The Israelites wandered in the wilderness for 40 years. I wandered in the "wilderness" of modern psychotherapy for the first 40 years of my life, seeking answers that can only be found in God's eternal, infallible Word. After discovering the writings of pastor/counselor Dr. Jay Adams, I enrolled in courses offered by the Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation (now Institute for Biblical Counseling and Discipleship). Many of the classes were held at the WSC campus, where I began to "hang out," get acquainted, and do Greek and Hebrew word studies on the bookstore floor—hoping to untangle the writings of popular Christian psychologists. I kept picking up brochures about the seminary and eventually enrolled to acquire the theological training I needed to answer their arguments with solid biblical truth. God began a good work in my own heart and life during that time. There's nothing quite like going to seminary to learn the Bible!
Seminary was a lot of work (much more than law school!) but extremely rewarding—and fun! I recall laughing myself silly at the annual spring talent shows, where my "Resurrection Rabbit" (Cherry) sang Psalm 121 in Hebrew one year and recited Greek paradigms another time. I'm a ventriloquist, and I was involved in weekly ministry to abused children during those seminary years. My training at WSC enabled me prepare Sunday School lessons and write catchy songs to help young children learn to love and remember the Scriptures. My children's ministry continues—five music CD's, one book, and a preschool musical in process. This is one of the most rewarding ways I've used my seminary training. I always remember Dr. Baugh's warning: If you can't explain a theological concept to a 5-year-old, you probably don't understand it.
I barely took a breath after seminary graduation. After studying God's law (and taking 6 years to earn a 2-year degree!), I enrolled in law school—just the place for someone named Deborah. I haven't become a judge, but God has opened up many opportunities to write legal briefs about the urgent issues facing Christians in America today—and even a book! It's called Death of a Christian Nation. (See www.deathofachristiannation.com.) I wrote it to help non-lawyer Christians understand what is happening in our courts and respond in a biblically faithful manner. I felt like I should be writing a 10-volume set in a 3-ring binder, because there are a myriad of challenges and changes. I'm hoping pastors will read it and better understand some of the battles their people face in the public sphere.
It has been a blessing to stay in touch with several of my professors—Jay Adams and George Scipione (counseling professors), Robert Strimple (I loved systematic theology!), Dennis Johnson, and Peter Jones.
There is one thing about seminary I will never forget—a certain sign in the student lounge that hung over the coffee pot to greet me when I arrived for those much-too-early morning Hebrew classes: "Jump start your brain – only 25 cents." So if you're just starting seminary, jump start your brain, learn those Greek and Hebrew paradigms, and equip yourself so you can equip God's people to serve Him in these challenging times.