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Going for More than a Degree

I will never forget my favorite phone call. My husband and I were friends at the time, co-workers at a hospital. He didn’t know Jesus as his Savior; although, he had been asking me more and more about him. When I answered the phone his voice was shaky and excited. He could hardly get a sentence out. He proceeded to tell me that he had been working with a patient who was blind, mute, and an amputee. He said for the first time he felt a surge of strong compassion for this woman and he began to choke up while speaking to her. He went on to say that the lady smiled at him, and in that smile, the Holy Spirit fell on him and he saw the love of Jesus in this suffering woman and gave his life to Christ right there in that moment. From that moment he has never looked back and of course we got married!

After we made the decision to move our family of five across the country for Seminary there was this giddy excitement and simultaneously the realization of our situation. The decision to move three children across the country with no set place to live or a job. Awesome! It was an interesting situation and definitely nothing less than an adventure.

After spending time in prayer together it became evident that going to Seminary, for us, was not going to be about the end result of attaining any degree. We were still praying over our food budget the next week. Instead, in every way, it has shown that it is about the deeper intimacy and trust in our Savior and the real day to day moments, memories, relationships, and lessons that we will learn these next few years.

The Lord is sweetly pulling us into a place of humility and surrender. We have been placed in a position where we are being surrounded by the love and generosity of other’s and you see isn’t that what this is about? Going to Seminary, to attain a Master’s degree, has nothing to do with being a leader on the top. It is about being completely and fully ready to be a servant, on our knees, ready to humbly lift others above ourselves; to be a servant, like the people in our lives that have made this move possible, or because we are to preach the good news of Jesus. The Jesus who says we are to be like him, the one who came to earth to become a servant and to die in our place.

I will always find it no coincidence that God has given us the testimony of the mute and blind woman whose smile alone brought my husband to his knees to give his life to Christ. I am not sure she even knows what happened that day. As we move forward with studying God’s word in an academic setting such as Seminary, we will always remember that God’s kingdom says that the first shall be last. This is about serving others and not elevating ourselves. The only elevating I hope to attain from this Seminary experience is closer to the throne room and the presence of God.

“But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong;” 1 Corinthians 1:27

By Denise J. Murphy Denise is a mother of three young children and passionate about people stepping into their individual calling. Their family will be moving from Michigan to Colorado this fall so her husband, Mike, can attend Denver Seminary. Mike and Denise blog together at

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