I started Seminary in 2007 at the age of 54. I did not want to go to Seminary. It was never part of my big picture plan. When God started ‘pressing’ me to apply, I begged Him to give me another plan. I could not SEE any reason to go to Seminary that late in life. Plus, I had a full time job working for a mortgage division of a bank. I was single and had no other means of support so I didn’t want anything added to my workload. I was focused on survival and my job.
I also had a great volunteer director position at my church in a healing prayer ministry. That was my ministry. That was all I needed.
God had other plans.
Creator God wanted to create something in me. I did not seek it nor did I want it. None of that mattered.
Even on the day I applied to go to Seminary I continued to ask God to have them reject my application. My application was accepted within hours.
In 2007 I began my Seminary journey. Going to Seminary meant reading hundreds of pages of material and constantly writing papers every evening, working full time, running a ministry, and finding a way to navigate the required travel time to Seminary (two weeks in the Spring and two weeks in the Fall). THAT filled my days. I encountered many glitches on my journey. God slowly helped me work through every problem. Twice I asked if I could quit because the load I was carrying seemed unbearable. God said, ‘no’, press on. I seriously felt like Noah. Many friends and family thought I was insane. My four kids knew me well enough to know I would not have started this journey unless God had directed me TO it. I was/am grateful for their support.
I asked God if He had a plan over and over again. God told me then and has told me now He has a plan, but few doors have opened.
When I graduated with my M.Div. in 2013, I expected those doors to fly open. Instead of open doors, God closed the doors to ministry I did have. God directed me to resign from my director position. People were upset that I left that ministry. After that I started writing and teaching a weekly Bible Study as a volunteer, but after a year God closed those doors as well.
At one point I was left with no open doors. No ministry. I was left with dark days of confusion. In my dark days I started going to see a Spiritual Director. He ‘sat’ with me for years. He was a Catholic Priest and after doing research, I learned the roots of Spiritual Direction date back to around 400 A.D.
I love history and God knows I’d learned in Seminary how to do deep dive research. I read about everything I could find on Spiritual Direction. My own Spiritual Director helped me root out my darkest fears. I learned how to FACE the dark and the confusion in my life. Through it all, I learned how to discover God IN my darkness.
When people find out about my personal and very diverse Protestant history, they are surprised that Ive been a member of or attended just about every denomination and church in the United States. I love every one, from mainstream Protestant to Catholic and Orthodox Churches. I can’t say I have a preference for in every space I’ve found God working today.
As I did research, I found a few Catholic saints have been a great help to me.
St. John of the Cross was born in 1542 A.D. and I read everything he wrote. I also read everything written by or about Julian of Norwich who was born 1342 A.D., and I read everything written by Henri Nouwen who was born in 1932. I learned a lot about sitting with God in my dark hours.
I started writing a Spiritual Direction blog and expanded it to the acrazyjourney.com website. I considered naming the website, acrazydarkjourney but I decided that sounded too negative for the content of the site. God is light and in Him there is no darkness and in our dark hours, God shows up with His light. That’s what God did (and is going to do) for me. It is a crazy journey!
Yesterday we studied the first word in Genesis 1...beginning. Today we look at the last part of that verse.
When Eternal God showed up on the formless mass we call earth, HE Created.
Genesis 1:1b says “God created the heavens and the earth.”
As God formulated and thought about creating some THING, what existed was darkness.
There was God, the Beginning.
And there was a blank page.
I’ve contemplated whether the empty space was white or dark, but since scripture refers to God as the light, I believe the empty space was dark before God changed it to light because of His light.
Since God is Omnipresent (the ultimate time traveler), I believe God could see everything for all time that would transpire in the heavens and the earth.
All of God’s hopes and dreams for heaven and earth became part of creation. God is also Omnipotent, all powerful, and Omniscient, all knowing. In that moment when God created the heavens and the earth, He saw everything that was and is and is to come.
God was there in the dark before he created the heavens and the earth, and in my darkest hours and your darkest hours, God was and is there. He will be there with all the power and knowledge HE has (which encompasses everything). From the beginning God had/has a plan for earth.
That plan includes you. That plan includes me. Even though I don’t know the fullness of God’s plan for me and you may not know the fullness of God’s plan for you, THERE IS A PLAN.
I don’t know about you, but I am counting on that! I expect that when the whole of my life is almost done, I will be able to look back and say, “Oh, now I see.”
It might be nice to have some idea how it will unfold, but I suspect that I might not understand it today even if I saw it.
For now...I am grateful that in our ‘dark’ hours before God created the heavens and the earth, He KNEW. I am grateful that in my ‘dark’ hours, God knew. I am grateful that in your ‘dark’ hours, God knows.
Today’s Spiritual Practice is: Sit with God in the Dark
Spend time sitting in silence in the dark with God. Hear God whisper your name and let God love you.
In the dark with God, Deborah