As I sit typing this, I have a list of things that I’m working on for seminary classes in a little book on the end table to my left.  A couple of papers, some significant reading, two short 250-word posts to complete and submit to our online learning portal.  I’ll have two conference calls Thursday evening and much to my irritation, a Greek quiz (I was supposed be done with that!) to submit before Friday evening.

And it’s all Servants of Christ’s fault.

Let me explain.  Many of you have walked beside me in one way or another as I move along the path of seminary – and a few of you have even kept me company when I fell into a pothole or two along the way.  Since starting seminary, I’ve experienced a divorce, moved into my apartment, I had to close my therapy business, and the death of my last surviving grandparent.  The final straw was that among my caseload as a mental health therapist there were three deaths by suicide in less than three weeks during the month of October 2017.  I was left emptied – nothing more to give at all.

And so I started praying.

Let me be clear – I have always prayed.  It’s a part of my routine that I don’t even need to think about to do.  But now I really prayed.  That’s when I started to be able to hear God’s answer:  Trust in me.  I will lead, you just need to follow.  You’re last employment has run its course – time to trust me and go where you know you’ve been called.

So I left my job to take seminary classes full time.  And as soon as I did so, do you know what happened?

A number of opportunities for some financial wiggle room opened up – some of which I’m still exploring.  The amount of daily anxiety I was experiencing dropped so significantly, that the blood pressure medication I had just been put on was lowered.  Even my dog was more relaxed!  Things fell into place that I hadn’t even realized were out of place.  Trying to do things my own way certainly wasn’t working – and now that I’ve decided I am going to do my best to do them God’s way… Well, I won’t say that things are perfect or that I don’t have stress in my life (stupid Greek quiz!), but now I know that the direction I’m going is toward God.

So to get back to the point, why is this Servants of Christ’s fault?

First, Servants of Christ continues to offer financial support for my education.  Without that support, I would not be able to afford classes, let alone be able to have some extra for my housing while on campus, books, and all the other necessities that comes with graduate school.  Second, Servants of Christ was the first healthy Christian community I have experienced.  I’ve had a sense of calling since I was a young girl and it was only after I had a truly supportive community to nourish it that I was willing to accept this calling and let it out.  Third, Servants of Christ has not only accepted, but welcomed, encouraged, prayed for and supported me as you have seen me start to “grow into” my pastoral identity.  Next year, it may be (depending on what the needs of the church are) that I won’t even live in Indiana anymore as I serve my internship.  However, Servants of Christ will always be home because it was while I was with you that I learned how to listen to God.

Blessings and Joyful Listenings,

Sharilyn Wendt