About six weeks ago I sat in a circle of women I barely knew. It was the second week of Catalyst, a discipleship program at my church, and we’d just been assigned to each other. If all goes well, we’ll move through the 3 semesters of Catalyst as a group. That’s a lot of pressure to put on a first meeting.
To break the ice, my Catalyst leader asked each of us a simple question:
What is your favorite part about walking with the Lord?
I went last. In that moment, the main thing that came to mind was how I didn’t deserve to walk with Him at all. Good thing I had time to think.
“Surprise,” I answered.
And it’s true — He’s constantly surprising me. Sometimes it’s in little things (like the fact that Sarah Bessey herself read and commented on my last post), or sometimes it’s in the truly unfathomable, like how He knows exactly who I am and still chooses me anyway.
And sometimes, it’s in the things I never saw coming.
I don’t know what initially made me think of seminary. There wasn’t anything in my life particularly pointing toward it, no new seminarian friend or billboard on I-35. I thought about it once. Then a couple more times. And then one day I realized I couldn’t get my mind off it.
I know what you’re probably thinking: Seminary?!
Trust me, I thought that too.
In fact I thought a lot of things. I mean, I am just so wholly unqualified for seminary. Let’s set aside the fact that I’m a 21-year-old single woman who, up until two months ago, knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that any move I made for the next 10 years would be in pursuit of a full-time career in music. Isn’t seminary for someone who’s just less… erratic? Less opinionated? More gentle?
Don’t You know who I am?
And then I thought, not again.
If we’ve met in the past few months, you may not know that I thought I would be in New York City by now. I started off 2019 with my first trip to NYC and fell head-over-heels in love. Attending New York University had been a dream of mine since high school. We walked around campus for about one hour, and I started my application in our hotel room. I decided to graduate from college a year early, just in case I got in.
I got accepted in March. Realizing that NYU is the most expensive school in the Western hemisphere, I applied for several opportunities that would have allowed me to go. Then I sat back, folded my hands behind my head, and waited for the money to roll in.
…and it never did.
Not a penny. $60,000 in loans, sure, but I just couldn’t justify that. I waited for a miracle until June, and then I called it. No NYU for me.
But I don’t regret applying. The cool thing about the degree I got into was that I got to design it myself. I chose classes across NYU’s Songwriting, Music Technology, and Arts Politics programs to create a Master of Arts entitled “The Politics of Pop Music: Songwriting as an Agent for Social Change.” I planned to study the way politics and popular music interact with each other, especially in America and especially now. Even though I didn’t end up going, the notion of songwriting as a force for something greater is still very compelling to me.
Ok, so back to seminary.
I did what any good digital native does when they can’t stop thinking about something. I started Googling. In my research, I kept coming across Fuller Theological Seminary. One of the things that first piqued my interest in Fuller specifically was a course they offer called Theology of Pop Music. The class meets online before culminating in a trip to none other than Austin, Texas for South by Southwest (seriously). They aren’t offering the class next year, but its very existence seemed too similar to my NYU concentration to be ignored. Maybe it’s not politics that make music such a powerful agent for change.
Maybe it’s something much bigger.
I also did something I hadn’t really done before applying to NYU: I prayed about it. And after consulting a trusted friend, a mentor, and my mom, I decided it would be an act of obedience to at least apply.
I submitted my application to Fuller last Thursday. I was accepted 2 days later.
So, I start at Fuller Theological Seminary online in January. For real this time. As for why God has called me to go to seminary, He’s still revealing that to me. But I will say the pieces of the puzzle I can currently see are painting a very exciting picture. More on that next time.
And just in case I had any lingering doubt that God is listening…
At Catalyst retreat a few weeks ago, a woman who is not in my group came up to pray over me. These were her words:
“Lord, surprise her.”
He hasn’t stopped answering since.