My senior year of college looked different than the first three years. Every night I packed a lunch. My day consisted of being in the classroom, meeting with parents, staff meetings, and grade-level meetings. My free time included writing lesson plans and finding/creating math games for fourth graders. I loved it. Math has always been a passion of mine, but I know it is not a favorite subject for most people, much less nine year olds. The challenge was showing them math is fun, math is solving problems, math makes life easier. It was a challenge I eagerly faced.
A common question during this time was, “So what are you doing next?” The answer seems quite obvious based on the above text. I was months away from graduating college. I loved my major. I already had my dream job. However, my response was startling: campus ministry in South Carolina. There was usually some shock. I was a little shocked myself.
Before I accepted God’s call to be a teacher, I had another plan. I wanted to use my math skills, not teach them. I wanted to be an engineer. Most people that know me would know that I like making a plan and following through with it until the end. God was patient to soften my heart and reveal to me his plan for teaching while I was too stubborn to change. I saw the gifts He had given to me, and I knew He had his own plan in mind. God released my clenched hands from the control I so desperately sought and led me to RUF. It was a community that loved and cared for me so well. I grew in my faith. I didn’t just learn about Christian community; I lived it.
So why ministry? I do not see it as a two year hiatus from my career. I see it as further training. Loving and pursuing college students is teaching me how to love and pursue my future coworkers. Meeting a college student where she is at to talk about anger is teaching me how to meet a 10-year-old from a dysfunctional home to talk about fractions. Reaching out to that freshman who does not get along with her roommate is teaching me how to reach out to that parent who feels lost and alone.
No matter if I retire from a career of teaching in 30 years or if God calls me to another path, I will always be a church member. The RUF internship is teaching me how to be a part of the body of Christ both in my job and in the church. In ministry, pruning comes with the territory. It has been painful and challenging, but I have grown and learned more than I can imagine. I am thankful for it all.