Tomorrow I graduate from the London School of Theology with an MTh (Master of Theology). It marks the end of the five years I spent studying there; learning things about myself and more importantly about God that have changed me in ways I cannot even begin to describe. I wrote a post at the end of my undergraduate degree and I stand by those words I wrote three years ago. I have now been living in the ‘real world’ as long as I lived at LST. The last six years have been incredible – I have fallen in love, got engaged to, and then married the love of my life, written thousands of words, worked many hours, made new friends and spoken about mental illness and faith as much as possible!
I still did not know, when I graduated back in 2012 what life could be like. I knew more freedom than I had known in the preceding years, but looking back I can see how far I still had to go and I don’t doubt that I will look back at this time in the years to come and wonder at what has changed all over again.
Life moves forward, sometimes without warning and time marches on unstoppably. The things I have studied have been proven and challenged in equal measure, the friends I first made in 2009 are still my friends today and many of them stood beside me on my wedding day.
The past six years have been incredible, and I am all too aware that they mark just the beginning of my journey. I will continue to make mistakes, have triumphs and I will continue to grieve for a life un-lived.
I cannot begin to express my gratitude for a place and the people that I will hold in my memories for the rest of my life.
This ending marks, in so many ways, the beginning of my life. It was in between those walls I made a commitment to living and I am so glad I did.
God has honoured that commitment in ways that I would never have dreamed of, and I am trying to honour Him with what I do with the life I have been given.
I am not the girl I was when I walked through (and then ran away from!) the doors of LST.
For a start, I am not a girl anymore, I’m a married woman.
Life still scares me, if I’m honest, but I’m learning that living is far more fun.
Above all, I have learned that God doesn’t let go.
He doesn’t let go when we are desperate to run.
He doesn’t let go when we are so happy we don’t feel we need Him.
He doesn’t let go when we look at ourselves and can only see scars.
He runs after us.
He rejoices with us.
He carries us and shows us that there is something beautiful in our scars.
This section from Isaiah 40 was read at our wedding, and the words have never been truer than when I reflect on my time at LST.
“Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.”