To Learn

Life doesn’t always go as we’ve expected, or as we’ve planned. There’s that saying “God looks at your plans and then laughs”. I’m not so sure how I feel about that, but pieces of it ring true. I’ve been on a journey this year, really since facilitating the “Dare to Lead” class at church. I’ve tried to be open to God’s continued call for my life, and have looked for the subtle clues He places before me.

Back in March I had the opportunity to attend a Counselor breakfast hosted by my alma mater for high school counselors in the metro Indy area. I love those events, partially because I love talking about OWU and getting to know new people. I sat next to a very friendly counselor from Brebeuf and we talked a long time about his OWU questions and about how I ended up at Tapestry and in youth ministry. Something in this conversation just clicked for me.

So I started researching school counseling masters programs. What was out there, could I do that and still keep my job, and could I make it work for Fall 2019??? Butler had the best program for me, but their application deadline had already passed. On a whim, I asked if their cohort still had space and it did. So I applied a week or so later, pulled together some recommendations from parents, former Admissions colleagues, and one of my youth ministry peers. It could work. I played the waiting game and was asked to interview, which went really well, and then I waited some more.

But I got my admittance letter and was over the moon. This was where I felt my passion was meeting the needs of the world, where I could give back and use my talents in a field where all too often we pigeon-hole young people into college as their only option. My time at Tapestry has taught me a lot about vocation and calling and the variety of “right fit” for individual youth. It’s not one size fits all. And I think we need to do a better job of helping our young people see that.

So this Fall I will start a 3 year program while continuing to work at Tapestry. I can’t say what the future holds for sure or where exactly this journey will take me. But I’m excited to be back in a learning environment. And I’m thankful to feel like I have a new sense of direction. Here’s to figuring it all out, one day at a time.

Active Listening

This may be one of the hardest blog posts I’ve written. Not because the subject is difficult, but because speaking this into being is scary and intimidating and makes it real. But growth means doing things that fall outside of our comfort zone. Here it is:

I have been doing a lot of soul searching the last few months. Our church is in a place of transition which puts my mindset in a place of self-growth as it’s juxtaposed with the growth of our church. That being said one of the questions I often get from friends, family and congregation members is whether or not seminary is in my future. And to be quite honest, that has been an up and down answer for me over the years.

When I was in undergrad I started the process of ordination through the United Methodist church and it became an experience that left a bad taste in my mouth. In scheduling a meeting with my DS, I was quickly passed off to his assistant. Strike one. Then in my meeting I felt belittled and talked down to for no reason. Strike two. I made it clear that I wasn’t prepared to move forward. Several years later I received notification that another meeting was scheduled unbeknownst to me, even though I had already decided to not move forward. Strike three.

It was at that point that I felt like maybe ordination wasn’t meant to be. And I couldn’t convince myself that seminary was worth it if ordination was no longer on the table. And so mentally and emotionally I moved on. I pushed it aside and brushed off inquiries about seminary.

Flash forward to a year or two ago as the congregation I work for entered its own transition. And as teams and groups were working through the vision and ministry and details of the congregation’s future, my own future smacked me in my face. I couldn’t stop thinking about what I wanted, “where I saw myself in 5 years,” and how I could best serve young people and their spiritual growth.

And so thoughts of my dream of running my own girls camp surfaced. It’s still there but not as the “5years” goal. And then I thought about the things that make me come alive: youth and young adults, faith formation, vocational discernment, service trips, college campuses, community building. And when I prayed and delved deeper I realized that these could all be tied together. My heart is calling me to campus ministry–at some point. Please don’t think this is an immediate jump.

It’s hard to say, it’s hard to admit. I am happy where I am right now, but I do need to work toward future goals and that first step is figuring out seminary and ordination. That’s a big enough truth and step for me right now. And so I keep searching to figure out where I fit and where I want to study. I’ve mostly been looking at online or distance learning programs. There are more and more of these that still hold good accreditation standards. I don’t want to sacrifice quality for convenience. We will see where this goes, but I am excited for the opportunities that are no doubt in front of me down the line. Here’s to self-growth. Here’s to staying true to our deepest passion and heart’s content. Here’s to listening to God. Here’s to answering the call.