And So The Story Goes, Part 2

Three years earlier I had gone through a time of intense prayer and fasting to determine what future God had for me.  I felt God speak to me very clearly that I was to go to seminary because He was calling me to full-time ministry.  This thought had never occurred to me before and it took some time to wrap my mind around it.  The school I was interested in had a distance education program, so I assumed that was the way I was to attend there.  I would not consider leaving Nashville. 

My job required me to travel extensively and I was often out of town Tuesday through Saturday for weeks on end.  With the hours I worked and the demands of travel, I wasn’t able to focus on school work.  I spent several years applying for other jobs, trying to find something that would pay a little more so I could afford school and stay in town.  With nearly every job opening, I made it to the final cut only to lose the job to someone else.  It was very frustrating and I couldn’t figure out what God was doing.  When I got engaged, I truly hoped that we would go to seminary together, which made a lot more sense to me than going as an unmarried female. 

When my engagement ended and everything else fell apart, I knew that God was telling me to GO to seminary – in Virginia Beach.  He was going to get me there, even if He had to kick me out of Nashville by force.  We moved around a lot while I was growing up: I went to 2 elementary schools, 2 middle schools, and 2 high schools – and then I changed colleges three times in four years.  All this transition made stability and security very important to me.  I don’t like to move.  I wanted to live in Nashville for the rest of my life.  Leaving didn’t appeal to me, except that I knew a change of scenery would probably do me some good. 

There was also the huge financial issue of going to school.  I still had debt from my undergraduate degree, plus credit card debt.  I’d worked hard to reduce it significantly, but it wasn’t gone.  I had no idea how I could pay for graduate school, but I applied anyway and prayed hard for financial aid.  I asked God to prove Himself and if He really wanted me to go, I would get a 100% scholarship.  The financial aid letter came back with news of a 20% grant.  I was beyond disappointed, but I knew the minute I read that letter that God was not releasing me from the call.  I had to go.  God led me to the book of Proverbs and showed me many times how Solomon commanded us to get knowledge, get wisdom, and get instruction – and that it was worth any price.  With fear and trembling, I decided to take out student loans.

One thing I had learned well in Nashville is, “It’s all about who you know.”  I knew our church’s senior pastor was friends with the dean of the school.  I tried to set up an appointment with the senior pastor to ask him to let his friend know I was coming to the school.  But our senior pastor was in the middle of writing a paper for Oxford and couldn’t meet with me.  I was devastated, but God reminded me that I knew Him and He is the One who opens and shuts doors. 

My mother and I scheduled a trip to Virginia Beach in July to check the area out and look for a roommate, housing, and a job.  The university hired writing coaches, so I applied for that job.  In the interview it came out that I was a professional meeting planner.  The person interviewing me stopped the interview and took me to meet her co-worker who was trying to hire a graduate assistant to help him plan student workshops.  My background and experience were perfect for what he needed and I got hired.  I was one of the only students who went to school with a job already lined up.  It was such an encouragement to me. 

Not only did that job suit me, but I was put in a cubicle in a large room with other people my age.  We all got along great and had a blast working together.  I used to go in on my days off just to say hi to the friends I worked with.  It also led to a secondary job as the newsletter editor for the university.  Almost everything about that job was a blessing to me and I relished the good atmosphere after what I had just left.  It was healing to my soul.

I had a hard time finding a place to live because housing is so expensive in Virginia Beach and my cat was not exactly a positive thing to perspective roommates.  I prayed and prayed about what to do, not wanting to leave Moses the kitty behind but unable to find a place to live.  Several days before I was to leave for school, I got a call from a woman who rented me a room in her house close to the school and let me bring Moses – all for a really good price. 

After being out of school for six years and struggling with severe depression in college, I was also terrified that grad school would be too hard for me.  I wondered if my brain still worked like it used to or if I’d have to study 2 or 3 times harder than everyone else.  I worried that my professors wouldn’t be interested in teaching a girl.  I was full of fear.  Thankfully I had a few friends who encouraged me and believed in me.  They listened faithfully and repeatedly told me that I could do it.  After all that God had already done to pave the way for me, two weeks before classes started I panicked and seriously considered not going after all.  Through the prayers and encouraging words from my friends, I finally accepted that this was the time I was to go and nothing was going to stop me.  Once my mind was made up, I dove in and gave it everything I had.


Filed under Spiritual Life

3 responses to “And So The Story Goes, Part 2

  1. Kim Wyatt

    How well I remember all that you are writing about. I don’t want to get too personal, because I don’t know how many people will see this, but I’m still amazed by how you persevered through all the trials to get to where you are.

    I, too, am at a point where I’m considering further education and training to become a Pilates instructor. I’ve received lots of encouragement from my instructor, and am her official sub when she’s out of town–a huge vote of confidence! She’s been great about giving me literature and resources, and telling me about affordable, accessible training programs. My biggest hurdle right now is personal commitment, and the fact that I’ve been battling more ear problems (and most likely getting tube put in next week). Oh, and I’m still up to my eyeballs in the day-to-day minutiae of raising a child. So, I haven’t really “felt” like doing much of anything, and it’s taken a lot of determination to even go to my exercise classes lately. In fact, i’m skipping a step class this morning simply because I need to down time.

    So, my question to you is this: Although you had a strong call to go into ministry, you also had very large, very real, obstacles to overcome. Did you ever just not feel like doing any of it, and if so, how did you get past that? How did you know not to give in to that–that it wasn’t an indicator that maybe this wasn’t what you should pursue?

    • kimberlywenger

      Kim, thanks for your thoughts and questions! Yes, I often thought of not doing it at all. It seemed like an impossilbe, terrifying thing to do. There are probably several reasons that I didn’t give in. One reason was that saw only two options – go to school or move back in with my parents. I saw the second option as total failure. I figured if I went to school and failed there, I could always go back home. Another reason is that I felt like God was SCREAMING at me to go. I knew I had lived in fear for too long and had to give it a try. There was no going back. I’d read this book called The Dream Giver by Bruce Wilkinson (I think) and had come to believe that if a dream seemed to big for me to accomplish on my own, it was probably from God. That also helped give me courage. And then I can’t emphasize the importance of the friends who supported me and believed in my dream – including you and Jeff. Without those friendships and support, I’m not sure I could have done it.

      I think you’d make a GREAT pilates instructor and should go for it! You’ve always been an athlete and loved exercise. It seems like it’s right up your alley. I think you’d love it and it would be worth the effort.

  2. Pingback: My Vow « Kimberly Wenger's Blog

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