This morning, the Session of Presbyterian Church of Henderson welcomed me into their membership so that I might be an inquirer in the Presbytery of Western Kentucky, which would allow me to apply to seminary while being under the care of the church and the Presbytery that I already consider to be mine. Rev. John asked me to say something. Here’s what I said:
Early in life, I memorized a verse of Scripture that I have carried with me ever since. Proverbs 3:5-6 says “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge God and God will direct your path.”
Since I was very young, I’ve understood God’s presence in my life to be one of constant love, challenge and conviction. From the cradle roll at First Presbyterian Merrillville, to children’s choir, Christmas pageants, confirmation, youth group, mission trips, a trip to Israel—the Holy Land– with an adult group from my church and graduation Sunday for the class of 1996 I learned and I grew into what God was calling me to do.
Lest you think I was angelic, it’s important to note that I made plenty of dumb decisions, and gave my parents and Sunday School teachers many reasons to worry or work harder. I had missteps and confusion. There were days when it was more about me than it was about God—a lot of those days. But I was always growing, becoming more and more who God was calling me to be.
I’ve seen it and I see it in your children, too. In fact, so many times when I’m struggling with a young person inside the walls of this church, I remember the process it was for God to grow me from a child who loved church and Jesus to an adult who feels the same way.
I went to college. More growing. More missteps. More confusion. And then during my sophomore year, I knew. God was calling me to youth ministry. I changed majors and began a course in that direction. I served an internship at the church that raised me, one summer as youth and VBS director, one summer as church secretary—invaluable training.
Nine days before my graduation from UE in 2000, I pulled into this church’s parking lot for the very first time. I interviewed for the full time director of youth and children.
Six days before my graduation, Doug Blair called and offered me this job.
I took a leap of faith. Well, actually, YOU took a leap of faith. I was 22 years old, almost as green as I could be and you offered me a full time job on your ministry staff.
I guess it’s worked out all right.
For the last 13 years, there’s been more growing, more understanding of call, more ridiculous mistakes, more missteps. Hundreds of children and teenagers—YOUR children and teenagers—have participated in the ministry and activity of this church.
For them and for you and for me, God’s call and work does not end before life does the same. We continue to grow and become more like Christ. We continue the work of God’s Kingdom together.
There are some days when going to seminary to pursue my Masters of Divinity degree is among the deepest desires of my heart. Other days, it sounds dreadful. Even on days when it was a deep desire, the timing to this point has not been right. With Jonas beginning high school in August and becoming more independent, the timing now is much better.
On May 14, the Presbytery of Western Kentucky accepted me as an Inquirer. Over the next year, Jason and I will visit campuses, do our best to discern the direction of the Holy Spirit and make decisions for the sake of our family. I’m committed to applying to seminary in Spring of 2014. Should I be accepted and determine during this year that this is indeed the way ahead, I’ll begin classes in August of 2014. I’m grateful to our Session for accepting me into membership, to John for his supportive leadership and Linda Mioduszewski for accepting the job of my liaison to the committee on ministry in our Presbytery.
Jason, Jonas and I appreciate your prayers for us during this process. I appreciate the places you may volunteer or show up to help when I can’t be in two places at once during this discernment process. I appreciate your encouragement and kind words.