Wednesday, July 4, 2012
As a final recap, I'd like to say a bit about how the past three years have changed me....
In some ways, the changes I have experienced at Seminary have been subtle and reaffirming, rather than any radical shifts in perspective. I have maintained my commitment to worshiping within the Reformed Church in America, although I have decided not to pursue ordination in any particular denomination as of yet (one of the aspects of ministerial life I imagined I would have figured out by now) :) In fact, all my experience with delightful cohorts from a variety of faith perspectives has solidified that I must continue pondering where God is exactly calling me as a minister.
In some respects, this faith exploration began 10 years ago when I felt a distinct call from God to follow Jesus into ministry with my whole heart- and I am confident this I have done- although I have never once felt a "distinct" direction toward ministry. It has remained a vague calling to service of my fellow humankind in the name of Jesus. I am excited to be involved in my final year of Social Work studies here at Rutgers. As I continue to pursue future plans for ministry of some kind, I am understanding that social work is a practical way to facilitate the kingdom work in the lives of Jesus' "least of these." I am thrilled to integrate my theological studies with my social studies, and I have faith that my life will bring ongoing moments in which a fuller integration of these two essential disciplines will collide in a positive way.
My graduation week was delightful. My parents came for a visit for the first time, and I enjoyed sharing my graduation celebrations, in addition to exploring Jersey. Here is a link to an album of photos from the trip:
After I said goodbye to my parents, I had the terrible task of saying goodbye to my dear neighbors, friends, and prayer circles. Although I was emotional at times, I am beginning to get used to such transitions, and I found myself focusing on the task ahead: Newark, NJ.
So here I am, living into my 4th week as an RA of a house operated by my church's affordable housing corporation. AJ and I are up for the challenge, but it can certainly be overwhelming at times. We are finding our groove, and on this Fourth of July, I have decided to end this blog forever in recognition that our time in Princeton is most definitely at an end....we are Newarkers, :) and this is our calling for the next year.
My summer class will be over once I (hopefully ace) my final exam in psychopathology tomorrow, a stepping stone that leaves me with 6 classes and one intense internship before I graduate with my second masters degree! I imagine this year will simply fly by, and because of the sensitive nature of my position here, I have chosen to not blog about my experience. Even my personal stories will involve tenants and clients, a confidentiality I do not wish to breach for the sake of my own need to express myself. Thus, only short snippets on facebook shall suffice, unless of course my readers would like to email me with any questions- :) I would be happy to respond!
Okay, as I sign off for the last time, I'd like to end with a prayer:
Holy God of the finite and infinite- bring peace to your nations, bring grace amidst horror, bring love in the most unlikely of places, and bring all humankind to one day recognize your face for what it is: pure goodness. Bring me, your servant, to the places in this world that are ready to accept the ministry for which you have equipped me. I will always be your daughter, your friend, your admirer, and your humble minister.
With love and appreciation for all of God's goodness, thanks for joining me on this journey, friends.
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Okay, here it is.... I have officially completed all my requirements for a Masters of Divinity....so in reference to this blog title, I suppose I can claim that I've found God! :)
Yes, the completing seminary bit is true. At 11:45am on Saturday, April 21st, I turned on my final 2 papers of my divinity education. And it feels great!
I haven't had much time to reflect on what all this means, however, because I have been busy with Rutgers classes and the Institute for Youth Ministry forum. Once those two things are done, however, 2 free weeks in May will afford me all the reflection time I desire! (and time for painting my nails, exercising, napping, writing letters, reading novels, organizing school materials, and cooking!) I am pretty excited.
The last two months since I updated my blog have been eventful, although I'm sure I cannot remember half of what I've done....which brings me to a particular moment of reflection. In keeping a blog, I have come to understand more about life priorities. For example, if I don't recall things that have recently happened, how important was it that I spent so much time on these things?
Here is what I do remember, hence, things worth my time...
I remember celebrating Easter- and sharing the joy of the season with AJ and his family (and I remember AJ asking why I cried during the church service...because I responded with "I'm loving Jesus on Easter, I don't get why you think I wouldn't cry? It's me, you know.")
I remember celebrating my women senior cohorts at a lovely seminary brunch, the first senior year milestone that brought me to tears.
I remember celebrating the final paper submission with a lovely drive and lunch in a gazebo with my husband.
I remember a girls' night where close friends shared our ups and downs through seminary.
I remember senior banquet, during which I cried, of course.
I remember bits of conversations with friends and family.
I remember moments of shared intimacy, understanding, and spiritual reflection with my husband.
I remember the good news of friends receiving job offers.
I remember moments when I felt the Holy Spirit overtaking my fears of transition into Newark.
You see, these memories are reminders of how I might best spend my time. Do I remember the plot of a Bones episode? Not really. Do I remember what I ate for dinner yesterday- no. I really don't. Do I remember what I've read this semester? Not all of it, for sure, but I do remember conversations that reading sparked. In essence, self-reflection is a way to keep my priorities in check. Spend time with friends and family. Check. That's the gist of my list above, and I aim to make this a priority as I enter a new stage of transition away from seminary.
I'm sure I will have more to come, but as I near the end of this period of my life, I'd like to say thanks to everyone who has contributed to my network of support. I feel loved, appreciated, and motivated to serve God in so many ways.....
Now if only you all can help me choose a career path. My options only seem to continue expanding! :)
I sign off in the precious name that is above all names.
(that's Jesus Christ, something I learned in seminary) :)
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Sunday, January 8, 2012
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Sunday, July 24, 2011
I am requiring myself to write a blog entry today because I have yet to break my streak of writing at least once per month, and this will likely be my only free time between now and August 7th. J I am feverishly planning for a mission trip to a church located outside Camden, in a town called Willingboro. We are essentially helping beautify (painting, landscaping, cleaning) for a small Reformed church comprised primarily of an older population. I’m sure the week will be wonderful; however, the planning has been a bit excruciating at times, given the non-committal nature of most of my congregants. In part I do not blame them, as many live day-to-day, looking for jobs and maintaining their livelihoods, and others have small children and cannot commit to a week! All in all, I have come to the realization that whomever comes will be perfect, because that’s how it has to be.
In addition to planning for the work trip, I have given two sermons (and planned both services) in July, and I believe they are posted on our website: www.rchighlandpark.org in case you’d like a listen. Beware, I may have cried a bit during the first one. J I thoroughly enjoy leading worship services, and this has been a firm validation of my call to some sort of church ministry…and we shall see how the future is unveiled.
Speaking of future, I am officially beginning my MSW in one month! The summer has flown by (see my catchy title for this entry) and soon I will become a student of books again. I am sitting here with AJ and my friend Karen in Panera Bread, and I just exclaimed how excited I am to be a student at Rutgers- my first state school experience! Although being a student at two schools simultaneously (hence, two financial aid departments, two insurance waivers, two of this, two of that) is a bit daunting, I am excited about a new genre of subject matter, and I will surely incorporate my experience together for a lovely “divine social work” angle. J
AJ’s mother came out for a lovely visit last weekend, which was AJ’s and my first time to the beach! We live so close to the shore, yet we hardly make time to enjoy it, so we appreciated her visit to spur us on toward appreciating our proximity to the ocean (I love the waves, BTW, and anyone wanting to come visit should come soon- or better yet, next summer!).
AJ just began a new job at Urner Barry Publications in Toms River, NJ- and he is really excited for the job. He is a market reporter for the company, and his first video interview with Cattlefax is Monday morning! Don’t ask me any more specifics. J
I have thoroughly enjoyed my time interning at RCHP, but in three weeks I will be finished with the internship (yet will continue attending for the next two years). I am beginning an internship with Enable, Inc. in the fall, which is an organization that works with people with disabilities. I am eager to begin this position, as I have much to learn regarding this population of folks, in addition to the world of social work at large.
What more to say, of course! I’m excited to be an aunt times 3 in the next few months. My sister Les is having a girl in less than a month (hang in there, Les!) and my sister Al is having a boy in around 3 months (wish I could be there)! Woohoo for being an aunt! Me- I’m consistent with birth control. J
On that note, I believe it’s time to wrap up. I hope everyone is experiencing God’s presence as life comes hurling by. May the grace of God and the presence of the Spirit be with us always as we strive to be patient in faith and hopeful in times of uncertainty.