By Lisa Huddleston
“I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry … He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God” (Psalm 40: 1, 3).
I completed my course work for my Master of Christian Studies degree from Union University this week. I have received sweet words of congratulations and felt the relief of not having a paper due or a reading assignment to tackle. And I have already sensed the lurking presence of the “What Next” monster. Especially when people ask me what I plan to do now.
What do I plan to do? Well, I plan to keep living and learning and reading and writing and loving my family and following where the Lord leads me. I’m sorry if that seems a little vague. I really am—and not just because it may be an unsatisfactory answer for you who ask. I’m sorry, because I love a plan. There is nothing better than planning and working toward a goal. That’s why the MCS was such an answer to prayer. I went to class on Tuesday evenings week after week and steadily worked my way from the first night to the last. I found answers to questions I had pondered and discovered new and bigger questions to ask. I listened to other students ask their questions and rejoiced to hear professors answer what they could and humbly share in the ambiguity of our lives when they couldn’t. I kept a handy list of classes pinned on my bulletin board, and I added a big check mark next to each class as I completed it. Satisfaction guaranteed. I will miss it.
But now I am returning to a less defined way of living loosely structured around daily routines of reading, writing, exercising, cooking, cleaning, and so on. I have no label under which to hide my identity. No longer a “student” yet ever a student. No longer a “teacher” yet hopefully always teaching. Not really a “stay-at-home-mom” as my children are all grown. And definitely not a “housewife” as this label pinches me way too tightly. I am a woman who wants to serve as God leads. No more. No less.
I doubt that I knew this truth in quite the same way two and a half years ago when I began my studies. I am glad that I know it some better now—not as well as I should, but better than I did. That’s progress. And I am learning a new song to sing.