Wednesday, October 14, 2015

More Guts to Stick With It

In the Fall of 2002, I began my seminary journey. From the moment I had stepped onto Wartburg's campus during a seminary tour that prior October, I knew that God was calling me there. In fact, I uttered the words "God wants me here!" I left that October day knowing that I would return the next fall to begin classes.

I spent the year at home living with my dad and saving up money for seminary. Then August arrived. I packed up my car and headed for Dubuque, Iowa. After a few days of driving, I finally arrived in Dubuque and began the seminary journey.

I knew that I did not want to be an ordained pastor, but was not exactly sure what God was calling me to do and be. The first days of seminary I found myself holding back and taking in every class. I eventually also heard the call to Diaconal Ministry; "word and service" ministry.

One day, I decided to speak up and was immediately shot down by another classmate. (This person later apologized and became one of my best friends at seminary). From that day on, I was very quiet and just sat and listened through my classes.

Seminary was not an easy journey at all for me. I struggled immensely with my classes. There were days I truly questioned if I had heard God right. I took systematic theology not once, not twice, but three times. God's grace finally arrived to me in the form of a seminary professor who realized that I was an auditory learner. After failing Systematic theology twice, he took a new approach with me. We decided to do the class as an independent study. We would record our conversations, then I would go back and listen to the lecture, and return with my new questions. It was because of this ingenious idea and God's grace that I finally passed that class.

I could have easily given up, but I didn't. I stuck with it. In fact, God's grace came to me in the form of my seminary advisor as well. In my endorsement interview, the committee asked me why I struggled so much with the classes at seminary. I was honest and did my best to answer them. Then my seminary advisor piped up and said "It would have been so easy for Tara to walk out the door, shut the door, and never look back. It takes more guts to stick with it." Oh how true those words are!

And as I look back, I see the hand of God's grace all over my seminary experience. I see God's grace in my classmates and friends who walked that journey with me. I see God's grace in my seminary professor who helped me pass Systematic Theology. I see God's grace in my seminary advisor who supported me and reminded me again and again that it takes more guts to stick with it. I see God's grace in my seminary graduation.

My seminary journey definitely was filled with God's grace and did not leave it where it found me. It is a daily reminder to me of the visibility of an often invisible God. Throughout seminary, God often seemed invisible, but the truth is God was there the whole time and continually blessed me with God's grace which I am so very thankful for in my life.

"I will hold myself to a standard of grace not perfection"-Anonymous


I am linking up with Holly at Testimony Tuesday, Kelly and the RaRa Linkup crew; Jennifer Dukes Lee and Tell His Story; and Holley Gerth and Coffee for your Heart:

 

 

22 comments:

  1. What a beautiful testimony, Tara. I love that you didn't give up even when you became discouraged and were committed to what you felt God calling you to do. Thank you for sharing! #Write31Days

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    1. Thank you, Abby! I love that I didn't give up too!

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  2. Tara that is absolutely beautiful. I really love that you were so sure of where God wanted you and that you stayed the course. Would that we were all so obedient.

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  3. I wrote about grace today as well, we are surrounded by it if only we look! :) love you and so glad you didn't give up!

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    1. Yes, you did! Love you too! And glad I didn't give up too!

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  4. Wow, what a story, Tara. Proud of you in so many ways. xo

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  5. So interesting to hear the story behind the person I know today. :) I think it would be amazing to have that sort of theological training, even just for blogging!

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    1. Thanks Melissa! The seminary education does come in handy once in awhile.

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  6. I love the word guts and the reminder that it does take more guts to see things through. So grateful for God's grace all over your journey and how He used people to love you through it!!! God bless you sweet sister!!

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    1. Guts really is a great word, isn't it? It makes me think of the guts inside a pumpkin. I too am so thankful for God's grace all over my journey too. God bless you sweet sister!

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  7. What a great story of God's grace Tara! Thanks for sharing it. Congrats on sticking it out at seminary!

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  8. I love your stories! It takes such bravery to even choose seminary and then think about how you stuck with it. God's grace showed up through your advisor big time. Blessings!

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    1. Thanks Mary! Yes, God's grace indeed showed up through my advisor BIG TIME. Blessings to you as well.

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  9. Persistence is so necessary in this journey of faith! Thanks for sharing this story.

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    1. Jo, persistence is so key.

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  10. Posting my fb comment here.

    I always enjoy rehearing and reliving your seminary story! Your story about systematics (what reading assignments gave you such grief?) shows how important it is for teachers not only to know their subject well, but to realize people have different styles of learning. An excellent reason to get a degree or certificate in teaching besides demonstrated competence in your particular field, whether it's practical or academic.

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  11. What a story you have! Beautiful testimonies... and I love your ending quote about grace. God is so good.

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    1. God is indeed so good!!

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Your comments totally make my day!