By Diane Scallon
I met my husband, Luke, in Ames, Iowa, while attending CrossRoad Baptist Church. We often served side-by-side for countless hours. Sometimes it felt like we lived in the Lighthouse, the church’s fellowship building. I remember that when Luke told me he liked me, I really had to pray whether a relationship with him was God’s leading. I knew Luke wanted to be in full-time ministry, while I wanted to be a neurosurgeon and was working in that direction at Iowa State University. Our church and youth group had done quite a few studies on marriage and Biblical roles, so I was quite familiar with those God-ordained roles in Scripture. I had to ask myself if I could fully follow Luke without hindering his ministry and if I could joyfully surrender “my plans” to God’s plans. This verse kept coming into my mind: “A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps” (Prov. 16:9). We decided to date with the intention of getting married.
As we prayed and talked about our next step after graduating with our undergraduate degrees, seminary became an increasingly high desire. We considered whether we should marry before or after attending seminary. With the advice of our college pastor and his wife, we decided to get married and study together.
I believe it is unwaveringly important for women to study the Word of God, not just independently, but corporately. Seminary was very beneficial for me as well as Luke, not only in preparing for our full-time ministry, but also in shaping how we do life, do marriage, parent, and share our faith.
Studying with women and men with the same core values as me really sharpened me. I was dissecting God’s Word with my fellow seminarians not only on a weekly or daily basis, but on an hourly basis. We were memorizing Scripture together, stirring each other up in accountability and integrity, diving into what God’s Word actually means. Ultimately, together with my classmates, I was preparing myself for a life of service to my King of Kings. Seminary helped cultivate an atmosphere for spending quality time in laying a solid foundation for my life, as it exposed me to core theological disciplines.
Regardless of whether you’re called to full-time ministry, attending seminary is profitable. It affects every area of life, since learning God’s Word in depth is vital and goes hand in hand with applying truth in daily life.
In our everyday, ordinary lives, we believers are constantly asked why we do what we do or why we believe what we believe. These questions could come from a neighbor, someone at a restaurant, a coworker, or even a friend who has just been observing us. The Bible commands us to be ready to give a defense for our faith. First Peter 3:15 states, “and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.” My seminary education has definitely equipped me with the knowledge and tools for dissecting God’s Word. It has also given me more confidence in what I believe, because I have spent time diving into the core theological doctrines.
In addition to having a deeper understanding of God’s Word, I met godly people in seminary and developed lasting friendships. Having friends who have also studied God’s Word full-time alongside me creates a camaraderie in which we encourage, pray for, care for, and admonish each other.
Studying in seminary with my husband was a unique opportunity for growing together and deepening our commitment to the calling God had placed in Luke’s heart, and then mine. Since then, I’ve been questioned many times, “What now—you’re going to give up everything and just follow him?” “You’re going to do what he wants and not do what you studied in university?” “Don’t you feel like you’re wasting your time sitting at home and not using your degree?” “You’ll feel so fulfilled if you get a job outside the home!” These kinds of questions and statements are generally accompanied by silent or spoken judgment that comes across so obviously.
The Bible, however, has given us a picture of what a complementarian relationship looks like, one in which a husband and wife are created and loved by the same God but fulfill different God-ordained roles, such as those laid out in Ephesians 5, commanding husbands to love their wives and wives to submit to their husbands.
Our world has the wrong idea of submission. When two become one, they have to work together as a team rather than functioning as two separate entities working for their own passions and ambitions. The Bible calls husbands to be godly leaders, providers, and lovers. They are to lead with those qualities. A husband who genuinely loves his wife will take into account her desires, ambitions, passions, interests, and so forth. So, really then, submission is a wife’s support of her husband’s leadership. She knows that if he truly is a man of God, God is the one leading him in the first place. Ultimately, it is surrender to Jesus!
Motherhood is a calling from God, and one that I hold dear. It has definitely exposed me to a new type of love, and it helps me fathom Christ’s love for mankind a little more. This calling often goes unnoticed here on earth, but God notices. Seminary has given me a deeper confidence in my beliefs, which I strive to impart to my children.
I want to encourage mothers to continue teaching their children, just as Eunice taught Timothy (1 Tim. 1:5; 3:15). Mothers have an important role in training their children in the way they should go so that even when they are old, they will not depart from it (Prov. 22:6).
Here are three verses that shape my lifestyle today: “The older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things—that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed” (Titus 2:3–5).
American society needs Christian women to embrace their God-given roles and shine Christ’s light. Our ability to teach younger women through the way we do life, parent our children with Jesus shining bright, and love our husbands by letting them lead is simple, yet these are enormous ways of showing the world that we love Jesus. When older women are able to model a godly relationship and lifestyle to younger women, they have great influence.
Womanhood is elevated when Christian women actively follow the plans of our Creator God in every facet of life. Being content and confident in the roles God has called us to will profit far greater than any other pursuit. Motherhood holds an important role in the cultivation of the next generation, while womanhood in general is special to God. As believers, we can be content because God has already met our biggest need, the need of a Savior.
I’m grateful for my seminary training and how it impacts my life, my kids’ lives, and the people I do life with. I endeavor to love God so deeply that it naturally radiates in my everyday life.
Diane Scallon is pastor’s wife at Grace Baptist Church, Laurel, Md.