I am thankful that I am able to keep working for the same company as I did in Austin. In fact, my morning commute is turning on the computer at the kitchen table. I've met a lot of seminary students so far and I have ascertained that everyone is broke. People are working side jobs, scrapping for scholarships and jumping on any free stuff. Things are a little tight for us too but I'm so glad that God has provided for us the way He has. However, I am still working 40 hours a week though and I'm taking a full load of classes so I don't have a lot of time and won't for a while. My free time will be spent studying or working.
On Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, I went to orientation here at the seminary since I am a new student. The administrators pumped us full of information about schools, callings, rules, free stuff, how to write a paper, etc. However, they did serve desserts on Tuesday night to sort of kick things off while all us new students wandered among these booths they had set up for different programs and clubs we could join. By the time I got to the booth that had the dean of my school my hands were embarrasingly sticky from eating sweets so I couldn't shake his hand. The chocalate truffle I had to eat there was totally worth it though. Ask Karen to tell you about it sometime. She has a real discerning palate and she gave it two (sticky) thumbs up!
It's official--I am a seminary student. My first day of class was on Thursday. For months we have been busy and there has been so much to do that I thought this day would never, ever come. By God's grace though, I am here and I am excited! The campus is beautiful, the classes are interesting, and the people are super nice. We were promised during Orientation that school would be "a BOOTCAMP but a lot of fun". I chuckled a weird, nervous, little sound when I heard this. Now that I have been to classes and have gotten the assignments and the the syllabus-es (yes, I know it is 'sposed to be "syllabi" but this is the way I talk (like saying "'sposed" instead of "supposed")) I know that seminary will be difficult. That's ok though, because God is going to get the glory for bringing me through this since I CANnot do this in my own strength. I am hoping to come out of seminary smaller, purer, and shinier than the big dull lump of ore that I currently am. Of course this involves fire to get there. For those of you who are thinking, "what in the world is Barry trying to say through convoluted metaphors?" I will put it more directly:
- I want to be changed by the Holy Spirit to be more like Jesus
- I want to grow in wisdom and character to be used by God to reach a lost and hurting world with His love and Truth.
We are so blessed to have an adorable 16 month old daughter named Abigail. I titled this section "Chasing Abigail" because we do a lot of that. She has a large bag of tricks. She can run and climb up stairs lickety-split. For a parent this is a little disconcerting because it means that your child can get away from you quickly and in a dangerous position easily. Of course we allow her to play a lot but I feel like I could use a third eye and a few more arms (with extra hands attached, of course). Sometimes we leave the bathroom door open by accident and the toilet lid up (uh-hum, that would be me) and then we hear "splish-splash splish-splash" and Abigail is gleefully playing in the toilet water. Another trick of hers is to climb on top of anything she can--even something as thin as a book lying on the floor and then she will stand on top of it beaming like she is the queen of the world. She is fascinated with belly-buttons; hers and ours. She will lift up our shirt if she can reach to see our belly button. She stopped saying "Mama" some time ago but she says "button" all the time and points to our belly buttons. However, "button" in her language sounds like "Bauww". We love her so much and we thank God for sending her to us. He teaches us so much about His love and our sinfulness through her which are both great reminders.
To close, I want to say that I am a mix of emotions. There is so much more I could write but it will have to wait for another day. The emotions come from being excited about the future, anxious about juggling priorities, sad about missing friends, happy about God's blessings. As you can see, it's a good idea for me to write more when things settle a little bit. Thanks for reading, I'll leave you with a verse. It is popular for people, even those who come from a Christian backgrounds (like Willie Nelson) to say that all religions lead to the same place. Acts 4:11-12 in the Bible says,
"This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."