For today's Friday Five, share with us five "fork-in-the-road" events, or persons, or choices. And how did life change after these forks in the road?
1. the first that comes to mind is a choice in high school. I agreed with the decision of a teacher instead of sticking up for one of my best friends in the whole wide world. It was a choice that caused lots of heartache and distance for a while, but I'm thankful that God and our other friends kept us together so that we came through on the other end.
2. The second is where I chose to go to college. I had a lot of places I could have gone - lots of places where I was accepted and who were offering scholarships. I didn't feel called to go to the small liberal arts college only an hour away (where communication would have been my focus). I really wanted to go to the large private university four hours away (where science would have been my focus). I ended up applying after graduation to a small Methodist college where a bunch of youth ministry friends were headed, got in, and God told me that's where I was supposed to be.... which led me through science to religion as a major and the rest is history.
3. The beginning of the war in Iraq. This was a major fork in the road for me, because I had strong feelings about it, both personally and spiritually. And I knew there were lots and lots of people who disagreed with me. I was in college at the time and in community with a group of people however who helped me to use my voice and my hands and my feet to make a statement about the war publicly. We created a memorial of crosses on the lawn in front of the chapel - in honor of those who had died, both soldiers and civilians since the conflict had begun in the week before. Overnight, the crosses were torn down and the broken pieces used to spell "God Bless the USA." As a Christian, I was heartbroken and ashamed of my neighbors. As someone who always though that there was a way to find agreement, I lost a piece of that in myself.
4. Exploration in 200something - The speaker for the day was Hispanic and she recounted the story of Samuel's calling in the temple. For the first time, I felt called into ministry and it was because Samuel kept thinking the voice of God was just his master. I thought before that time that the voice of God speaking to me was just the voice of my youth pastor, or pastor, or a friend, never did I think it was actually GOD speaking to me. Until she spoke those words, "Samuel, Samuel" with the hispanic pronunciation. It stays with me until this day.
5. My friend Nicole - in the airport in Nashville - convincing me to go to Vanderbilt. I was kind of torn at that point and I really wasn't sure what I was going to do until I sat down in the airport at that silly little food stand with Nicole. By the time I got on the plane (and I was almost late!) I was convinced that I needed to go to seminary there. And I haven't regretted it for a millisecond. It was where I needed to be to grow and thrive and find my place. It brought me into contact with tons of amazing people at my church there... I am so grateful for that conversation in the airport!