seminary or Cemetery: I get it now

When I decided to pack up my car and move away from my vibrant community at a gracious organization that let me try and fail in order to live out my passions…I didn’t realize exactly what I was doing. “It’s exciting and unknown,” I thought.

When I applied for seminary so I could be better equipped to teach the Bible and found out that I was accepted while sweating my face off in India…I didn’t realize exactly how much I’d miss that life I was living.

After three years and five months, I will be officially finished with seminary and walking away with an Mdiv in one hand and a lot of obscurity and disappointment in the other hand. To be clear, I don’t regret anything. I wouldn’t go back and change any of it. But what I didn’t realize four years ago was that I was about to follow God into one of the most difficult journeys of my life so far and I was not prepared for it.

This journey hasn’t been difficult because of all the reading or the papers or the tests or the grades. It’s been difficult because as I look back at the woman who embarked on a new path with high hopes, wild passion, and fierce ambition…I can’t recognize her anymore and I don’t even know where to find her. So much feels lost, shredded, demolished and what is left is an empty shell. Something inside of me died while I was in seminary and the loss is grievous. The emotions pile high when I realize that I can’t go back to who I was before and I can’t become ignorant again.

But my hope is this: my God is a God of resurrection. my God is a God that makes all things new and breathes life into a valley of death filled with cracked and dry bones. I am assured and confident that this is not the end and that God is not finished. I even find hope in the fact that God is not surprised or worried by my condition. I find peace in knowing that God is not a passive observer watching me drown but is actively tilling, watering, pruning and caring for the garden of my soul.

Again, I want to emphasize that I do not regret the last 3.5 years. I just didn’t know what I was getting into. It’s like watching a movie and knowing about the coming struggle before the characters, screaming at the screen pleading with them to turn around or make a different choice. We all want to avoid the struggle if possible. We all imagine and hope for an idyllic pain-free life, even though we know the chances of going through life unscathed are slim.

Whether you follow God or not, life will be hard at times. Whether you live for yourself or live for God, the chances for pain and struggle are still high. The difference is that with God, nothing stays dead and nothing is wasted. There is hope for resurrection and new creation. The power of life and making something out of nothing is not found in myself or my achievements – but in God.

So I continue to put one foot in front of the other and take one step at a time. Where is God calling me? I don’t know. What am I passionate about? I’m not so sure right now. But in all things, God is faithful to me and I know that I can trust the daily guidance of the Holy Spirit. One day at a time, the joy of my salvation will be restored to me and passion will begin to bubble up again. Living water will gush forth and I will be satisfied.


11 thoughts on “Seminary or Cemetery: I get it now

  1. I love you, as do many others. We will always be there for you. Whether you know your way or not!

  2. Bethany!
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Entering the final semester of my own seminary journey, I found myself saying “Me too!” To much of this blog…. it’s almost scary. I loved your line, ” The difference is with God nothing stays dead and nothing is wasted.” Amen. Thanks for sharing. I am and will be praying for you in this season. Let me know if you would like to talk more about this because I would be happy to.

  3. Very well written, Bethany. As I think back on my own life, there were many hills and valleys. However, I can’t remember a time God didn’t come to my rescue and show me which direction to go. I have no doubt He will do the same for you. Everything just seems to fall into place…… as “in everything there is a season.” Love you very much. Nana

  4. I remember a professor at seminary saying some people come in a Christian and leave atheist. I’m glad it wasn’t that dramatic for you. However, I’d love to hear more about the changes/what you feel you’ve lost.

  5. Haha yeah I definitely didn’t become an atheist but my faith has been tested and challenged quite a bit. Thankfully, it’s made me stronger and a little more humble…realizing how little I know and how mysterious the divine really is. Thanks Shida! Miss your wise soul!! 🙂

  6. Hey sis Isaiah 58:11-12 Abs Isiah 43:19-21 come to mind, as well at the story of dry bones in Ezekiel. I pray God soeaksbto you through these. I’ve been on a similar road as you have been (just flip lol the order) and even though it’s not easy, sometimes the higher the calling the higher the refinement, as you know, he takes us through the fire and we come out brighter. You have such a powerful calling on your life and this is truly just the beginning. Just because something was, doesn’t mean something is or will be that way in other areas or chapters of our stories, God tskes is through seasons and peaks and valleys, I’m excited for your next season and for him to use you powerfully to be the change that this world needs in his church and in this life! He is with you and is faithful to complete what He has started in you – Philippians 1:6 and Psalm 57:2

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