“Train up a child in the way that he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” ~Proverbs 22:6
When I was a child my dad gave me books at every major gift-giving event. Usually wrapped in newsprint or a grocery bag, I could expect to receive two or three brand-new books from the Toadstool Bookstore at my birthday or Christmas. Among my favorites were Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson, The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by AVI, and An Acceptable Time by Madeleine L’Engle. It dawned on me in a Children’s Lit class during my undergrad years that almost every book that dad gave me had a strong female lead character. When I told him what I had discovered, he matter-a-factly replied, “Yeah, I planned it that way.”
And my dad wasn’t alone. My mother, too, never allowed me to settle in my studies. She reminded me that one day I would have to take care of myself and an education would promise the best security for my future.
After college, I decided to volunteer with a Christian ESL (English as a Second Language) organization in Asia. I learned Chinese and taught ESL for 2 ½ years. When friends of my parents raised issues of concern for my well-being (“It’s so far away!” and “She’s a single woman in a foreign country!”), my parents confidently explained that they had raised me to follow God’s prompting, who were they to step in the way of God’s calling for their daughter.
What does this all have to do with going to seminary? Well, for the first time in my life, I am not feeling like the strong, independent, educated woman of God that my parents trained me to be. I am not feeling like I have purpose, like I did when I followed God’s prompting to go to college, or to serve in Asia, or to marry my husband, or to start a Bible study, or to have a fourth child. No, this time I am feeling more like the side car to my husband’s motorcycle, the silent partner, the “spouse”.
That being said, however, I am also feeling an ever-so-faint confidence. I know it is coming from the Holy Spirit and I am holding on to this little glimmer of hope for dear life. It is the assurance that even though it is Toby’s call to seminary, God has a place for me. God has a plan for me. God has not forgotten His daughter. And He has trained me for this.