After 3 years in New York I graduated from Union Theological Seminary with my Master's in Divinity on May 16 of this year. It was a challenging journey, but one that produced in me all the things I needed, just as God had promised.
While the first year was full of wonder and exploration, the second was emotionally difficult, but the third and final year was a year of celebration with its culmination in actually graduating. Yet each year brought with its own benefit and challenge.
The first year was a year of opening up to a new way of being Christian. Being at a school with people of varying Christian traditions as well as faith traditions I was able to see that the way I had been taught to worship, think about my faith, and think about God was not the only way. That year I realized I'd unknowingly placed God in a box. It may sound strange, but I was actually glad to destroy the box and embrace God as mystery to be discovered not claimed.
At the end of the first year I experienced great heartache that left me emotionally wrecked. As I prayed through that experience I began to recognize my value as God's own, and I gained a sense of empowerment for my life. For years I had allowed life to make decisions for me, never fully being able to make decisions for myself based on my own desires. Seeking God for direction is absolutely necessary for one seeking to be the hands of God in the world, but too often I was crippled by the waiting for a word from God when sometimes all I needed to do was use God given wisdom. The second year I grew more confident as a person and as a leader. That year I learned to be myself.
Although the third year had its own challenges it was the year to walk in all that God had done the previous years and in that way to celebrate growth.
Now I am headed off to Japan through Lutheran Global Mission. I've been drawn to mission since my first year of college so I'm excited to have my first overseas mission assignment. In Japan I will be teaching english, assisting with leadership in a local church, and building relationships with my neighbors. Japan was ideal for me because although I was ready to go abroad I didn't feel emotionally ready to handle the challenges of an unstable country.
I leave for Japan in September. In the mean time I'll be at home in California. If you're in Cal and would like to meet up let me know. Until next time I leave you in the hands of the one who is able to keep you from falling.