Dear Seminary Wife,
I can see you spreading a USA map across your kitchen table, your left hand smoothing over California and your right hand pinching the upper right-hand corner of Maine. Your eyes graze over the distance between the location of your husband's seminary of choice, and the place you call home.
The tightening in your chest tells you that it is far; impossibly far and you are already picturing yourself in an airplane roaring through the air, states below and sky above to visit your loved ones.
Maybe this is you, maybe it isn't. Maybe the distance isn't what scares you but instead the length of time or the fact that you can only count on one hand the people you know that live in your soon-to-be 'home'.
I can tell you from experience that the four years we spent in seminary certainly didn't feel like home, even though I was open to living anywhere and supporting my husband wherever God called us. Instead, it felt like limbo and I struggled to live fully in present tense. I was too eager to get to what came next.
The focus is on your husband. He is entering a preparation for ministry; years of schooling to sharpen his mind, bring great clarity to God's heartbeat and mission for this world, and open his eyes to wide margins of knowledge, history and theology.
But what does it mean for you?
Maybe you've wondered what job you will have.
Or whether or not you will get pregnant during this season.
Or if the kids you have now will remember these moments as you work so hard to raise them away from family members and the comforts of home.
Seminary can feel like only something your husband is doing, but believe me, you are crucial to this journey more than you know. This experience will be for the both of you; though his moments in the classroom will be different from what you are likely going through on a daily basis. God will teach both of you in vastly different ways, but His purpose is always to carve away the edges that look least like Christ.
You will both feel the carving.
Let me encourage you to embrace your days in this new space. You may be tempted at times to simply get through seminary and move onto whatever comes next. The glitter and lights glow in the promising future of "after seminary." While this is a season, it is still your actual, real life. It is not a stop on the way to somewhere else, it is your present. It is vital to your growth spiritually, maritally, mentally and emotionally.
It is worth it.
You are a precious soul with many gifts and talents, needs and desires. What I want you to do is hold yourself close and repeat these words.
"My days are not wasted here."
You are a living, breathing, embodiment of Christ that will shine to those around you with a shimmer that only the Holy Spirit can emit. The job you drive to every day, the people you speak with, the moments around the small and perhaps thrift store dinner table; they are all droplets of life that bring nourishment and healing to whoever God has put in your path.
Your moments matter. You matter.
Thank you for your willingness to travel to an unknown place for God's glory. Thank you for putting your life "on the shelf" while you support your husband through his ministry training. Your work is not in vain.
Much love to you from one seminary wife to another,
P.S. I have made a few special gifts just for you.
Click on one of the photos below to sign up to Stay in Touch with Author Kim Patton. You will receive "Reading List for Seminary Wives" and "More than Just a Season: Ten Tips for settling in as a new seminary wife" directly in your email. These short e-books are a quick, encouraging read and will help you settle into your new role.
For Seminaries and Seminary Wives groups: Contact us for a free one page printable resource for your school. It is a condensed version of the Ten Tips for settling in, and will be a great encouragement for your new student wives.
Watch below as Kim Patton dives right into the ten tips.