The sea always has a tide, the ebb and the flow; sometimes it’s high, sometimes it’s low.
Hello friends, it’s been a while. I am well into my semester now, halfway in fact. My, how the time goes when you’re not paying attention to it. This semester has been different for me in a lot of ways. Each semester always has its own feel, but there are so many things beyond the norm as to why this one is so different for me. Transition is hard. There’s been a lot of transition for me this semester. Some good (great actually), some not quite so much, but a lot of it just simply is. It’s been difficult adjusting to life without the mobility and freedom that having a vehicle provides. There have been so many things that I would have taken care of earlier if I had my own set of wheels instead of bumming rides.
The sea always has a tide, the ebb and the flow; sometimes it’s high, sometimes it’s low. Yet its shifting reveals new secrets upon its shore. Each wave a chance to uncover a piece of treasure buried, either long forgotten or hidden, waiting for its chance to be discovered.
I wrote the previous (and incomplete) draft in the middle of last semester and though I am far from that moment now, I couldn’t quite give up on this piece of writing. But now it is time to write once more and to finish what was started, to continue the journey.
Transition is definitely the key word for the past six months for many reasons. Yes, the loss of my vehicular companionship is still noticeable, but I have adjusted. I have had many friends who were willing to help me with whatever I needed, even if it was just a drive out of town; hopefully they’ll continue to do so.
Transition also includes a look at the end of my seminary career. I am nearing the end of the M. Div. program and yet I don’t feel as if my time is done. I did a lot of prayer over the summer on this in particular. I have made the decision to pursue a postgraduate level degree: the ThM (Master’s of Theology) in Intercultural Studies. I feel as is this would better prepare me for what I hope to accomplish when I really begin that intentional lifelong ministry for which I have been preparing myself for the past 4 ½ years. I am hoping to be accepted into the program here at Asbury as there are still a lot of great opportunities available. This is something I’m going to have to truly work for and even if/when I am accepted into the program, it will be quite rigorous, but I do feel like it will all be worth the effort and more importantly, I feel that I am being led to try.
The next transition is one that makes me very happy. I have fallen deeply in love with a wonderful, amazing woman. Sandi is truly a blessing in my life. We met this past summer in Yellowstone, where she was also a volunteer with ACMNP, though at a different site. I was a fool the majority of the summer for not paying her much attention until near the end of the summer. God had a lot of work to do within me before I was ready to date again and He did so. God had made clear to me what my desires were when it came to dating and relationships. I realized that I had been really holding myself back to due some past pain and hurt that never truly healed and then he revealed a great desire I had for a relationship: I wanted a beautiful friendship that blossomed into something more. Shortly after all of this, just within a week or so, I get a message from Sandi, after we had already technically said goodbye at the final ACMNP meeting. Within the message, she tells me how she sees me, admits that she likes me, and wants to know if there was a possibility of something more between us. Honestly, I was flabbergasted, for no one has quite described me the way that she did. I was honored and humbled with her honesty and intentness. At the time, I felt like I could not return her feelings; I felt as if I barely knew her truly, despite the several times we spent time with one another throughout the summer. And so, I asked her to join me on a journey of intentional friendship, because surely I wanted to know for myself. After a few weeks of being intentional, growing and deepening our relationship, I knew that there was not only a possibility of something more, but that I also wanted to seek those possibilities with her. We had shared our testimonies with one another and I could see God working so clearly in both of our lives. When I kept praying to God about this possibility, I heard God say clearly to me one day, “Go for it, my son.” And that was the day I told her that I wanted to talk about pursuing those possibilities. We’ve been dating for over four months now and everyday has been just as intentional as our friendship. We have truly grown in our personal lives, our relationship with each other, and our relationship with God. We see each other as a blessing from God and we seek to do our best to cherish that blessing. I did not know I could love so deeply. One of the prayers that I had in my moments with God preparing me for relationships was that I wanted to be able to love someone as He loves. I have had that opportunity with Sandi. I love her for who she is in God and for all that she seeks to do with her life. It is an honor and privilege to love her. I see many great possibilities before us in our journey together.
The last transition is more of a recognition: I have grown and matured in ways I never expected. This past summer has revealed to me how much I have learned and grown from my time here at seminary and through the hard lessons that life has taught me within recent years. I am not that same young man who left to go seek God, and really, who left to seek himself. I have found myself more and more in God and claim more the identity I have in Him. I feel as if I am closer to being who I truly am and who I am meant to be than I have ever felt in my life. There is still much to learn, and ways to grow, but I look forward to them in a different way than when I was younger. I am no longer desperate to cling to an identity, even a false one, just for the sake of security; I am secure in who I am in the Lord. I see growth not as a complete redefining of who I am, but the revealing of a new depth unexplored. Yes, some adventures are harder than others, but those are the ones that usually grow me the most and often have the most rewarding treasure for me. And so, my friends, the adventure continues once more…