On Monday someone asked me to reflect on the past year and what I’ve been learning from this time in seminary. “What has God been stirring in you?” I looked at them blank-faced, absolutely unsure of how to answer.
Here’s the thing, it’s not that I haven’t learned anything, or God hasn’t been “stirring” me, but moreso man- he hasn’t stopped stirring! How am I supposed to tease out a lesson when the water hasn’t settled?
Most people come to seminary and get 3 to 4 years to soak it all up. Me? I married a seminarian just before his last year, so I’ve had 2 semesters. 2 semesters to take advantage of the spouse scholarship and try to gain some knowledge and insight into life in the PCA (Presbyterian Church in America), what the heck it means to be a pastor’s wife, how to write theological papers, and how to work through my life story in counseling. That mixed with year 1 of marriage and year 1 in a new city altogether and it’s kind of hard to tease out what seminary has taught me, but I’ll take a crack at it here.
I learned that 10 credits in grad school is wayyyy different then 10 credits in undergrad. Whew, so much reading I thought I was going to drown.
I learned that Presbyterians call getting a job with a church “receiving a call.”
I learned that pastor’s wives are actually just normal people, and are just as intimidated by that title as you are.
I learned that I’m smarter than I think and I can write a theological paper and defend myself in an oral final just like all the rest of my future counselor and pastor classmates.
I learned about attachment styles and why I respond to life the way I do based on my family structure growing up.
I learned to hold two things in tension. My professor says, “Christian maturity lies in a willingness to accept the tension of opposites.” He’s right. Life is beautiful and harsh, marriage is sweet and hard, change is exciting and difficult, etc.
I learned that seminarians are just normal people. They go to breweries on the weekends, babysit each other’s kids, and love board games.
I finally learned my Myers Brigg’s. ESFJ if you’re interested 🙂 At Covenant, one of the very first questions anyone will ask you after your name and where you from is, “What’s your Myers Briggs type?”
I learned how to articulate and own my life story.
I learned that if free counseling is offered, you take the free counseling. Being human is hard, and everyone could use a little extra support.
I learned that being in seminary and learning about God does not translate to magically becoming more sanctified. Seminarians struggle spiritually too!
I am so so grateful for all these two semesters have held. I imagine I will look back on this year fondly, remembering the countless game nights we had with sweet couples friends, the uniqueness of this season of sharing the same schedule with my husband and commuting to campus together, and navigating the newness of St. Louis, the PCA, and marriage. Covenant has been a sweet and safe place to land and grow and I am proud of how I’ve used the time. As hard as it was to start from scratch with friendships and new beginnings knowing I just had one year here, I am proud to say that I committed, made the most of the opportunities I was given and made dear, dear friends.
It will be hard to leave, but at the same time, I feel ready. Ready to put down the books for a little bit and learn from ministry and life itself. Ready to claim a spot on the map as home and set up shop for a while. Ready to have time for Sarah Lin Photography to grow to its full potential. Look out world, Chesapeake Virginia here we come!