I'm going to seminary! The word "excited" doesn't even begin to explain what I think about this. All words seem inadequate. While journaling recently, the coined word "Awe-titude" popped into my mind. It's where AWE and GRATITUDE merge. That's how I feel.
Classes at Phoenix Seminary start next week. My life-long dream is coming true! Am I exaggerating about that "life-long dream" thing? Well, only a little bit. I didn't come out of the womb longing to go to seminary. Yet the dream has been hiding in my heart for many decades.
Here's how it happened--My Journey to Seminary in Bullet Points:
- At 7 years old I wanted God. Searched for Him by thumbing through the old family Bible that was sitting on our coffee table. Months later when asked if I wanted to know Jesus, I said, "Yes!"
- In 7th grade, I sensed God calling me to "full-time Christian service." After determining that it was NOT "just all in my head", one day I flopped down on my bed in my attic room and prayed, "Okay, God, I say yes. I'll do what you want and go where you lead...even if it is to Africa."
- Setting my eyes on this goal, I cultivated a personal relationship with my Lord, Savior, and Friend, and entered Moody Bible Institute after my high school graduation.
- I fell in love with a guy who planned to enter the pastorate and we became husband and wife before I finished Moody. (Yes, it was "Dick Webb". The Richard that I'm still married to.)
- I lived out my "call to full-time Christian service" as a pastor's wife. Then after 12 years, I lost my platform for ministry when Richard told me he was leaving his work as a pastor. This news shocked me beyond words.
- Thinking God must have changed His mind, I entered the business world and did well, going from $100,000 in sales one year to almost $1,000,000 the next. Eventually I burned-out and crashed. I was off-purpose, disregarding my "Yes" to God and my deeply held dream.
- As I recovered from burnout, people-pleasing, perfectionistic thinking, over-doing, and workaholism (60-80 hour work weeks were normal), I decided that it would be wise for me to go back to what God and I agreed on when I was 12.
- Rocking the boat A LOT, I changed inside and out. (Yes, it was a challenging and long process! Richard and I changed the way we did our relationship. Not easy. I respect him for hanging around.) I got more training, some certificates, and eventually wrote 13 books (based on scriptural truth), taught the Bible, traveled to Central Asia and the Middle East (including Egypt in the north tip of Africa!) with a mission organization, and worked to free and empower God's people through Life Coaching and LifePlanning. AND...
- Ashamed to tell anyone, I held my secret desire to go to seminary close to my heart, for decades. I had my reasons for hiding:
- * I was a woman and much of the church and Christian community didn't encourage females who had spiritual gifts of teaching or knowledge. The spiritual gifts of helps, mercy, and hospitality were okay for females.
- * Seminary would cost too much, take too much time, and with each year I was getting too old. I didn't have the money, time, or years.
- * I assumed people thought it wasn't necessary for me and I wasn't free enough to ask for what I wanted.
- * And the big shame for me: I believed I wasn't good enough because I didn't have the right credentials or education!
Then to assure me that I wasn't going to spend the rest of my days in a rocking chair knitting scarves, God encouraged me with this message: "Joan, the rest will be icing, so sweet. If you go to seminary, it will take a miracle."
And here I am at the beginning of 2014: living out the miracle. I'm going to seminary! My life-long dream. 54 years after that 12 year-old YES prayer to God. And Richard is part of my dream come true. He's delighted for me. See why I'm feeling such "awe-titude"?
Please join me in the celebration. When have you experienced a kind of "AWE-TITUDE" in your life? I'd love to hear. Leave me a comment and tell me what you're thinking.