Will there be a place for me?

The last year and half or so, I’ve been on another maternity break from seminary.  During the haze of a newborn baby, my brain went to mush, I felt drained and anti-social, and this led, of course, to doubting and wondering about my calling as a pastor.  When I got out of the haze, I had to face the financial reality of the cost of seminary, and this precipitated questions of whether I should return at all.  The fact is, I really can’t afford seminary.  And for all the money I will pour into my seminary education, will there even be a place for me in the end?  Will there be a church that will hire me?  How will I repay the debt I will owe if I take out loans?  Looking at the handful of churches in my city that are egalitarian, I can’t help but feel discouraged.  And I wonder… do men ever wonder this?  Over the years (and I have been at seminary for six years), I have watched my fellow male seminarians graduate and find positions in churches with ease, and (the truth is) I have felt the pangs of jealousy that finding a position came so easily for them.   And while I know that the road is never easy for anyone in ministry, I know also that my male colleagues will never have doors closed to them based on their gender.  There will always be a place for them.  They don’t have to worry about opportunities because they have so many churches to choose from.  When will it be the same for women who are equally trained, called and gifted?

So what are my options for after I graduate with a Master of Divinity? 

1.  Start my own church

2.  Take a position at a church without the proper pastor title

3.  Search/wait for a pastor position at a church

At this point, not sure I’m ready to do #1, though I know that is something God has planned for me eventually.  #2 is not my ideal, though my chances of finding a position would be higher.  #3 is what I really desire at this point in my ministry journey, but the opportunities are so few and far in between.  But — and this is a big but! — I live and breathe and keep taking steps forward because I trust that the God who has guided me to this will be the one who will provide for me — the exact kind of position for me to fulfill my calling.

I love seminary.  I love studying and delving into the Scriptures and being reminded of the great and mighty God who loves me and has done everything he can to demonstrate his love for all people for all of time.  I love counseling others to know who they are in God and how they can live out who they have been called to be in him.  I love showing others God’s deep and unfathomable love for them and how they can love him back in the same kind of unhindered and unencumbered kind of way — and find that, in this pursuit, they have found who they were created to be and what they were created to do for all their lives and all of eternity.  We were made to worship the one true, loving, living God, and our hearts and souls are not whole until we are engaged in this every moment of every day.  And this is my calling — to help others be inspired, encouraged, enabled and empowered to do this very thing.  And this is why I am back at seminary, and this is why I am trusting God to provide for my financial needs — because there is nothing else worth pouring my time and finances and life into than this.

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