Quick Seminary update…

Well guys… I’m almost halfway through the first semester of seminary! WOOHOO! After learning about words and terms I’ve never heard before like: Prolegomena, Supralapsarianism and eschatology. Or, having to apply things you have always heard but never really dived into like: Calvinism, Postmodernism, christian contextualization and Esoteriology.  And you haven’t lived life until you’ve heard a theology professor explain the Trinity and then afterwards say: “if you understood that, then you don’t actually understand.” LOL! But let me tell you… As amazing as it is, I feel like I’m on information overload! Such AMAZINGLY information, but to have it all at one time (5 classes worth) it can kind of give you brain cramps!

1.) Classes: My favorite class right now is bible study methods and hermeneutics which is taught by the school president (Mark Bailey) how I make it into his class? GRACE Lol! He’s such a genius, and has all this historical information in his brain! My devotional time in the morning as I read my bible is SO MUCH different. This class literally teaches you how to dissect the scripture and look way past the surface level of what’s there. The first week, I low key felt like I was in English 101 all over again, bc we took an entire day to go through grammar. And it makes it better that at the drop of a hat, he has some really cool cultural or historical background information of the scriptures, and it changes your whole perspective! This class literally makes you realize that context is so important when reading the bible. Everything is contextual.

2.)Homework: Ooooooh, my goodness as much as I enjoy the homework assignments and the research papers, it is so much work. And yes, I understand that this is what happens in grad school… BUT… When the professors are literally teaching you a completely different way of reading and understanding the bible, and shoving theological terms in your ears each and everyday, it gets difficult to take your newly found knowledge, and put it with your old way of studying/writing without getting a little winded to say the least. Atleast the homework is interesting though…and since I’m not working anymore I have Monday Wednesday and Friday off to study and read… Read all 25 of the textbooks I need to have finished by end of November :-O !!!! 

3.) What I’ve learned: Thus far, I can honestly say Ive learned more about myself than I thought I would in the first semester – rather than a bunch of information (which I have done also don’t get me wrong lol).  I haven’t had that initial “shock” I’ve often heard people say they have… Usually from all the different theological viewpoints that some have never had to think about let alone “believe”…But I think they’re interesting and fun to explore. These classes and the content have brought up things in me I didn’t know were there and they’ve helped me reconcile assumptions I’ve had about spiritual things. My spiritual life class which covers the book of Romans has helped me understand in a new and exciting way what sin really is, what grace really is and how it affects us. By the way I have to have Romans 6:1-14 memorized by next month for this class…. Yea. Lol I’m not good with memorizing!!!

So I’m excited for next semester ; Trinitarianism, Old Testament History, NT introduction, and evangelism! Can’t wait!! I can’t wait to angelology either Lol

Love ya’ll so much, and thanks for following me on this journey ūüôā

 

“They that wait…”

“Delight yourself also, in the lord, and he shall give you the desires of your heart”….

So, if you know me personally then you know that this has been a VERY exciting year for me. One reason especially, because I will finallyyyyyyyyyyy be starting seminary school in the fall. Emphasis on “finally” because it has been a difficult road for me to get here, (a¬†five year road to be specific). But, I wouldn’t trade the process for any other journey because I have truly, truly found out what it means to wait on and trust in¬†The Lord, when your desires are rooted in His.

I was accepted into Dallas Theological Seminary in the spring of 2011 for Biblical Counseling… a little after I graduated from PVAMU. I knew God had told me to go to school. I just knew it, felt it, desired it so¬†much.¬†This has to be Him telling me to do this right? It made so much sense to me!¬†Well, long story short I ran with the desire, applied, and¬†I was accepted but I ran into a few issues.

1.) I needed tuition money: I hadn’t saved up any money, since I wasn’t able to find a job out of school¬†right away, and I did NOT want to apply for anymore loans. yuck. So I guess ill get a job?….

2.) Couldn’t find a job: I literally did not find work from early 2010- late 2012… Ummm, Ok Lord….

3.) Didn’t have a car: I’m not making my parents commute back and forth to campus, picking me up/taking me to school everyday. Nope. Not going to happen. I am growwwwwwn (*snaps fingers*)

…All that to say, I pushed my acceptance out every semester for almost a year and a half, while I tried to find a job in order to pay for a car, and save money for tuition, when finally DTS said I couldn’t push it out anymore. I would have to re-apply all over again. Frustrated, I asked The Lord, “Why would this happen? I thought you wanted me to go to Seminary? Where are these resources supposed to come from?!” And very quietly The Lord said, “I don’t want you working, or doing anything right now…Just wait until its time, and spend everyday with me.” So I did. I put everything on hold, and spent almost 2 years just waking up, praying in my closet a few hours, reading my bible and spending time with the parents. And I learned SO MUCH about God, myself, and truly became obsessed with Him Lol. (Now of course, down the line I got a job; you can go read my first blog post, to hear all about that!- and I eventually got a car, Praise Jesus). But the longing in my heart was still ever present…If I could jus get the money, all would be well in the world!!

So¬†okay. I’ll just forget about it Lord.

Lets fast forward to this year, 2015. I’ve been working for about two years now, trying (key word is trying) to save up money for school, but all the while if I’m going to be honest, I had started to give¬†up. My savings account was just NOT growing at all, and I didn’t know what to do since I’ve never qualified for grants.¬†I accepted in my mind that seminary was obviously supposed to happen later in my life. Maybe once I’m married… maybe down the line as an older woman I’ll go… I don’t know. But something happened in January. I felt this nudge out of no where to expect something to happen. Didn’t know what it was, especially since I was not thinking it was school anymore. That was four lonnnng¬†years ago…

I ran into the young adult pastor at my church who said, “Hey you know there is a scholarship open for incoming seminary students? You should apply, the application is due at end of next month…” I gave him a very quick, “Sorry, but I haven’t even applied to school, let alone thought about trying again in¬†almost a year.” Now, this man asked me almost every time I saw him, if I had applied, to the point where I said, “Ok God…is this you?” As soon as I asked Him, I got a knot in my throat…uh-oh…this really might be it??? So, I told myself, it couldn’t hurt to at-least try, so I hurriedly applied for school again, and checked that off the list. I then browsed over to the¬†church scholarship application where to my surprise, the details were as follows:

Must be an active member at-least 5 years (….hey, that’s me…) must be serving in a church ministry at-least 3 years (…Hey, that’s me too…)¬†Must be involved in this, must be involved in that, get recommendations from these people, and so on, and so on, and so on… Hey, I have all of these strangely specific involvements AND needed time frames….As I scroll to he bottom of the page I see that this scholarship is SPECIFICALLY for women, entering seminary for the FIRST time, and will be given $25,000…………… God…THIS. IS. CRAY CRAY.

Had I started school in 2011, and decided to stop because I couldn’t make payments on time, or consistently get a ride to campus,¬†I wouldn’t have been qualified to apply for this strangely specific scholarship (because you have to be going for the first time) It literally will pay 95% of my schooling over a 2year time frame. No wonder The Lord said WAIT so many years ago. He wanted me to have THIS funding, at THIS time, and I needed these past 4¬†years to get involved with the strangely specific ministries needed to qualify, that I wasn’t involved in before. Its almost like this scholarship was DESIGNED by God, through the church staff¬†FOR me and my situation. Talk about God supplying your needs before even knowing what they are right?! ūüėĬ†¬† So what can we take from this?..

Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the lord with all your heart, and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” Now I know I just used this scripture in my last post, but this scripture is so perfect for so many different things. When we trust God, we are actively striving to show Him that we believe what He has promised… To be faithful. He tells us over and over again, :Child, I am the trustworthy one…lean all your weight on ME for I am the only one that can support you and never fail or break.” ¬†In order to trust God, you must relinquish all control. Give him complete control over your life, and fret not about what you don’t understand. The scripture is telling you that when you¬†put your trust in him for whatever situation, you WILL have the tendency to rely on understanding it with your feeble mind. Give it to Him. Acknowledge Him in all things, decisions, and situations. Allow him to be a part of your everyday stuff (what freeway should I take today? How should I ask my boss this question? What time should I go to bed today? Who do I need to call and get advice from? etc.)¬†Once you do that, you will start this ever growing process of getting to know His heart and what He desires…Building a REAL relationship, and knowing Him intimately. Therefore, you will then plainly see how He is constantly making paths in your life straight…He is changing your perception and helping you ENDURE the allotted time of waiting on Him to fulfill that desire.¬†When we wait on God to act, or give us¬†an answer it can be tiring. But just know that He heard you.

I waited for almost 5 years and almost gave up hope, but I steadily told myself, “You know this desire has come from The Lord, and matches things you want to purse in your future…Just give him time.” So this past January when I felt like something was coming, I had my eyes and heart open, and I’m so thankful that God was patient with me. I cried, and screamed and got mad at Him so many times! Just throwing all kinds of tantrums. But because He is faithful, and patient toward us and our screaming, I was able to lean on Him and trust that He was up to something.

New Living Translation
“The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.” – 2Peter 3:9

Me receiving my scholarship award! :D Seminary here I come!
Me receiving my scholarship award! ūüėÄ Seminary here I come!

“But how, Lord?”

Have you ever been frustrated because you didnt know how  you were going to get somewhere, how you were going to pay for something, or even how you were going to deliver an unpleasant message to a friend? My answer is a big fat “YES I HAVE.” And sometimes, I hate to say, but it makes it more frustrating when someone says, “The Lord has already taken care of that, or just wait and see, or just know He will make a way,” because you already know that truth, and now your mad at yourself because youre not confessing the very truths that you KNOW you believe in. Sucks. Yet your flesh is saying, “but,how, when, why??” and the spirit says, “just believe.” IT’S SO FRUSTRATING! Right?? Do you agree or is it  just me?? And because you are a believer, you KNOW the truth is that God is always going to help you through the situation. Phillipians 4:19 says, “and my God will supply every need of yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” That means He will supply you with the knowledge you need, the peace of mind you need, or even the kindness you need in order to keep your mouth shut when you want to go OFF..Lol. But this can be difficult for me often times because one thing about me is that I LOVE to know. Im that girl that loves to sit at lectures, or listen to my favorite preachers over and over again, or be in the midst of intellectual conversations. Intellect, philosophy, history books and forums intrigue me for whatever reason. But with that comes an issue sometimes. I serve a God, that often doesnt give me all the answers when I want how I want. He might not tell me why a certain thing happened, or tell me the details about a situation I’m praying for. He wants me (and you) to listen, seek Him, and wait patiently for the appropriate time. THAT IS SO HARD TO DO! Especially when your dealing with something that needs an immediate decision. But…He always comes through. For example…

Ive been to the doctor alot lately…and I mean A LOT. I was recently diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis disease, along w/other complications like chronic gastritis, high bood pressure, PCOS, you know…all the lovely things no one wants to have Lol. So as you can imagine my medical bills have been through the roof. I had to pay the full amount for an upper endoscopy then follow up with my GI speacialist. I was so eager to get my results when I pulled into the parking lot of the doctors office after waiting  3 weeks for results to come back. But as soon as I turned off the engine, I realized I didnt have my copay…tears began to swell up in my eyes. I hadnt even eaten lunch because I didnt have cash to buy fast food, and I didnt want to use my credit card since I had recently used it for another large expense, and I had no idea what to do. So i said, “Lord…you know how badly I want these results…and I have no money with me. Just do it for me somehow.” Then immediately He said, “Alright, then get out of your car and go get the results…” 

Got out the car. Checked in. When my name was called, the sweet receptionist said “Miss Rhodes theres an issue with your account right now. We realized a few weeks ago that you actually OVERPAID for your procedure last month and its left you with a large enough credit to cover todays copay AND cover the old balance you had with us from the last follow up visit…. SAY WHAT?! ūüôā

GOD has already supplied every need you have. No need to wonder how he will do it, or when, just know that when He walks with you, He knows exactly what to do. when you really think about it, My copay was taken care of 2 weeks before my actual appointment. The money problem I didnt realize I had until the day of, was already fixed 2 weeks prior. Im sorry, this might be a small example, but thats news to me! Lol!

Believing that God will come through is more than just “thinking positive things.” It can be scary living this life and knowing that the only thing you have to hold onto is the words of The Lord. Having faith is an action word, and until we step out and live as if “that thing” is already done, then you have to honestly ask yourself, “Do I trust Him?” Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in The Lord with all your heart, and lean not unto your OWN understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.” The first step to being able to live a life of faith is trusting Him and what His word says, NOT the small bit of information you think you understand. Yes, please excersise your God-given wisdom, and be practical but always rely on His word to guide you through the situation. The verse says to acknowledge Him in all your ways first… and then He will make your paths straight. Notice it doesnt say ‘He will straighten your paths so that you feel more comfortable acknowledging him and proceeding forward. When you can’t see the end, its hard to act like you know its there…I know. But He’s telling you to trust Him. 

And He is the most trustworthy Person I know. 

**if you have thyroid disease, a wonderful blog that has helped me is HowDidSheGetFit !! Shes a believer and super transparent with her journey<3 **

A new season, The same hope.

Life. It’s quite a large and intimidating word isn’t it? Well it can be, when you think about it in depth. So many issues, desires, expectations, losses and achievements. Friends, family, enemies, beliefs and thoughts.¬†For most people the “main” idea and goal¬†is that¬†you’re born, go to school and get a job, move up the ladder and get a family, and save enough money in order to retire when you’re old and settled. We as a people have the idea that this is fulfilment. That this is a great life, filled with great adventure and purpose…The typical rout you’re supposed to take….

But what about all of the things that happen in the middle? Where is PURPOSE and God centered direction?

Let me tell you a story. About me of course. A story that would have gone a whole lot different if I didn’t have my Jesus. I graduated from Prairie View A&M University (the greatest HBCU in tha worrrrld) in May of 2010. Everyone is telling me where to apply for jobs, how to conduct myself, and introducing me to whatever uncle, aunt or relative that is working in the necessary field of work. Let me tell you that I was without a job for two years straight…TWO YEARS! Literally waking up in my mom and dads house everyday, applying for jobs, going on interviews and never getting close to one. On top of the fact that all of my friends were back in Houston, and not with me at home in Dallas. One day as I was praying in my closet I said “Lord, what is it!? why is this not working??” and clear as day He spoke to me and said, “I don’t want you to work right now… When it’s time, Ill just bring a job to you…just spend your time with me right now” ….. Ummm, say what now Lord? You want me to just wake up everyday, not do anything and one day you will “bring me” a job? (whatever that means)

So I did. I woke up every day for a full year and a half reading my bible, praying in my closet for hours at a time, journaling all my thoughts and desires, and resting in Him. Honestly it was the best time of my life. I truly got to know Jesus in a way I NEVER would have been able to, had I been out in the world all day, then coming home too¬†tired to get in any devotional time. So guess what happened? here’s where it gets good…

One day, in the month of January 2012 (2 years later) I had a dream that I was in a hospital full of people on exam beds.. I walk into an exam room and a man says “Hurry! You don’t have much time left! You’ve been given grace, because you’re running out of time!”… I woke up confused of course until The Lord whispered “Check your email.” Now mind you, I never used my email at this time because I wasn’t doing, or involved in anything. what use was an email?! But I checked it… and wouldn’t you know I had an email, (from my now,¬†current boss) who is a member of my church.¬†2 years prior I told her I¬†had just graduated.¬†Her email said “Hi Alyssa, I remember a few years ago you were looking for a job, and well we have an opening we want to just give you¬†if you’re interested.”

1) The dream was in a hospital – My job is an OB/GYN doctors office in a hospital

2) The man in the dream told me to hurry because I was running out of time – this email was dated 3 WEEKS OLD… (lol) I was definitely on the clock!

3) The Lord said in the beginning that He would bring me a job – well wouldn’t you know that I had to do NOTHING except check an email, and call to say “I accept.” ??

All this to say… Jesus is faithful. And He literally brought what He said He would…Now has a lot happened to me over the past 5 or 6 years since college graduation? More stories? More situations I could talk on and on about not related to my “work” life? Yes. Of course. But this is just the one example I have that I can say kick started a new trust in Jesus that¬†I wouldn’t have, had¬†I not had those two lovely and sweet years of Him all to myself with no distractions. He is quite capable of blowing your mind. This was just one example of a “middle piece”¬†in my life story. I’m excited to say that ill be starting seminary school this fall at Dallas Theological Seminary getting a Masters in Biblical Studies. And I cant wait for the awesome and miraculous things to come.

Me and My Boss! :) My other boss (his wife who sent the email) is taking the pic lol
Me and My Boss! ūüôā
My other boss (his wife who sent the email) is taking the pic lol

Be Loved. He’s waiting.