I was the kid who got excited about back to school sales in August. I was the kid who looked eagerly at the new textbooks. I was the teenager who, upon finding my dad's old accounting textbooks, decided to teach myself accounting. It didn't last long, though. Math and I, we don't work well together.
I love school. I loved teaching my kids because in addition to watching them learn, I got to learn, too. This is who I am. This is one of the things God gave me: a love of learning. I will be forever grateful to my husband for suggesting I leave a very good job and apply to university.
As a woman in the church, this love is not always seen as totally useful. Now, if I love to learn about nursing, there is an obvious use. The love of theology, however is often viewed as simply another accessory, easily removed. The love of other kinds of study, like literature, is seen as not useful at all. Ask my daughter, who when she shares her plans for a PhD in English with people in our church, is met with confused looks, and occassionally, a "What will you do with that?"
There are many ways to serve in the Church. We can take meals, work in the nursery, sing in a choir, put books on shelves in the library. I have done those. But I love to learn and teach, and I want to do that as well as I can. There are people in my life who think seminary is not the best use of my time. It is seen as a luxury, not something that can help me. It isn't "practical" enough; after all, I'm not going to be a pastor. Last spring, when I was in the midst of some heavy trials, it was suggested to me that going to school was adding to the stress. I could not make this individual understand that stress from school is a good stress for me. That was the least of my worries.
I don't know where my seminary education will take me. Perhaps in the next few years, I will become a grandmother and want to quit so I can be a helpful grandma. I'll face that when it comes. I just know that learning does one thing for me that helps me the most in my Christian life: it humbles me. This week, as I was reading my textbooks, and seeing how much there is to learn about God, I was amazed. I was reminded how much I need to learn, and I think that is a step in the right direction.
God made women to be many things, and we can serve in the local church in so many ways. This is the way he made me: to learn and teach. It doesn't mean I don't take my turn in other areas, but it means that I will give myself to my studies, and through the Holy Spirit, it will change me.