Monday, February 28, 2011

help end slavery

I recently signed a petition urging President Obama to do everything in his power to end modern-day slavery. The letter was written by the International Justice Mission and contains a number of specific steps that President Obama can take to address this rampant problem.  Please take 5 minutes to sign the petition and add your voice to the cry for freedom.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

home sweet home

I arrived home late last night, happy to be reunited with family.

My interview at Wheaton went well (from my perspective). I won't hear anything until sometime next week. The trip was confirmation that Wheaton would be a great place for our family.

I'm also waiting to hear from Asbury Theological Seminary in Kentucky.

Meanwhile, I received a denial letter from Princeton Theological Seminary yesterday. Due to budget cuts, only one applicant was admitted to their PhD program in New Testament this year.

I'll keep posting updates here...

Meanwhile, my parents are here from Colorado to help with some renovations to our house so that we can put it on the market.  Fun times!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

blogging live from the windy city

I'm writing from Chicago, where I'm staying with a friend from Wheaton. It's cold and rainy here.

We have more good news to share. I got a call from Marianne Meye Thompson yesterday of Fuller Seminary (Pasadena, California). I'm accepted into their PhD program in Theology, and they've offered me a full scholarship for the first two years! We still have 3 more schools we're waiting to hear from before we make our decision. Pray that we would be sensitive to God's leading.

After 21 months of pretty intense preparation for this, we're very, very grateful to have open doors.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

time is flying...

... and so am I!

Tomorrow I'll be boarding a plane bound for Chicago. The primary purpose of my trip is to visit Wheaton College Graduate School for an on-campus interview. I was invited to interview along with 14 other candidates for one of 7 positions in their PhD in Biblical Theology program.  My interview will be Tuesday at 8:45 am (Chicago time), so I would appreciate your prayers!

I will also have an opportunity to drive through the campus of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (in Deerfield, Illinois) and see it with my own eyes.  I received unofficial word this week that I have been accepted into their PhD in Theological Studies program and will be offered a doctoral fellowship worth half tuition.  We were thrilled to get the news!

By the sheer grace of God, my thesis is nearing completion. After several weeks of very slow progress due to illness in the family and spiritual opposition, this week has been fabulous.  I can't wait to share with you what I'm finding as I dig into God's Word. Stay tuned, and thanks for your prayers!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

what will I take with me?

It's starting to sink in how much we'll be leaving behind when we move.

Our totally amazing church. Spirit-infused worship. Challenging preaching. A place we feel right at home, where neighbors and friends worship side-by-side. A place that has helped us grow by giving us a place to belong.

Our fabulous neighbors. People who mow our lawn when we're away without being asked, look out for our kids, make time to hang out together, and who care about us.  Neighborhoods like this one are hard to find.

Our kids' great schools. Good Shepherd Preschool and River Gate Elementary School have been outstanding places for our kids to learn, to be loved, and to make friends.  Leaving both behind will be sad.

Our first house.    This house has been such a peaceful place, and I couldn't imagine a better fit for our family.  We spent countless hours making it "ours" when we moved in.  And soon it won't be ours any more.  In almost 13 years of marriage this is the longest we've ever lived anywhere (that is, almost 4 years now).  It has felt so good to be settled, with all of our things under one roof.

There are other things ... Gordon-Conwell, the SIM community, and more ... that have made this a rich season for us.  And those losses will have to be grieved.  But today I've started to think about what I'm taking with me.

What will I carry with me as we leave Charlotte that I did not have when we came?

Memories of people and places. I don't plan to take a southern accent along, but it has been wonderful to have friends who speak with a drawl even when they're not telling jokes.  We've met a lot of great people here, and though they can't all come along, we can treasure them in our memories.  We've camped, biked, and driven all over the Southeast, and we've seen a lot of natural beauty.

New perspectives. I see things differently now in a number of areas: women's roles in ministry, eschatology (that's the study of the "end times"), the function of the Old Testament for Christians, Christology (that's the study of Jesus), even the gospel itself.  Don't worry, I'm more convinced than ever that the Bible is God's Infallible Word, I am more deeply in love with Jesus than when I came, and I am experiencing the power of the Holy Spirit in greater measure. These four years have added so much to my understanding of the Bible and my relationship with God (and, as Danny will tell you, the weight of my library!).

A family of five. We came here with a 4-year-old and a 4-month-old.  We'll leave with a 10-year-old, a 5-year-old, and a 3-year-old. We'll be leaving behind the 'baby stage' and taking three great kids with us. I'm so thankful that we get to keep on being a family no matter where we live. Our marriage is stronger than ever, with a sense of teamwork that has made this intense season truly a joy.

This blog.  And all of you who read it.  I have loved sharing this journey with all of you, and you can join me for the next season of learning. We still don't know where that will be, but we're trusting that God will open the right door for us so that I can continue my studies. Check back mid-March for the big news!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

the gap

Yesterday was a rough day. We've been pushing so hard for so long. To meet my thesis deadline will mean using every minute. (Um... that would be the revised deadline, since the first one has come and gone.)  But all three kids are home sick for the third day in a row, my library time has been very distracted, and I've simply come to the end of myself.

Once again the little devotional I'm using (Dare to Journey wtih Henri Nowen by Charles Ringma) knew just what I needed to hear. Yesterday's reflection talked about the gap between "what we hope for" and "what we acheive." Right. My gap is growing daily.  Here's what Ringma had to say about it:

"The gap reminds us that we alone cannot achieve our own dreams. [No kidding!] We need the miracle of God's participation.  We need the gift of patience.  We need the grace of perseverance.  We need to work hard to make things happen, but more urgently, we need God's guidance, sustenance, and help.  Thus our experience of the gap can drive us to prayer and humility as well as to persistence and faithfulness."

I've experienced the "miracle of God's participation" time and time again on this journey.  And, as the old song says, "He hasn't brought us this far to leave us..." So I'm praying that my heart - and yours -  would rest in that today.

Monday, February 7, 2011


My nine-year-old has informed me that I am a chatterbox when it comes to the Bible.

(We were going through a study on baptism in preparation for her upcoming baptism.)

I can think of worse accusations!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

happy is the woman...

...who wants what she has.

A friend from my dorm section in college wrote that out in big letters and stuck it to her wall one year. Somehow it stuck with me, too. It's true, isn't it?  We can spend our energy wishing for what we don't have, or we can find joy in what God has already given us.

I went to Target the other day for a new pair of jeans.  I had been wanting to go for weeks, but couldn't find the time. My favorite jeans are getting worn out.  The knees are fading, certain other parts are getting rather threadbare.  You wanna hear something funny?  I couldn't find a single new pair of jeans to fit that did not look worse than my old ones.  After trying on about 5 pair I slipped back into my old jeans with a sign of relief.  Not only were they comfortable, but they fit just right, they looked newer than anything off the rack, and they didn't cost me a dime!  The gal working in the dressing room told me that "old" jeans are in style.  I told her I'd keep my old ones then and keep wearing them until they were in style, too.

Happy is the woman who wants what she has.  (Even jeans!)

There will always be something to complain about.
(If you don't believe me check your friends' status updates on Facebook).
But there is always something to be thankful for. Always.

And those who practice finding out what it is are truly happy.