Jessica McConnell l NTS Class of 2016
Master of Divinity Degree Program
Master of Arts (Theological Studies) Degree Program
There I was, standing on the edge, scared of the unknown, but trusting God as I prepared to free fall on faith like I never had before. I thought that jumping was all that I had to do and that everything else would come together seamlessly. I was wrong, it has not been easy, and things have not come together so simply, but God has been faithful. Two years later, here I am, halfway through my NTS years, and I am still wondering what God has for me. I don’t have it all figured out and through this time the Lord has been teaching me how to be still and know, to wait, to trust, and to believe.
Simple answers are not enough.
A collection of questions have been answered, but nevertheless been replaced by a multitude of even more questions. My heart hungered for the knowledge and love of God when I began, but it hungers even more now than ever before. This quest, this journey, of living life in the center of God’s will feels no nearer to completion than it was when I started. Everything I thought I knew has been decidedly discarded in the time that I’ve been here and I now sit with new pieces to the puzzle that God has for me, working to rebuild something solid and true; knowing that I can’t do this on my own.
I can’t do this on my own.
In the last two years, I have learned a lot about a variety of things, starting with what it means to walk by faith. It’s more than a one time commitment; it’s in the everyday decisions to be, to do, and to tell the Gospel with my life. It’s a constant conscious decision to love, to live upright, be obedient, stand strong and be courageous, when half the time I’m not really sure what I’m doing or if I even understand the faith that I profess. In the words of St. Anselm, fides quarens intellectum – may God help us with this faith that is seeking understanding; this is my prayer.
Faith seeking understanding.
I have been challenged and stretched academically, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally here at NTS in ways that I would have never dreamt possible. And yet, here I am, at a place in time, where I feel as though God has dropped me off at day care and left me to wrestle with Scripture and interpretations, to grapple with concepts and ideas proclaimed by theologians, philosophers, and giants of the faith spanning across centuries, and to struggle with who God is in my own life, what this means to and for me, and how it is that I am supposed to become the woman that God is calling me forth from ashes to be in and to this world.
But this is what we, NTS, do here; this is who we are – we learn, challenge, inspire, create, walk and work together, and build each other up for the Kingdom. Kingdom work is not easy, but God is faithful, and we believe that it is worth it.
I did not come because I thought it would be easier from here on out; I came because I was called.
I AM NTS.