After three wonderful, weird, painful and challenging years I graduated from the London School of Theology on Saturday. It was one of the best days of my life, and the pictures from the service show that I smiled ecstatically for most of it!
I also managed to cry only once – and that was when I left the room that has been my home for the last time. I had accessorised it, covered it in Cath Kidston, laughed, cried, studied and socialised in that room – and I was leaving it, and as I slid the white piece of paper with my name on it from the sign on the door I knew this was it.
Hours earlier as I had walked up the steps to shake the hands of the Acting Principal and President of LST, I heard the cheers of my classmates and looked out at my family.
Graduation reminded me how far I am now from the scared, scarred young girl who stepped through the doors three years before. I still get scared, I still carry scars, but I am getting better. Graduation felt, for me at least, that it marked something else. It marked that I had survived, when so often I felt I could not go on.
I have certainly not been alone in that feeling. Indeed, many of my classmates have fought battles that have not even featured in my nightmares. We all arrived with our own baggage. I think many of us now feel that even if that baggage has not disappeared or lightened – it has changed shape.
Because we have all changed shape. I cannot think of a single member of my class who has not changed for the better over the past three years. Above all, graduation day reminded me of God’s amazing transformative power.
God transforms. He transforms through His word. Through His Church. Through His Spirit. Through His people.
His people have shown me the love, grace and oh so gentle shoves of God.
I am well aware of the high levels of sentimentality in this post and I will take this opportunity to apologise to those of you who have been reaching for the nearest bucket!
So now I’m a graduate. I’m preparing (hopefully) for post-graduate study. To move out of my family home and live in my own place with a great friend.
It’s a new chapter, and while I am gutted to have finished the last, so far the best chapter, I can’t help but be a little excited for what is coming next!