In C.S. Lewis' The Last Battle, the final book in The Chronicles of Narnia, the refrain of those who have entered the New Narnia is, "Farther up and farther in!" Life is hard, filled with tragedy and disappointment and failure, and yet repeatedly, in spite of the struggle, because of the struggle, out of the ashes, my faith experience has been one of surprising optimism, hope, and adventure. God continually shows me a future that I could not have imagined for myself, would not have even dared to ask for myself.
I came to seminary to earn some continuing education credits to maintain my teaching certificate. I had come to realize that I found the most joy in my work as a secondary teacher in a Christian school when I could talk about the truth of God's sustaining love and his word. I thought perhaps a few Bible classes would allow me to continue teaching and writing with more accuracy and authority. But along the way a new longing awoke in me, for more: for an actual degree, for-perhaps-a new career. Internships in my church and in the chaplaincy program at the county jail confirmed it; God intended to make a pastor out of me.
I came to seminary expecting to learn more about God; I didn't expect to learn to know God more.
I came to seminary expecting it to be instructive; I didn't expect it to be transformative.
I came to seminary with a faint call from God to take a couple of classes; I didn't expect to hear a much louder call from God to vocational ministry.
I came to seminary with my head resounding with a thousand reasons to say "No"-my age, my marital status, my gender, my personality, my woundedness; I didn't expect to leave with a burning desire to say "Yes, Lord, yes, to whatever you have for me!"
I am in the process of pursuing ordination and vocational pastoral work in the Evangelical Covenant Church where I can preach, teach, counsel, and disciple. In the meantime, I'm returning to volunteer work as a chaplain at the county jail and serving as a volunteer assistant pastor at a church plant in the Northgate area of Seattle. God continues to draw me farther up and farther in!
In Proverbs 24:3-4 we read: "By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures."
Thank you, Faculty and Staff, for building with God's wisdom the house that is Fuller Seminary Northwest, and for establishing us in understanding, for filling our rooms with rare and beautiful treasures; and for equipping us to shine a light on the path for others, to give them a few more inches of light for their journeys, as you have a shined a light for us. From here, I can almost see the New Narnia!