February 13, 2014
I don’t know that I will forget the first time she crossed the length of my doorway as she passed through the hall. Aside from being an exquisitely beautiful woman, her presence radiated into my office for those few seconds as she went by. At the Jacksonville campus, we share our space with multiple ministries. She runs her own counseling practice, and she’s trying to get her dream non-profit off the ground. That non-profit wants to build a living space to rehabilitate victims of sex-trafficking. Florida is ranked third in the nation for the level of sex-trafficking that goes on, so it’s a real need, but a brave one. Especially because hardly anyone around here knows about it, even with the high ranking of prevalence.
I got all that information second-hand, naturally. I know that when most people are in this position, they’d probably introduce themselves. Me? I’m shyer than I look. Instead, I passed by her office for the next few months when her door was open. The cow-skin rug didn’t surprise me. I figured she was bold, knowing what she did and wanted to do. This was in addition to the fact that she was one of those rare tall people who walked with perfect posture, showing no signs of being the rest of us tall weirdoes who simply want to blend in with the rest of humanity.
One day, I had this feeling that I was getting a little ridiculous about putting off meeting her. Clearly, there was something about her that I needed to know. Long-story short, that Divine Elbow in my ribs was starting to wear out the skin underneath it. I finally knocked on her door. But because I had built it up to the point of crazy, I probably couldn’t recount what was said in our conversation if you asked. Somehow, we began meeting for Bible study. Due to some messy church experiences, I had grown cynical and weary about women in church leadership, so words will not adequately describe the gravity of me continuing to walk into her office for the next few weeks without blinking. How we had honest, real conversations about my calling and what seminary was doing to my insides. How when she said things about God and my spiritual life, I actually believed her.
The weeks to come brought healing on multiple levels through our relationship. Healing in places for me that I assumed would just stay broken as part of my past. She was an easy ask to fulfill the two-year Mentored Ministry mentor requirement for my M.Div. To my surprise, she was actually excited and honored that I would ask her. She read the entire Mentored Ministry manual, cover to cover, all 80 pages. And it was only the beginning. She has now become an example, an inspiration, and the most exquisite and perfectly tailored Spiritual Mom I could have ever asked for.
I couldn’t ever have told you that God would bless me with all of that just for taking a step and tapping my hand to a door that day. I never understood what people meant when they talked about how God sometimes really does “bless” us through our obedience. I took one step, knocked three times and it utterly changed the trajectory of my life.
We really do worship such a tremendous God. The immensity of healing being in his very “wings” has never been more alive to me than now. I never would have guessed that this was what I needed to get back on track, or even come alive...
…but he knows me so much better.
Kate Hightower is writing to you from the middle of her Master of Divinity and Master of Arts in Christian Thought pursuit at Gordon-Conwell—Jacksonville, where she is also a Byington Scholar. She’s an avid Bob Dylan fan, and can always be counted upon for decadent French cooking. And she’s madly in love with her giant, brilliant golden retriever, Stella.
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