To you it may just look like another chair in another classroom
But to me it represents the five-year-old girl who wanted to be a missionary
It represents the ten-year-old girl who planned out summer camps
and programs she could run in her backyard
It represents the teenage girl crying in her journal at night
because she felt like she would never fit,
because she just couldn’t keep quiet
It represents agonized prayers trying to change who I am and how I am gifted,
because “women must be silent”
This chair represents a confused twenty-one-year-old laughing at a God
who she thought both forbid and called her to ministry
It represents steps of faith and deconstruction,
and a faithfulness that held every moment of it all
This is the first chair I sat in in my first quarter of seminary,
and even though I can still barely believe it, I am called by God to minister and serve,
and I DESERVE to sit at this table
I was twenty-one when the call finally broke through.
I could show you the journal page, wrinkled and smeared in a simple composition notebook.
“Ministry? Me? No way, Lord.”
The word came in the middle of one of the longest summers, on the heels of one of the longest academic years of my life.
I was halfway through college, and had spent my sophomore year diving headlong into my double-major in Biology and Sports Medicine, working myself into the ground trying to prepare myself for my desired career in physical therapy.
By the end of the school year I was angry, confused and exhausted.
I took a job that summer working as a day camp teacher at a nonprofit center in my hometown.
The days at camp were long and stressful, but they forced me to dig deep into the Scripture, and lean heavily on the Holy Spirit for strength – something that my pursuits in the medical field had not done.
One morning, I was finally quiet and still enough to hear the still small voice that been there whispering all along, and for the first time in my life I wrapped words around the call I felt in my heart.
I wrestled, though, and agonized.
I didn’t have any idea what being called to ministry would look like, I had very few role models to look to and I was consumed with doubt that God would actually call me – as a woman – to pastoral ministry.
But I followed.
In retrospect, I took more of a flying leap than just a step of faith, and I took a position on the pastoral staff of a church plant halfway across the country.
For the past six years I’ve served and struggled and wrestled with my call, and finally, this week I walked into a seminary classroom to begin working on my Master of Divinity.