Master of Divinity (MDiv), Pasadena campus
Follow Stephanie on Fuller’s Instagram! She's one of several grads posting their pictures there this month.
Beat and broken after life at breakneck speed, I admitted I couldn’t do it on my own and found recovery, healing, and a new calling at Fuller.
I entered Fuller a year after graduating from college, during which time I also served as a youth ministry intern. I had spent most of my college days at the church and by the time I was done I was beat-tired and bitter from overworking and under-resting. The year after college and interning wasn’t much better – I worked and continued to do ministry at breakneck speeds.
And then I came to seminary. Life at Fuller was faster than even I could run and after my first quarter of more academic rigor than I had experienced in the last four years of college, I was more than beat, I was broken. My friend Kelsey (a fellow student) once described her shock that Fuller was not a place full of people who were “super Christians who have it all together,” but rather it was much more like a hospital of people who were sick, lost, and needy just like everybody else. At the end of my second term I found myself in triage wondering what was wrong with me.
Luckily, I had a local church community that could help me begin to sort things out. But soon I was working there as an intern to start a youth ministry program. After another quarter of late assignments, on top of a bad longboarding fall, a car accident, three stolen bikes, and two unrelated family deaths, I was at my end. I started therapy at Fuller in the Psychology department, got a mentor, did a few rounds of inner healing prayer, and started opening up to my professors and my academic advisor about what was going on. I needed help and finally knew I couldn’t do it on my own.
Since that time, I have been on a road to recovery. Through my time in therapy, as well as classes including Pastoral Care and Abuse, Family Therapy and Pastoral Counseling, Christian Ethics, and Exegetical Methods – as well as time in my church community and the Fuller community of fellow strugglers – I’ve begun to heal and learn more about who God is, who I am, and lastly what ministry is. My time at Fuller and in Pasadena has been integral in helping me to figure out what exactly I’m called to do in light of all of these things – namely, to open a ranch for at-risk youth using horses, therapy, and spirituality as a means to heal.
Fuller has helped me to think critically, and my Fuller professors – including Dr. Love Sechrest, Dr. Tommy Givens, Dr. Hak Joon Lee, Dr. Dale Ryan, and Dr. Marque Ireland – have taught me about love and grace partly through their teaching, but mostly from their lives. This all has been integral in forming me and preparing me for what’s next. Heck, I even met my fiancé here! All together it has been a wonderful experience, and I count myself abundantly blessed to have spent these past years in Pasadena where God has transformed me through this beautiful community. Thank you!
Photos above: (Top) Stephanie, at left, with friend and fellow student Katharina Beeler; (next) in a hammock on the Pasadena campus mall.