Thursday, August 28, 2008

The End of August

Hoo boy... it's been a while hasn't it?

Well, I shall now update everyone on my life, hence the point of this blog. My last post was a bit depressing, but in reality it was a great little growth in my walk with God. Since then, my homesickness has abated a bit more and I find myself content in where God has me at this moment. If ever I'm learning to live moment by moment, day by day, it is now. I'm not fretting or dreaming of future things, since they are not mine to claim - something God has been working diligently in getting me to realize. At the same time, I cannot live in the past, hoping and wishing to be back "home" (in New York with my wonderful and loving family) since that will ultimately interfere with what God is trying to do in my life at this moment to prepare me for the future.

My classes are going well. I can't believe how motivated I am to stay ahead of my classes in my reading and studying. For those who don't know, my list of classes are, in rank of my favorite to least favorite:

Hermeneutics taught by Dr. Danny Akin, the president of the seminary. This is by far, one of my favorite classes. It makes getting up for an 8:00 class in the morning. He's very entertaining and incredibly grounded in the Word.

Greek - yes, this IS supposed to be my second favorite class. For some reason (so far) I love studying this language and learning about how English words have derived from Greek words. And it makes for reading the Word a lot more enlightening. I was terrified of this class to begin with, but I'm marveling at how much I'm enjoying it!

Church History is about - you guessed it! - the history of the church. It's very interesting, although the reading can be a bit (well, let's be honest - very) dry. My professor, Dr. McKinion, is amazingly funny and keeps us entertained and thinking hard for the three hour class.

And finally, we have my least favorite class: Old Testament. Don't get me wrong, I love God's Word and I love the Old Testament, but that doesn't mean I HAVE to love a class on it! I'm struggling a bit with my professor of that class, since he tends to confuse all of us with his tangents and circling-like lectures. Pray for me on that one!

What else shall I update you on? Oh, yes. My roommate. Her name is Laura and she is an absolute sweetheart. And no, I'm not just saying that because she reads this blog. ;) We have both talked about it and agree that God has had His divine hand in this from the very beginning. We've become fast friends, with similar senses of humor and love for the Lord. I think I could honestly go on about her, but I won't for the sake of beginning to sound cliche-ish, and suck up-ish.

On the church front, I've found a great church that I'm fitting right in with so far. It's called Bay Leaf Baptist Church - extremely evangelical, missions-based, and obviously Scripture-based. I've actually already been out a few time with some of the girls from the single's group in the church. There's so many ways that I can volunteer in this church and there are so many ways that they can help me in my walk as well. So, we'll see. I might try out a few more churches just in case.

Now, I'll leave you with an invitation: to come visit me via pictures!

This is Binkley Chapel, where all our chapels are held (often just twice a week) and where the majority of the seminary classes are held. It's beautiful inside, very colonial, and the chapel speakers have been phenomenal so far. If you can, listen to their podcasts posted on Southeastern's website ( - you won't regret it!

This is Lolley Dorm, where I'm currently living. You'll see pictures of my room a bit later.

This is Stealey Hall, home to the President's office, Acounting Services, Registrar... basically anything that's important, you'll find it there.

This is the Jacumin-Simpson Missions Center, which is the hub for national and international mission opportunities, classes, etc. It's another beautiful building.

This is the Ledford Center that houses the bookstore, school shop, fitness center, and "play area" as I like to call it. Haha.

This will be Patterson Building. It's being finished up right now and will hopefully be used by next fall for classes and offices. It's right next to the Ledford Center.

There's some weird looking plants around here. I've been told this is a magnolia tree, but look at the fruit things! They're HUGE!

And this is the scariest tree I think I've ever seen. These "burr balls" are giagantic! They're the size of my HAND! I actually accidently kicked one that had fallen on the path while wearing flip flops and it HURT!

Anyway, on to my room:

This is what you see when you open the door to our lovely (but sparse) room. The closets are directly on your right, and the door to the bathroom is to your left.

These are, obviously, our beds. Mine is the purple-clad bed with the loud pillows (ha). We're working on adding more decorations. ;)

Our dressers, my desk (Laura's is on the other side to your left) and our closets. There's so much storage space! I was very happy to discover that.

And finally, here's me, giving you a hearty "howdy" from down south. :)

Friday, August 15, 2008


Today has really been a struggle to hold back the tears. For some reason, I'm very emotional today and homesick. A close friend of mine left a little note for me on Facebook that made me cry and miss home, so ever since then I've been very teary. Gosh, someone could blink at me and I think I'd burst into tears!

Humor aside, I've been dealing with lonliness these past couple of days. It's hard to explain how I can feel so lonely with so many people surrounding me, but I'm pretty sure some of you can sympathize with that feeling. And I know it's okay to have that feeling of loneliness, since it is good for the spiritual life. I'm so thankful to God for putting a particular book into my life recently that really hit home on the idea that loneliness is part of our sanctification.

Although, I remember dealing with similar feelings in college, and I let those feelings consume me and I began to take on a very selfish and egocentric view of the world I was in. I definitely do NOT want to go near that again. So my prayer has been, daily, that God would protect me from selfish desires and that He would create in me a kind, compassionate person who will reach out to others before thinking of her own selfish desires. He gives me strength where I am grossly weak - and I am not just saying that as a cliche. He has truly proved to me these past few days that He knows exactly what He is doing and He knows exactly what I need and when I need it.

I was blown away yesterday when He revealed to me why a certain thing did not happen. Back in April I was trying to organize a trip to come down to Southeastern to visit the campus and see what everything was all about. I tried to make plane/hotel arrangements and nothing would happen. I couldn't get in touch with people, money was an issue, and other things happened that prevented me from going down to see Southeastern. For some reason, I was thinking about it yesterday and all of a sudden Truth hit me:

Stefanie, I did not bring you here back then for I knew you would not be here presently.

And from there His reasons washed over me. If I had visited this seminary back in the spring, I would have been so scared that I would have just disregarded God's calling and would probably be working somewhere else right now.

And you know what else is interesting? After hearing this Truth, I wasn't ashamed or guilty. I knew He was right (when isn't He?) and as I look back, I should have felt guilty and ashamed. But He revealed it to me in such a loving way that I was thankful. He knew me so well and found me so worthy of His love and grace, AND He believes that I can get through seminary so strongly (only through His strength, as He so quickly reminds me) that He was willing to say "no" to my desire so that His greater and better desire for ME would be carried out.

I stand here, completely shocked. Me? Worthy? Of a grace and love of this magnitude? Thank you, Abba - You overwhlem and overfill me. Continue to guide me, no matter the cost. Continue to protect me, no matter my pride. And continue to have mercy on me, a sinner. Praise and glory are Yours!

He reminded me of my favorite Psalm - Psalm 139:

O LORD, you have searched me and you know me.... You are familiar with all my ways.... You hem me in, behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me.... I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:1, 3b, 5, 14a

(FYI, the book I was referring to earlier is Passion and Purity by Elisabeth Elliot - although I'm not really reading it for the love and marriage purpose, but simply for the everyday applications she interweaves throughout the book. I strongly recommend it. )

Monday, August 11, 2008

Moving In


That about sums up what I've been thinking, feeling, praying and saying. What a rush the past few days have been, and how much more of a rush will the next few years be!

Thank you all for your prayers, hugs, kind words, and support (in any and every way possible!). Again, I am truly thankful and God knows how many tears I have shed in thankfulness and missing you all already. I'll stop here, since the tears are threatening again!

We left last Thursday and arrived at my grandparents in New Jersey. We stayed with them on Friday, trying to help where we can and visit with them before taking off to North Carolina. Saturday was a LONG day, to put it simply. Praise God that it was a straight route down to Raleigh (where our hotel was), but we spent two hours in stop-go traffic, just covering 30 miles. What a patience tester, right?

We made it to our hotel without getting lost (YES! you read that right!) and crashed in our hotel room. Of course, we couldn't go to bed without a proper meal at a Perkins restaurant and then watching the Olympics until we fell asleep.

Moving in on Sunday was... eerie. The campus was totally deserted. Not a soul around. We finally figured out that it was because it was Sunday and any decent Southern Baptist would naturally be at church! And I think I just called my familly unnatural because we didn't go to church. *gasp*

Anyway, Mom and I were wandering around the campus trying to find SOMEONE to help direct us to the Housing Office where I can get my key and move in. After walking around for 20 minutes, I finally read the small print on one of my forms I was sent from the seminary. After hours and on Sundays students who are moving in are to call campus security.


I quickly dialed security (who was also at church - just leaving, actually) and then Mom and I promptly got lost trying to find our way to the missions center where my car was parked. The security guy called back ten minutes later, wondering where we were, and I told him we got lost walking around on campus.

There was like, a 10 second pause. I swear he was covering the mouthpiece and laughing. SEBTS has a VERY small campus - Pastor will confirm that.

Finally he came on and asked where we were parked. I told him "the Jacklyn Smith Missions Center". Another 10 second pause, because the building is actually called The Jacumin-Simpson Center (he was laughing again, I KNOW it!). He finally directed us our way out of the campus.

No, we did not get lost going to the Housing Office. He was standing out front wearing a bright orange shirt. How could we miss that??

The actual moving in went surprisingly well. I brought the bare essentials with me this time, and my mother did not have to hold anything on her lap! (This is in reference to moving in when I was a freshman in college and had packed SO MUCH that my poor mother had to right 7 hours with a lamp in her lap.)

Right after we unpacked everything and put everything away, my roommate came in! Her name is Laura and to say that she is a sweetheart would be an understatement. We clicked right away and I hope and pray that we'll become fast friends. I can't tell you how many times I've prayed and pleaded with God to allow Laura and I to become good friends. How awesome is He?!

Today I had to take my parents to the airport and say good-bye. It was so hard letting my parents go. Tears were shed all around, and I cried pulling out of the airport. I know for a fact God was guiding my driving while I bawled. There was traffic everywhere and I was safe all the way back from the airport (and I didn't get lost driving on my own!).

And that brings us up to the current, as I sit here and write down everything that's happened. I'm hoping to take some pictures of the campus and my roommate to show ya'll (workin' on my twang!) what I'm seeing down here. One more thing I'll say about the south: it's HOT!!

Love you all! And I'm praying for all of you.