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!





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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