I wrote a book three or four years ago. It is a collection of writing that I did for our church’s web site. The priest at that time was gracious to agree that it was my intellectual property and so I was free to publish it.
During that same period of time, I was studying to become a deaconess. In my denomination, a deaconess is a non-ordained position; it is a ministry to women and children, as well as being a helping hand to the priest as far as office work is concerned. I was on a spiritual ‘high’ and wasn’t at all tired even though I was working full time and teaching Sunday school with all its attendant prep work. I have rarely been so happy.
I did my year of discernment – read the mandated books, wrote the thought pieces required after each book read. The Board of Examining Chaplains allowed me, at the end of my year, to start my seminary classes. I took my classes, ‘distance learning’, through Logos House Theological Seminary in Maine. I did my practicals – offered Morning Prayer for women in the church (under my priest’s monitoring), I was already teaching Sunday school, and I took my Altar Guild training from a dear, dear woman at church. I graded well on my classes and papers and everything was moving along as one might expect.
Until it was time for the Canonical and the big exams. Under Logos House rules, I had to take a Prayer Book exam (1928 Book of Common Prayer), the Bible exam, and then the Canonical. I failed miserably. Not the fault of the seminary – the exams each had tremendous lists of items that had to be memorized. I had, but didn’t know, that I had reached that phase in my maturity that I could no longer remember lists of things. Four or five items, certainly; not a problem. But this was extensive memory work and I simply couldn’t do it. I failed so horribly, I withdrew from my classes. I simply couldn’t face the Canonical and quite frankly, didn’t want to waste the time of the Board.
At that same time, families in the church moved away and there went our Sunday school kids. The book lay like a dead thing on Amazon. Major turmoil and changes at work. Things a little scruffy at home. It was, indeed the perfect storm.
And I just stopped. All the zeal and desire and happiness in my most inner parts stopped. I didn’t write anymore, church bored me, and anything other than Jesus had my attention.
Then I found a web site in the United Kingdom. ‘Met’ new people – let me tell you right now, I am a hopeless Anglophile and I love the English! Wrote some comments that were received well and I slowly started to feel better. I met Neo on that site and in his kindness, he invited me to write on NEO. The juices started flowing. A little off but I was writing again.
My spirit lifted; I was in love with Jesus again. It wasn’t that I hated Him – I hated myself for failing Him. And then – thank you Heavenly Father – Neo suggested an article go to All Along the Watchtower. I was scared – no joke. He had pointed me that way before but the articles were so far beyond my abilities and the comments so sharp and intelligent, I thought, ‘no way’.
The first article burst the dam – I am free again. I can write again. I can write about Jesus again and share Him and how He moves me.
Grateful. To Neo, to Chalcedon, to the kindness of readers, to the Lord of my life. Grateful.