Thursday, August 16, 2007

Dallas: Postponed

Sorry it's been practically a century since the last post. Many things have been going on recently, namely, the new job has started. Things are busy. I am definitely enjoying having my own place to live and can't wait until the roommates move in (Kate Montana & Brynne Edwards)!! I spend most of the day here at the house with the family, or just Abigail (the youngest). We do things like clean up, make sure everything is ready for when everyone comes home, run errands, and play. Three of the four who are in school started at Legacy this week. The oldest will start middle school in one more week.

Things have been busy with the job, but so good. I've had ample opportunity to catch up with close friends back in LA, too. Church was amazing (of course) on Sunday; thanks Dr. Behle! I left thinking that I wanted to get a master's degree in Philosophy now. Which brings us around to the topic: Dallas. Many of you know that I had planned on starting grad work at DTS right away. And the whole time I was in Papua New Guinea I kept telling the missionaries and friends there my "plan" on doing grad work--starting part-time and finishing full-time in a few years. But the more I repeated it, the more I thought about it.

And the more I thought about it, I talked to other missionaries about it.

And the more I talked with seasoned missionaries about it, the more I found myself praying about the decision.

And the more I prayed about the decision, the more I was convinced that this is not the right time for Dallas in my life.

Not only did I begin to realize the realities of my new job and living in a completely different and new way than every, but I also realized how much time I want to spend on another degree in Biblical Studies--or anything for that matter. The whole point of being a student at Dallas is to study the Bible more than I had studied it at Master's. I don't want to breeze through the classes. I want to take expository classes and not counseling classes. I want to learn about how Habakkuk or Jeremiah did missions. Not Hudson Taylor or Mary Baker Eddy. Those things are all good and great to study, and I have definitely taken advantage of time spent studying them at Master's. But I'm ready for just straight Bible.

That's where one of the main thoughts lies: Dallas will not allow me to be in the program I desire to be in. Still. They have very legit reasons for this, and the staff I have talked to about the subject have been nothing less than listening and mindful. I really appreciate all that they have done for me. But at the end of the day, we still do not see eye-to-eye regarding my particular education. This has been a huge factor in the deciding process. Before going to Papua New Guinea I was ready to just "deal" with this difference and pursue the program that Dallas thought best fit for me.

However, in spending time with seasoned missionaries who have been through Bible education and have seen entire tribes to salvation, I really questioned the necessity of a master's degree in Biblical studies. Many of the missionaries were SO encouraging and told me more of the realities of educational needs before coming to the field full-time. Guess what. My background already meets it. Their advice to me was: just come. We need people now. You understand all that is necessary to present the gospel to a tribe. New Tribes will train and equip you for the parts you don't yet know or understand (the missionary training aspect of it).

Alas, talking to these missionaries really made me think and pray more about going to Dallas, or even pursuing another degree at all. None of the missionaries necessarily discouraged going to Dallas or pursuing grad work. But they all definitely encouraged me to get to the field ASAP.

The first week I was home from Papua New Guinea I called and talked to my advisor at Dallas and explained the situation to him. We decided that postponement until January was the best decision for now, and we will be thinking and praying through this semester for the January decision.

That's that. I am not at Dallas...yet.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Blessings "in Disguise"

I have recently been reminded that the events in my life that I see as "crosses" or "hard times" should truly be seen as huge blessings. I was thinking about the phrase/concept of "blessings in disguise" yesterday. Ahh, the beauty of it all. The Lord puts things in our life--all the time--to be blessings to us. This could be financial security, a nice family, a lovely day at work, etc. But how are those events or things any more of a blessing than the traffic jam we get stuck in, or the miscarried child, or waiting on a relationship to happen? Just because the first set of events are more comfortable and enjoyable, they are considered "blessings?"

Sometimes we find out later why God might have "allowed us to go through" unpleasant events. Because an airplane flew into the office building while you were still stuck in the traffic jam. Or because the young woman who endured the miscarrage is only 14 years old. And perhaps you find out later that the man you want so badly to pursue you needed a few more years to grow in his relationship with the Lord (as did you). These are what we all--Christian or nonChristian--think of as "blessings in disguise." But why? Why would God disguise a blessing from His children? Would it not be more glory to Him that we recognize these more difficult times as blessings from Him?

I dare to propose that we have become blind to His blessings. We prefer our own comfort and reputation over God's sovereignty and glory. I am not without fault by any means. Clearly, I am seeing various situations in my life through my own lenses of preference, seeing and seeking what I want over what the Lord requires of me. I think we can all use a little divine help in seeing every single event in life as a divine blessing.