I’m nearing the end of my fourth class at Moody Theological Seminary.
If you’re wondering what graduate school is like as a mother of four children, let me start with this: everything that was “in place” on day 1 of class is no longer in place for day 210 of class.
(She roars with laughter.)
I’m being totally honest here. This is the epitome of motherhood, isn’t it?
When I was pregnant with our first child, we didn’t find out the baby’s gender. On purpose. Nor did we find out for baby #2, #3, or #4. We love the suspense during the pregnancy, and I love the suspense during the delivery!
Early on, I realized this:
Nothing is as planned, everything is better than I expected because I trust God to guide me.
But back to my original thought: everything that was in place on day 1 of class is no longer “in place.” I’ve had to be flexible, and I’ve embraced having to be flexible. There has been a lot of joy, a lot learned, from these fluctuations.
What has changed?
Oh, so so much. But I do think our current process is a much better fit for my children. Originally, my study schedule felt very buttoned-up and a bit unlike me, so I have welcomed the natural changes:
- The office space I was renting. (I now study at home, the library, or at a cafe/coffee shop.)
- The nanny we had hired. Or rather, nannies. (I now study with my children nearby, or very early / very late each day.)
- The time of day I set aside to study and write. (It’s now very sporadic and inconsistent, though it is a daily practice.)
- The time I go to bed at night. (I’m def. burning the Midnight Oil. Blah.)
Working towards a Master’s is quite sporadic and certainly more enjoyable than I ever anticipated, and I absolutely love my studies! :)
What program are you working toward? When will you graduate?
I am working toward a Master’s in Biblical Spiritual Formation & Discipleship with an estimated graduation date of spring 2024.
What do you hope to do with your degree?
One-on-one mentorship, the Titus 2 model, and focused discipleship are three areas I currently share my time in, and I really enjoy them. It is also on my radar to write a spiritual memoir, something I’ve already outlined and begun writing. It will be neat to see what comes to fruition and what continues to percolate ;)
What are Moody’s class expectations?
Each class has been very similar to the last. It’s expected students put in 15-20 hours/week for studying and writing. Everything has been online through their Chicago or Plymouth, MI campuses, which means I can work at my own pace, though there are weekly assignment deadlines. Each week there is a Discussion Board question. Some of my professors have been more lenient with the word count for each initial post, as well as replying to classmates. Others have been quite strict with the word count and reply expectations.
Not only is there weekly reading (ranges from 2 chapters to 9 chapters/week), there are usually 2 written assignments due. One class required more writing each week (4-6 pages, double spaced), another class has required less writing each week (1-3 pages, double spaced). For my first class, Hermeneutics, my final paper consisted of a 16-page observation on a passage I’d been studying all semester (Genesis 22:1-19). It was so much work, though it probably won’t surprise you I loved it! :)
What classes have you taken?
My first class was Hermeneutics (Biblical interpretation), and I mostly studied/wrote on Genesis 22:1-19. This class went from May – July.
Old Testament History, Literature & Theology was my second class and ran from August – October. Throughout this class I wrote papers on an OT Character Study, the Messiah in the Psalms, Minor Prophets, Wisdom Literature. My final paper was studying the Old Testament in the New Testament (Hosea 6:6 and Matthew 9:13).
My third class was Communication of Biblical Truth (October – December). Something that makes me chuckle: I assumed this class would be “lighter” compared to my previous class. Little did I know we would be learning how to write and preach / teach. I had to submit two recorded sermons (click here to watch/listen).
My current (fourth) class is New Testament History, Literature & Theology. It’s almost over, in fact. So far I have studied NT History, the Gospels, NT Literature (Acts and Paul), Paul’s theology, and the General Epistles. Revelation is up next! ;) Something that didn’t surprise me is how much I’d enjoy learning about God’s mission of women in the Church, so I’m paying extra attention to this as I consider how I want to use this degree.
What is the duration of your program?
I’m anticipating 3 years. There are 15 classes required to graduate, and with each class deserving about 15-20 hours/week of study time, I think grad school is going to be my closest pal for the next while. This is assuming I’m in school year-round. But I am OK with that! Most people that are working toward a Master’s degree work a full-time job. And I’m including myself to that category since I homeschool our kiddos alongside caring for our home and discipling my children.
What textbooks or study materials are required?
Most of my textbooks have been read through my academic subscription to Logos Bible Software! I’m very impressed with this software. It has brought to life the historicity of the Bible.
What do your children think of you receiving a Master’s degree?
Hearing their squeals when I receive my assignment grades throughout the week is so rewarding! It’s fun to share my joy with them. They are such great cheerleaders for me. I’ve also found it to be very rewarding as we spend a lot of time each week discussing the importance of having “a love for learning,” as well as the gift of a quality education.
It’s really neat to tangibly be an example to my children about loving their education, rather than just repeating myself each week with a should / could / would attitude. I really am DOING what I’m teaching them! :)
And just for extra kicks, I will often show them the papers I’m writing or the assignments I’m working on. Their reactions always re-emphasize how I feel about working toward a Master’s: this is SO exciting, and this is such an honor.
What other classes will you need to take?
Here are the additional required classes:
- Spiritual Disciplines and Spiritual Warfare
- Theology and Practice of Prayer
- Church History
- Spirituality and the Family
- Theology and Practice of Soul Care and Family
- Advanced Theology of Practical Sanctification
- Systematic Christian Theology I
- Systematic Christian Theology II
- Biblical Spiritual Formation
- Biblical Spiritual Formation Lab
- Ministry Internship
I’m sure there’s more to share! I know there will always be more to add about this season of life. I just wanted to share a little “behind the scenes” of my graduate program. This is a very rewarding experience for me. For as long as I can remember I have enjoyed learning, hearing women’s stories, and growing in my Christian faith.
Studying at Moody is quite unexpected. Though, I relish in the joy of being a Moody student :)