Grief – Resurrection – Mission: Life as Mom in Grad School

27 03 2017

It is my Spring Break – alas, I have a bit of energy to blast a blog post.

I just read an article from the Presbyterian Outlook magazine regarding the first words Jesus spoke to his grieving  disciples in the first moments they meet him after resurrection. The author emphasized Jesus’ first words to be words of peace and then encouragement to send them back into action with the good news that he is alive, has conquered death, and is God incarnate (God/human) whose mission is to point people back to a genuine life of loving God and loving one another. Having just come out of a very emotionally and physically intense seminary quarter of study this past Tuesday (I was granted an extension on a final paper) and getting ready to start back into studies on Wednesday my soul somehow resonates at a perhaps lesser level in experiencing this cycle of working hard, falling into grief, surprise at resurrection, peace and then having to get myself back on task. Actually I feel this almost every quarter.

It doesn’t seem to be a very healthy cycle, but I’m almost certain it is normal for most graduate school students to have a similar experience we have ten weeks on the quarter system to open ourselves up to a fire hose of information with a requirement to filter what we can to produce deep theological and even new and surprising work. At the start, this doesn’t seem too daunting, but by the end it feels like one of those survivor type reality shows where you’re exhausted trying to get to the end and yet working as a team to hold one another up to accomplish the task together. We all have some type of obstacles trying to take us out through the quarter – finances, family, friendships, negative interactions with professors or struggles to complete the workload, work outside of school, health concerns, and more.

My obstacles this past Winter quarter have been a combination of timing of events:

  • Working through the beginnings of a major transition with our church that began the same week as winter quarter and added hours and emotional strain on church members and myself;
  • My husband’s structural engineering workload going overtime because the weather is getting warmer and people can build;
  • Deadlines or major events occurring at the same time for our daughter’s activities – normally it isn’t an issue to take them to a band/orchestra rehearsal, or an every other week girl scout troop meeting, or a sports practice. The difficulty was that all the concerts, cookie sales, basketball games, softball startup events, gearing up for martial arts testing and things requiring extra effort happened throughout the same three weekend/two week stretch of time – including my school finals week(s).
  • Also, ADHD – predominantly inattentive, is something I’m still learning to identify how my life is affected by this and trying out new strategies of which are and some are not effective and from there working to create new habits. However, it is not an easy feat to re-work forty years of very ingrained coping mechanisms to help my habits become a bit more healthy not only for myself, but my family, those I work with and serve, and those with whom I study.

All of this throws me into a frenzy at the end of each quarter and a type of exhausted grief and panic wondering if I will pass, am I worthy of continuing on for a Master of Divinity, and am I an imposter just thinking I can do this? Then by grace and with encouragement of God, professors, co-workers, family, and others I get the work done and anxiously await my grades and sleep – or stare at a wall – a lot. My grades come through and I pass – sometimes with ‘As’ sometimes with a C – but in my mind, a pass is a pass. I am overwhelmed with relief and peace. A few days later I begin receiving emails from Spring quarter professors with a list of books to quickly acquire and assignments to begin working on and have completed for the first day of class. Break and vacation are flexible terms in the life of a graduate student – we are quickly back on mission an ready to start the cycle all over again. Somehow we make it through. I am a part-time student (approx. 8 credits/quarter towards 120 credits total), in my third year, and still have two or three years of this mission left to go — Wheeeee!





One Small Step for Equality, One Bold Post on my Blog

28 03 2013

I don’t think I’ve ever blogged about my views on homosexuality. Maybe because of fear, maybe because I’m not certain that I can come to a conclusion about what I really believe. Maybe I simply don’t want to be wrapped up in political and theological backlash or create the opportunity for others to fight about it. Well, here goes. I’ve been praying about it and I know so many others are doing the same but for some reason my heart is telling me it is time to ‘come out’ with my opinions

 

Today I posted this picture on my Facebook page profile

People of Faith 4 Equality

 

Many others have been posting equality pics because of a major case currently held in the Supreme Court of the United States having to do with marriage and whether or not it is constitutional for two people of the same sex to be married have equal legal rights as a man and woman who are married. So I very much simplified everything that is being looked at, but this is the idea.

Because I am not gay, I don’t think I can make a determination as to how a person ‘becomes’ gay – the current argument is biology vs choice (or nature vs nurture). So I’m choosing not to make an opinion one way or the other. I am a Christian, I believe the Bible was fully inspired by God through the Holy Spirit. I also believe that each author of each book and letter in the Bible has their own biases from their experiences wrapped around the words that are written. Just as this blog post stems out of my experiences (not at all saying my blog posts are to be taken as scripture though!). I also believe that the Old Testament scripture is as valid as the New Testament scriptures – but that the Gospel of Jesus brings mercy and grace to those who were condemned by the law of the Old Testament.

I’ll be honest and say I grew up in a very conservative home, I even received a college scholarship from the Women Republican’s Guild of my hometown (Mainly because I quite often volunteered alongside my mother). I used to think homosexuality was a sin – and I used to think it was probably a choice they made because they were somehow abused. For instance – a mother was awful to her son so he turned to men for love or a father or other male figure raped a girl and so she turned to women for love. Then I met a few folks who were openly gay and my mind begin to change as I got to know them better – of course, I had to allow myself to get to know them better. Some of them still haven’t let me fully in to their lives – but I realize now, I didn’t ask and so it stays that way. Also, there are quite a few folks from my childhood and college student days who are gay, and I had absolutely no idea until we were friends on Facebook. And I have to say, if there is any such thing as “gay-dar”, I definitely do not possess such a skill. I’m certain that several of these friends – definitely not all – did not have turbulent childhoods throwing them into their gay lifestyles. So, that is quashing my theory of abuse causing homosexuality.

Anyhow, my main reason for posting that I am a “Person of Faith for Equality” is that I am saddened to know there are same-gendered people who are companions, who love and care for each other as deeply as a married man and woman who do not get to share the same legal rights. Pure and simple as that (of course, the politics are not). I want a companion to be able to be with a loved one at their death bed, to be able to share benefits if that is the desire in a shared income household, to raise children together (Random thought – what about all those orphans raised by nuns and nurses, do you think of them turned out fine without being raise by men?).

I also want there to not be depression and suicide and disowning of family members because someone thinks they might be gay — I want families to be able to talk and be real and honest. No doubt there are family, friends, and ministry colleagues of mine who may happen upon this blog post with shock and not know what to do with me. Take it as it is and you decide. I’ll be alright and I hope you will too.

I want people to be loved – and yes there is need for  holding one another accountable but really – is this life threatening to the rest of us to know that someone else is gay?? It is currently life threatening to them, that makes my heart hurt. I hurt for anyone who is an outcast (in their minds and hearts and communities)… and I long for healing. I long for equality – that it isn’t an “us and them” but all of us simply trying to get to know one another and share our deepest selves with one another.

Does this make any sense?





Walking Holy ground at Vacation Bible School

9 08 2012

Somedays I feel like I’m not very good at coordinating (usually when I’m tired/depressed), and of course i am not perfect and VERY aware. Then volunteers bring their friends in to help with large events (adults/teens), and kids who were brought as someone’s friend last year bring friends along this year. And there are the kids who have been participants for the past few years who come back as volunteers and are incredible in children’s ministry. This warms my heart and reminds me it isn’t about me – they are being accepted and growing closer to God through the invitation of one another. And even if we aren’t a huge church with 100+ kids, one new life changed will affect so many more than I can on my own. The Spirit is truly working in this place. I am walking on Holy ground, in awe and honored to participate!





Miracles?

15 07 2012

Do you believe miracles happen? I have faith in God and I believe Jesus healed many while on earth and I believe those who have experienced miraculous healing in their lives.

Lately, as I have a friend who is living with and fighting breast cancer for what she is told a few more months of life – I struggle to wonder how much prayer of people and the miracles of Jesus are connected. It isn’t just my friend’s experience – but experiencing the trials and deaths of other who’ve fought terminal diseases or simply old age and watching people pray and pray over them to what may seem no avail – that causes to wonder.

I have been reading a book while camping where a pastor’s young son hurts very sick and thy believe he does and went to heaven. I’m only about a third of the way through the book so I am not far beyond the true story of boy’s miraculous recovery. The words that struck me this evening had to do with the pastor realizing it wasn’t just the ill/sinful people believing Jesus could heal, but their friends and family pleading and praying I their behalf that brought Jesus to heal the person.

So now my thoughts are pondering does the afflicted person need to believe they can possibly be miraculously saved and have a cadre if believers intercessing on their behalf for a miracle to happen? This doesn’t jive with my belief of grace comes by faith and not works. But it jives with the fact that we need to believe to be saved.

But what about those afflicted asking for a miracle and who have the masses appealing I their behalf for a miracle!? Does it mean they didn’t believe enough or have the right folks praying? Or it is just a fact I life that some recover to keep loving and others sims die unfairly premature and at what we consider to be before their time?

I really want to know the answer, not sure that I ever will. In the mean time I’ll pray that God’s will be done on earth as of heaven and that my friend be given peace and relief and experience the utmost outpouring of love from family and friends whether she is granted a longer life or she leaves us soon. God be with her regardless. Amen.








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