This post was written by Terry of Diary of a Seminary Student. Terry is married and has 3 sons. When he’s not blogging on his site, he also writes a weekly post on Said at Southern Seminary. He, as you might guess, is attending Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Not only was I honored when Just a Guy asked me if I would like to write a guest post for him, but I think I agreed almost before I thought about what to write. However, as soon as I hit the “send” key, I knew immediately what I was going to write about. I humbly submit the following post about love and marriage to Going to Seminary’s readers.
The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.
–Proverbs 16:9 (ESV)
When my wife and I began to pray about going to seminary, we came to the conclusion that this is what God definitely had for us. As moving day approached, there were many unresolved questions that we left up to God to resolve. As I look back at last July and August, I see how the above Proverb is so true. We had a plan and we knew what and how it was going to work out. We watched God literally clear the path for us to move to Louisville with our two boys and a third on the way. I watched as God granted Krista an amazing peace about leaving home (the St. Louis area) for the first time in her life.
When we moved in, everything was going well. We had enough time to get our apartment set up and get ready to face a new school year. However, God had other ideas. Ten days after we moved, we were told that the job that was promised to her was not and could not happen. I was unable to find any employment and the whole ministering position never materialized. The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.
We didn’t panic. We just found ourselves believing that God had us in Louisville for a particular purpose and that He was going to show His glory for our unbelieving family. From August to November, the only real income we had was my working for a golf course at minimum wage and working for dining services on the campus of the seminary. Even combining both salaries, I was unable to pay our rent for the month.
Krista and I prayed together. We read Scripture together. We sought God together. God answered us by giving her another position at another university doing exactly what she would have been doing—and they were not even looking to hire someone! We watched God provide through the giving from others (Christians and atheists) as He supported us through these months. The heart of man plans his ways, but the Lord establishes his steps.
Now, we have three boys under the age of four. My wife has a full-time job working from home. I am able to work a couple jobs supplementing the rest of what is needed all the while attending seminary full-time. That pastoral position never opened up, but it seems as though God has ever plans for ministry as well.
I give all that background information in order to say that you, husband (seminary student), or you, wife (seminary student) cannot make it on your own. You will need each other now more than ever. What is more, you will need to make sure that Christ is at the center of your marriage. Satan can and will use this time of theological education to wreck any ministry you may have now or in the future.
Husbands, we are charged with the spiritual well-being of our families (Eph. 5 and 6). It is your responsibility to make sure you are taking into account the balance between work, school, and family. Even if it is the wife who is attending seminary, the husband needs to keep all of this in mind. Sometimes it is best to take a C on a paper if it means showing your children that you are there for them.
I realize that some days, there is not enough time in the day to do everything. Currently, I am in the middle of mid-terms and 10-page papers. This is the two stretch of the semester where my wife understands that I need to focus on school work. However, I need to not make an idol of my school work. There is a balance that must be struck, and we are not capable of always maintaining that balance on our own. We need to lean heavily on Christ and our spouse.
Every night, my wife and I sit down with our older sons and we read Bible stories (might I recommend “The Big Picture Bible” and “The Jesus Story Book Bible”). After reading those, we talk about the story and then say prayers. This shows them that Christ is at the center of all we do. It also gives the family a time of worshiping our Lord and Savior outside of church.
My wife and I sit down each night after the two older boys are in bed for a minimum of 15 minutes to do a devotional. Lately, I have been writing them up myself as we read through the Bible together. We decided to just do a chapter of the New Testament each night so that in 240 days, we will have read through the entire New Testament together and have answered a few questions per chapter. The importance of that 15 minutes each night for her and I cannot be explained. It must be experienced.
I do not write these things to show how great a husband I am—believe me, I am a lazy human being. I share this with everyone here in order that they may learn what I learned before God takes away your comfort and forces you to have faith in Him. After all, “The heart of man plans his ways, but the Lord establishes his steps.”