lies and miracles and much needed courage

I had this little poem all written up and ready to publish, but it was a little sad and today I needed to say something that was exciting and happy and encouraging. Because a really nice series of things happened today.

A few weeks ago I sent in an abstract for the annual Seminary Scholarship Symposium. Last year I did a brave thing and submitted an abstract and presented a paper, which was exciting and a good growing experience. This year I knew I didn't have time to prepare a paper, so I sent in an abstract for a poster presentation. I thought it would be less work.

THAT WAS A LIE.

This semester I've been so overwhelmed with work and school and thesis and ministry that I moved from busy-happy to busy-unhappy (read: depressed and exhausted). And even though I've known that I needed to get this poster done, I haven't done it. And with our snow day yesterday, I couldn't get the poster designed with the lady-that-does-that-stuff, nor could I get it into Imaging Services to be printed. It had to be done today because the first presentations are today.

The short version of the story is this: Last night I was exhausted from a nearly-sleepless week and whining to Joshua with lots of "Why did I sign up for this? This is so dumb. It'll never get done. I should give up." Whine, whine, whine. But I worked on it all night, with lots of help from Joshua. Then we worked on it all morning. By 10:15 we finally had a printable project, and the symposium needed it by 12:00. Lis at Imaging Services was amazing and did not charge us a $30 rush fee, and managed to get it done by 11:15, so it was mounted and into the symposium by noon. AMAZING.

And tonight I spent 90 minutes in front of my poster talking about my research project and answering questions. And the response was so encouraging. People were thanking me for doing this thesis, and offering positive feedback, engaging in good conversation. It was awesome. And then Dr. Fortin (Dean of the Seminary) and Dr. Choi (symposium organizer) came by and announced that my poster had been chosen as the Dean's Choice. They even put a nice blue ribbon on it and told me it came with a $50 prize. "Because it is fresh, and groundbreaking research, asking important questions that no one else is asking, and looking toward the future. Very exciting, very interesting project. We thought that you were gracious to the subject; where it could have been harsh, you were kind."

It was humbling and amazing just to be able to talk about my research and have everyone be so positive about it and encouraging me with how important this project is. I really, really, really needed that encouragement. I feel re-excited about working on my thesis. Am I still scared and intimidated? Oh yeah. Definitely. But I feel encouraged. Thank you, LORD.

 see how happy I am even before I got a ribbon? :)

see how happy I am even before I got a ribbon? :)