Wrapping Up the Semester

Where has the time gone? I am now almost done with my first semester of graduate school. A year ago, even the first part of this summer, the thought of continuing my education still seemed like just a dream, and here I am with 3 courses behind me! It has definitely not been an easy semester. There were moments when the reading list and assignments for the week seemed so overwhelming and of course those were the weeks when work was also crazy, leaving me little time for homework. But, I have survived, and I hope that I have learned a few things a long the way. I confess I am not always the best at truly soaking up information; often I just work to get it all done and I don’t take the time to let what I’m studying stick with me. But, here are a few things I will take away from the semester.

~ I now have the route memorized to DBU and could probably do it in my sleep (although I wouldn’t advise this method as Texas drivers are slightly crazy). But, in the drive to school I have experienced wielding my way through the bottleneck traffic of 2 accidents, 3 drives during rush hour, and countless times of defensive driving when some of the afore mentioned crazy drivers have decided they just had to be in my lane. This might sound pretty insignificant, but for a farm girl these were milestones of my driving career.

~ I am mastering the art of writing in the Turabian style, after writing 3 research papers this semester. Considering I had never heard of this style before starting at DBU, I have progressed greatly in footnoting and referencing!

~ I was really inspired this semester by the international students in my class on campus. They are so passionate about taking what they are learning back to their countries and sharing the hope of Christ there.

~ I had taken a theology class in my undergraduate days, but I think this time I cared a little bit more about what I was learning. It’s funny, but I went to a college that celebrated John Calvin’s birthday, had entire semester classes on Calvinism, and I also attended a Reformed church for 2 years, but I finally have started to understand some of the concepts of Calvin’s ideas on justification and predestination this semester. I have also learned that we think our denominations are so different and there are the Reformed distinctives and the Baptist distinctives, but really when you look at it we are a lot more the same than we might think. There might be some traditions that are different across the denominations, but the heart of the Gospel, the Lordship of Christ, the death and resurrection and atoning sacrifice of Jesus, the working of the Holy Spirit, that is what should unite us. I’m not sure if this was something the professor would have wanted me to take away from the semester, but I’ve seen how as Christians we can get very caught up in the wrong things and miss out on the most important things. This isn’t just a problem today, but through the centuries an incorrect perspective has caused so many problems.

~ Our spiritual growth needs to be both personal and in community. In my Spiritual Formation class we studied the spiritual disciplines, and I saw this semester the importance of holding each other accountable in the practice of the disciplines. This shouldn’t be done in a rigid way, but the disciplines point us to Christ (or they should) and encourage us to dig deeper in our faith.

~ I now know where to park on campus when the main parking lot is full, saving hours of driving around trying to find a parking place.

It will be good to have a new round of classes next semester and to continue to learn what God has for me. I hope that I will be able to soak up more of the information that is provided for me, as God prepares me for the next season He has in store.

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