Good morning! It may be later in the day for you, but pretend you are enjoying a lovely sunrise with me as you read. The sun is busy rising over the mountains, casting pastel hues. It’s a happy morning — cheerful skies lighting our hilly horizon. My heart is light and happy and relieved today. A load of responsibility has been lifted. I’ve been climbing a personal mountain, as some of you know. All of us have mountains to climb — placed before us by genes, heritage, circumstance, and those of our own choosing. Many mountains surround us. Some we must climb, and others, in our fascination, we choose to climb. We are determined to make an attempt.
Years ago, I had a desire that was simply rooted in my love of learning. (I fell in love with learning in the fifth grade.) I had the desire to pursue a doctoral degree, but I needed to keep my attention on my family, and then my health disintegrated so just living through a day became the mountain of challenge. Over the years, my health has improved, though the basic issues never go away. Finally, I found a good opportunity and a good time. Or so I thought. In July of 2006, I began my studies, but found that I still was not physically and emotionally prepared to attempt this adventure. So, I dropped out of the studies, but re-enrolled two years ago. I was much stronger by then.
My only goal in re-enrolling was to attempt and complete one course. That would be an accomplishment. Even if I did no more, I’d have completed something — one doctoral level class. I had quit, but I was not a quitter. I remember when our older daughter entered a competition that offered some college tuition. She applied to be a contestant in the Strawberry Festival Queen’s Competition in 2000. As she became involved in the practices and preparation, she realized that this was not her sort of thing. She told me so. I said to my daughter, “I understand. But you’ve started this, and you can see it through.” She did. She was voted “Miss Congeniality” by her fellow contestants, and she earned a place on the queen’s court. The girls represented our town of Troy, Ohio in many events that summer and fall, providing our daughter with great civic and social experiences. While she was building her character, she was accumulating great memories for life!
This lesson expressing our family’s value of not giving up but persevering, this lesson of finding the good and valuable in a challenging opportunity — this lesson dogged my conscience. I greatly disliked that I had quit. I had wasted a lot of money. I had accomplished nothing by enrolling in a program and then giving up.
I started again and began my first course. It was very challenging. “Research within a Christian Worldview.” I listened to lectures taking notes furiously. I read and marked up some heavy books and wrote a series of papers. I was learning another level of research. I was learning how to evaluate secular literature through a biblical lens. I enrolled in “Bibliographic Research Design,” learning not only more about “scholarly research” but also about crafting a higher level of research paper myself. Then I began my theology classes. Yum.
So, I began the ascent. Like rock climbing, one upward step at a time not looking back. I finished one class, then another, and another. By the way, the name of this mountain is a DRS –Doctor of Religious Studies with an emphasis in Theology. From Trinity Seminary in Indiana.
I don’t normally write so personally, but I’d like to share my joy with you. I have reached a major summit. I have now complete 36 doctoral credits, completing all of my required coursework! In June I will begin the ascent toward the dissertation. I expect that climb to take between 1 1/2 and two years. If I make it, I make it. I have already achieved a good goal. I have accomplished an “ABD” (all but dissertation). Ha!
Since God has designed me to love to learn, it is right that I pursue learning as I can. And I know my responsibility is to use that growth in ways that serve and bless others. So this little blog is such an outlet. I hope my little messages encourage your hearts.
Heart. That will be my next blog topic. What is your heart? What do you do with “all of your heart”? Have you invited Jesus “into your heart”? We’ll get to the heart of the matter.
For now, please rejoice with me. This mountain was there. This mountain attracted my attention. Attempting it has strengthened my heart. I hope I have pleased my Lord in the ways I have responded to these learning opportunities. I hope the Lord is rejoicing with me.
May the Lord bless and strengthen you. May His face shine upon you as you climb your mountains.
A sunny good day to you!!
I know that you are pleasing the Lord with your Whole Heart and I am rejoicing with you!!!!
Congratulations, Karen! I am so proud of you and grateful to God. Marty