Thursday, April 12, 2012

a milestone

Blanchard Hall from the Billy Graham Center
Yesterday afternoon was a significant milestone in our time at Wheaton. I took my place at the head of a looooong table on the fourth floor of Blanchard Hall (a civil-war era castle), flanked by seasoned professors and fellow PhD students, 21 in all. We were gathered to discuss the dissertation proposal I submitted last week. First I had a few minutes to tell why I had chosen this topic, then the faculty questioned me for about 30 minutes. I anticipated some of their questions, but some took me by surprise. Thankfully, the professors were gracious. When it was all over there was no blood on the floor. The faculty asked us to leave while they discussed my proposal among themselves. When we returned to the room Dr. Treier shook my hand and offered his congratulations. My proposal was accepted with only a few (very) minor revisions! Immediately following my defense, my colleague Austin took my place at the head of the table and successfully defended his proposal. Now both of us are cleared to begin the biggest research and writing project of our lives – some 300 pages spanning the next 2 or 3 years.

Danny and I are grateful to have this hurdle behind us. While I still have another year of classes, an increasing amount of my time will now be spent on this research and writing project. We have three hurdles remaining: finishing coursework, finishing comprehensive reading of the field, and defending the dissertation. We trust that God's grace will sustain us through each of these challenges. His faithfulness has already been so evident, and we're marveling at his rich blessings towards us.

Ironically the defense of my masters thesis at Gordon-Conwell took place exactly one year ago, on April 11, 2011. Will I be able to defend my dissertation two years from now on April 11, 2014? Only time will tell.


  1. Ephesians 3:20-21 20 Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
    Congratulations, Carmen!

    Rollin Grams

  2. Oh Carmen, GREAT JOB and CONGRATS!! I was thinking of you and praying for you that when you opened your mouth the Lord would fill it with the words He wanted you to say (was also praying this same thing when you had your entrance interview to Wheaton). We are in AWE of you and ALL your accomplishments! Aaron and I keep saying, "WOW, Dr. Imes! That's so amazing!" I'm so sorry I don't comment more, but I do keep up with your posts. We love reading about your lives out there. Sounds like you are adjusting well and liking it.
    Courtney Collins

  3. Congratulations!!!!

    And thank you so much for posting this. I will carry the "I anticipated some of their questions, but some took me by surprise" to my own defense this summer. It is encouraging to remember that none of us can anticipate everything, and that some of what we are learning is how to graciously respond to unanticipated questions. It's okay to say, "I hadn't thought of that--thank you for giving me a new perspective on my topic." :-) Great job!

  4. Courney,

    GREAT to hear from you! I so appreciate your prayers. It will be a while before anyone can call me Dr. Imes, but I hope you'll still call me Carmen. :) Send me an email sometime and let me know what you guys are up to!

    Thanks for your note! I'll be eager to hear how your defense goes. You'll do just great. Your joy and confidence and deep love of your subject will surely shine through. Go get 'em!