I'm sorry, men. But I've been mulling over this post for months. And this is the honest-to-goodness truth. I could just leave this untouched as one of the "elephants in the room," but since there are so few female seminary students blogging these days, I'd rather not.
Maybe your story is different, and if so, I hope you'll comment below. But here is how I see things:
I was told that I would get a period sometime in later elementary school and so I began to wonder about its arrival. It came when I was 13 and I cried. I knew next to nothing about how any of it worked and wished I didn't have to endure the monthly curse. Periods of stress made it go away, but that was bad for some reason, so I always prayed for it to come back. As a young women, I got my college degree, and set off to build a career using my communications skills. I always wondered about having children and began to hear my biological clock ticking in my late 20s, with no mate in sight. There was no mate in sight at age 30 either. Or 33. By now that clock seemed to be a ticking time bomb placed right next to my ears. My ovaries were over-eager. My mating instincts were in high gear.
This is what it's like to be a woman, I thought. But God--why haven't you brought me a husband?
And so, after doing my part by casting my net out on eharmony, David entered my life. I married at age 35. The delights of marriage are many. We're happy and healthy. Yet as I hang out at age 37, we wonder: Could we have a child?
I'll spare you the agonizing details, but you should know this: it is not easy to work/go to seminary/minister/keep up with friends and family when you're thinking about your eggs. And praying that at least one of them is not shriveled up. That this whole thing will work the way God intended it to without extraordinary measures. It makes you weigh your options more carefully. Hang back on major decisions. And even say "no" to certain things.
Like the Clinical Pastoral Education credit I was scheduled to take this summer. Eleven weeks of learning, growth, and ministry, and I was thrilled to be participating. Until I was told late in the game that I would have to pull two 12-hour shifts a week on-call instead of the two shifts a month the brochure seemed to indicate. It didn't take me long to think about the possible effect on my stress level and reproductive health. I said no, with a quivering lip. I delayed the dream.
These are the choices women in seminary sometimes make. Because our lives are complex and glorious, made up of hesitation and faith, full of joy amidst the juggling. And, hopefully, a desire to see God glorified in all the messiness. To look up at any moment and say, "What now, Father? You've called me to know you better through seminary, and you've called me to be a daughter of Eve/ezer/lifegiver, and would you tell me please, what is the next step?"
So, yes, I'm still in seminary. Studying hard for an intensive Counseling class that will be here soon. Praying for God's Will and looking for His direction. All while caring for my ovaries and uterus. This is the place I find myself sitting in right now, as I remind myself to rest in God's goodness and trust His plans.
That's all, folks. Thanks for letting me clear the air, and be assured, the posts to follow will not even include the word eggs. Smile!