Some of you probably have a little bit of an idea of what my school career has been like, but since not everyone knows, I’ve decided to lay it all out there for you (fyi: this post is WAY longer than I would usually allow on our blog, but it’s kind of a long story):
“In West Pensacola born and raised, on the beach is where I spent most of my days, chillin’ out, maxin’, relaxin’ all cool and all, surfing some waves instead of goin’ to school…” (you liked that, didn’t you?)
In high school I started off as a decent student, making mostly Bs and Cs. I think things probably started getting worse when I got my driver’s license, because I really did end up at the beach most days instead of going to school. Bad idea, but it was fun at the time. :-) By my senior year, I had failed too many classes, and so I had to pass my Math and Science classes in my second semester in order to graduate. Those two classes happened to be 1st and 2nd period, unfortunately. I think at that point I had already given up anyway, so I almost never made it to school before 3rd period, if I made it at all. When it came time for my high school graduation, I finally realized what I had missed out on. I definitely remember sitting in the Civic Center wishing that I was walking across the stage with all my friends. But I wasn’t.
The year following high school I had really just given up on everything. No diploma meant no college, no good job, and nothing to look forward to for me. About a year later, I met Diana (who happened to be a high school dropout herself…except she was a junior in college by that point). I really had the hots for her, and I really didn’t want her to think that I was that big of a loser, so I decided I’d get my GED to impress her. It worked. :-) A few months later, I really began to struggle with my call to ministry. I had known since I was 15 or 16 that God was calling me into ministry, but up until that point I would never actually admit it out loud. Somewhere around the Spring of 2004, I finally surrendered to that call. I knew that I really needed to get an education to prepare myself for ministry, but the thought of seminary…just school in general, actually…made me break out into a cold sweat and tear up a little. :-) I just didn’t think I could do it.
The first semester was really hard. I was working full-time and going to school full-time, all while my fiance was 200 miles away finishing up her last semester of college. After we got married, we moved to Flomaton, and I bounced around a couple of community colleges and knocked out some of my basic core classes. I knew that I really wanted to finish up my undergraduate degree with some kind of Biblical Studies or Christian Ministry focus. I started looking at the degrees offered at the University of Mobile, but it was WAY too much freakin’ money to go there, even with scholarships. In July of 2007, we packed up and moved to New Orleans and I started back as a full-time student at NOBuTS that Fall. I’m not sure that I ever really expected to graduate. It just seemed like this unending cycle of classes and papers.
But three years later, just last weekend in fact, I actually became a college graduate. I have a Bachelor of Arts in Christian Ministry. I never, EVER, would have thought I’d be able to say that. The next year holds a lot of life changes and financial strain for us, but after we’ve made it through some of that I really want to start on my Master’s degree. I DEFINITELY never thought I would say that.
School is still not one of my strengths. It’s something that I have to work really hard at. But I’ve really come to understand the importance of a good education, especially for ministers. I’ve also learned how to enjoy reading and studying to continue educating myself…an idea that was totally foreign to me about 5 or 6 years ago. But hey, if I can do it, anyone can!