6.30.2009

being called to seminary...

    Last week, as I wrote a little about a journey I've been on, I mentioned that you lovelies could ask any questions you had and I would do my best to answer. I only got a couple (I think I answered most of them in my post) but they were great questions! Elaine wanted to know more about seminary ... where we're going and how it all came about -- and Katie wanted to know where we're moving! So... I can answer this all today as I tell you the story of God calling my husband to seminary (which, by default, means me too!).

   My husband came to Christ as a young boy, but struggled in his faith through high school and college. During the last semester of his senior year at VMI he rededicated his life to Christ and plunged whole heartedly into a true and FULL TIME relationship with Christ. After graduation he sensed that he should stay at VMI and get involved with the cadet ministry. A job opened up in the admissions office and John was hired. He and the VMI Chaplain (Chap) became very close as Chap mentored John. We call them "Paul" and "Timothy" for fun! A year later we were married and I moved to Lexington. John and I have been thoroughly involved in the ministry ever since.


(John praying over a guest speaker at chapel)
 
     Not long after we were married, John kept sensing that he was supposed to go into full time ministry. We didn't know when or how though. Every time we prayed about it God said, "wait." So we waited for a couple years. God kept leading John back to a verse in Jeremiah "Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls." Jer 6:16 During those years we kept asking God what they meant, what we were supposed to do. Then, God brought to mind another verse that is similar, "Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." Matthew 11:29 "Learn from me..." really stuck out to us, especially when coupled with the verse from Jeremiah about the ancient paths. It became clear that John was supposed to go to seminary -- but, again, we didn't know when (or where for that matter!). Another year went by and we continued to pray for guidance as we served God at VMI.
    One day John came home from Chapel (I was recovering from surgery and couldn't go yet) and he seemed really excited. He sat down next to me and said, "now is the time ... we're supposed to prepare to go to seminary." I was surprised that it was happening now, but really excited! John said that seminary had been heavy on his heart for a long time, but because he loves it here at VMI so much, he was suppressing the feeling. During the service that morning Chap was preaching about Peter getting out of the boat. He read the story aloud...


During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. "It's a ghost," they said, and cried out in fear.
 But Jesus immediately said to them: "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid." 
"Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water."
 "Come," He said.
Matthew 14: 25 - 29
 
   John confessed that he had been terrified of the idea of going to seminary and that's why he was suppressing the feelings. When Chap was reading the story aloud, John felt God speaking directly to him through those words. Take courage John ... it's me ... don't be afraid of leaving VMI and going to seminary. John told me that immediately he was thinking "is this really God talking to me?" As he was thinking that, Chap was reading "Lord, if it's you... tell me to come..." When Chap read the part where Jesus said, "Come" John felt God pierce his heart and he began weeping. He knew without a doubt that was telling him to get out of the boat (leave VMI and the ministry we know and love) and come to where He is calling us (seminary). I rejoiced with John that afternoon... and then we began the next step of figuring out which seminary to go to!
    During the process of weeding through different websites, magazines, and pamphlets for all the different seminaries we found that Regent University kept coming up again and again. Initially we thought that might be because it's in our state. But, the closest seminary to us was Liberty University and we had a really close friend who got his master of Divinity there. So, we signed up for an open house program and went to it. We had a great time, everyone was wonderful, but we just didn't sense that God was leading us there. Regent kept coming up again and again. Finally, after much prayer, we agreed that God was leading us to Regent University in Va Beach. We scheduled and interview and, in January, went down to meet with an admissions representative. The meeting was wonderful and we felt a real peace about going to school there. John was accepted in February and in March we went down for a preview weekend. Every experience has been fantastic so far! We are so excited about the future God has planned for us!
   After being accepted to seminary we put our house on the market, John submitted his letter of resignation to VMI,  and we began applying for jobs in Va Beach... we (well, God really..) didn't exactly pick a stellar economic time to do all this! God has stretched us and grown our faith in huge ways over the last 6 months... we still don't know exactly what it's all going to look like. (a future post is coming with a miraculous story of God's provision) All we know is that we're moving within the next 3 weeks and continue to trust in Him! We know that the next fews years are going to hold a lot of trials, but they also hold so much hope and blessing... we can't wait to see God working in our lives as we are obedient to His call.

   So... that was the Reader's Digest version of the story of how we were called to seminary! God was just extra - specially kind in letting it be near the beach! (I grew up at the beach and have really missed it) :) Please pray for us as we go through this transition -- it won't be easy BUT we are "confident of this, that he who began a good work in us will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus" Philippians 1:6



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13 comments:

"Rachel" said...

What a great testimony1 Thank you for sharing!

Manuela said...

Thank you so much for sharing your story with us! I will pray for you! God is showing you that he really has a wonderful plan for your life, so be confident! In Italy we say.."Ti auguro ogni bene"...In english I think I can say "I wish you all the best!"

Blessings,
Manuela

Alicia said...

Lauren, how exciting for you and your husband! Praise the Lord for His confirmations, and for your husband being obedient!! When God calls you into ministry, He will not leave any room for doubt!

My mom's side of the family live in Virginia too! Norfolk & Virginia Beach!

Mich said...

Loved reading your story. We had those seminary days ourselves, living on faith. They were such a blessing too, for we learned to depend on year other like never before and learned how God takes care of His own.

I am so excited for you. You will be in my thoughts and prayers.

Joye @ The Joyeful Journey said...

I am so excited about what God has planned for you guys!! I know that it will be amazing and I am confident He will faithfully provide for every little detail!

I will be praying for you both as you are jumping out of this boat and "surfing" onto the water of God's goodness!!

Kristen Love said...

I am so excited for the two of you! I can't wait to hear about how God continues to bless you both!!!

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

I come from a long line of seminary men, my dad being a professor and my husband being a graduate. I even worked at a seminary for a season (Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, KY). I understand the pull of your heart that is requiring a faith like none other. I think VA beach is a lovely place to land. May God go ahead of you and prepare the land for your arrival. He will provide. He who calls you is faithful. He will do it!

peace~elaine

nile said...

Hi Lauren!

Blessings to your husband, your family, and you as you make your way to Virginia Beach! My wife and I made a similar journey from New Jersey and we now both work for the University! I am also a student in the MA in Biblical Interpretation program at the School of Divinity!

Please let us know how we can help!

Nile Gomez
nilegom@regent.edu

3 Blessings said...

Lauren,
Thank you for sharing your and your husband's story. It is so true to the fact of how other's feel "called" to do the Lord's work and I am so thankful that your husband was listening.
God's blessings to both of you in your new journey.

Beth.. One Blessed Nana said...

I am thankful that your husband has a godly wife to support him. As a pastor's wife, I know how important it is to stand by your husband and realize that you are called together. OUr part is just as important as His - they depend on us for support and encouragement. I will be praying for both of you.

Joanne@ Blessed... said...

Lauren,

What a beautiful time for you both. Stepping out of the boat together will reap a harvest of blessings. Your faith will grow in ways you can't even imagine.

I know it blesses my heart to read how the Lord's presence is evident. Now take those scriptures you received from Him and stick them all over your new home, make a plaque to hang over your bathroom sink, your bed and anywhere else you are going to need to be reminded that He gave you this word, His word. Put one on the end of your nose if you have to! Better yet, hide His word in your heart so you can pray it back to Him when things like a tough economy draws your eyes to the water and off of your savior.

...forgive me for rambling. Wanted you to know I put your blog up on my Blessed...blogs of the month post. I do pray it brings other sisters in the Lord here who will be blessed to read along with your life, just like I have.

Blessings Friend.

Mocha Momma said...

God bless you both in this new and exciting part of your lives.
Take care
Nannette

Warren Baldwin said...

I linked here by way of Eileen's blog and read a couple of your posts. They are very good and inspiring. Since I am a minister, just finished my M.Div. equivalency, and am applying for the D.Min., I esp liked this post. My congratulations to you and John. You don't know me, but I fully support your decision anyway! Ministry and education has been a 27 year journey for Cheryl and me, and we are beginning a new phase of it with another seminary in view. Plus, we have a daughter in youth ministry for the summer and a son who just started a full time youth ministry position in Wyoming. From your posts I would say you will love the ministry life.

I would like to encourage John in anyway possible. I have an article on "Balancing School and Family" for ministry families if he/you would be interested in reading it. Just let me know.

God bless. This is an exciting stage for you! Enjoyed the visit here.
Warren