About Me
My name is Melissa Garcia, and I am in my fourth semester at Southeastern.  I am working full time for Hope Services as an Intensive-in-home therapist while I pursue an MA in the Philosophy of Religion.  I attend First Baptist Church of Durham and look forward to graduating soon.

“What made you choose this degree?”
Initially, I was in the apologetics degree program, but after my first year at SEBTS, I switched over to the Master of Arts in the Philosophy of Religion program.  This is a fairly new program, and I am one of the first to enter.  I may even be the first female?!  

Because of the range of questions that people have asked me about Christianity while sharing the gospel with them, I have always been fascinated by apologetics.  While serving as a journeyman, that fascination was intensified.  For that reason, I started the apologetics program, but during my first year I realized that my philosophical and theological questions were not being answered to my satisfaction.  

When I first heard about Philosophy of Religion, I originally thought that it would be too daunting of a task to study without any background in philosophy.  However, after learning more about the requirements of the degree program from Dr. Little, I was encouraged to pursue the degree, since it was aimed toward providing the answers to precisely the questions that captivated me.

“How do you want to use this degree when you finish?”
To be quite honest, I have not decided if I will pursue a PhD in Philosophy of Religion or not, but I wholeheartedly believe that I will use what I have learned from this degree for the rest of my life.  This degree program has helped me learn how to think more clearly and how to provide a better defense for the Gospel.

“How have some of the courses that you have taken benefited you already?”
When people first learn that I study philosophy, they give me the most grievous looks!  And then they proceed to provide a defense for exactly why they would and could never study philosophy.  So, like any good philosophy student, I take that time to show them their logical fallacies.  (Kidding!)  I do, however, tell them why I chose to study philosophy!  

Although philosophical arguments may seem abstract to most people, the truth is that once you follow philosophical views out to their logical conclusions, there truly are real life applications.  I think that we don’t often realize how philosophical issues permeate all aspects of our lives.  Additionally, the responses I am able to supply to people who try to undermine my beliefs shows just how philosophy has already benefited me! 

“Is there any advice you would give to students who are thinking of pursing this degree?”
I would urge them to make a game plan when they first enter the program.  It is easy to overlook a class that is being offered and then have to wait another year before it is offered again.  Also, do not be afraid to contact your major professor; he is there to help you.  Oh, and we need more girls in this program!  

If nothing else, I recommend that everyone take Critical Thinking and Argumentation as well as Philosophical Theology!  Those have been two of my favorite classes and possibly the ones that have equipped me the most for the sake of the kingdom.

Hi ladies!  My name is Hilary, 
and I am pursuing a Master of Divinity in Women’s Studies.
To be totally honest, this wasn’t my first degree choice.  Or I should say . . . it wasn’t the program I applied to Southeastern to pursue!  But, God has searched me and He knows me {Psalm 139} and He so graciously guided me to it. 

I originally applied to the 2+2 program with the intention of ministering to women overseas.  After a series of prayerful decisions, I switched my degree to Women’s Studies and have been so blessed!  God has confirmed my decision over & over again by revealing the {core} of what He has called me to do – minister to women, all over the map. 

I'm not your traditional M. Div student. In fact, I'm a {distance learning} student, which basically means . . . 
·       *  I am full-time at Southeastern
·       *  I take classes on campus
·       *  I live in Charlotte, NC
·       *  I work at a local church in Charlotte

So you may be wondering, how does that work??!  (classes on campus + not living in Wake Forest = doesn’t add up). Well, that’s a great question! 

It does complicate things a bit.  And it has been tough sometimes to arrange my schedule to take the classes that I need for my program during the short window I have to be present on campus.  But it’s worked for two years already (this is my 3rd fall on campus) & I’m slowly checking off core requirements.  It’s also helpful motivation to carpool to campus weekly with other students, including my hubby. J 

I chose the Master of Divinity in Women’s Studies (rather than an MA) because I truly wanted to learn the original languages // Hebrew & Greek.  Those tidbits of Hebrew in various Beth Moore studies over the years gave me the desire to know it for myself.  I, too, wanted to be equipped to dig into and study the languages of the Old & New Testaments.

As you may have guessed from my carpool hint, my husband is also a full-time student at Southeastern.  He is pursuing a Master of Divinity in Christian Ministries. 

At this time in our lives, we are {expectantly} waiting upon the Lord for next steps.  My husband is currently serving as a pastoral intern in the young adult ministry at our church.  At the same time, we have also begun the application process with the International Mission Board. 

Thankfully God knows the plans He has for us.  Wherever we land {geographically}, I’m so grateful for the equipping, the encouragement, and the education I have received through the Women’s Studies program at SEBTS. 

The program, actually (more importantly) the ladies behind the program {like Denise O'Donoghue} have taught me how to better minister to women in a variety of settings and in a variety of locations: from the formal speaking engagement to the informal counseling session {over tea & cookies} at the kitchen table.

And for that them, I’m grateful..  

I turned 43 this summer! 

In many ways I still feel 23 BUT the spattering of grey hairs and the fine wrinkles that are slowly appearing remind me that I AM getting older J  So why would I reveal my age in a public environment when it is something, as women, that we generally don’t speak of past the age of 30-something?  Revealing my age ties in with the purpose of this article – to show how we can be enslaved to different behaviors for large periods of our lives without realizing how long it has been or even at what initial age we began exhibiting the behavior. 

Ok, slow down, you might be thinking.  What in the world are you talking about?  I am talking about a subject that, I do believe, is a major issue in the lives of many women – eating disorders.

In the summer of 2010 – 3 years ago to date – God began an incredible work in my life which he completed this summer on Wednesday 31st of July.  The journey began while I was teaching a Bible Study entitled Embracing the Uncluttered Life at the local church we were attending.  The third week was an in-depth look at the physical clutter in our lives, with specific emphasis on diet and exercise.  I commented to my husband during the week of preparation that I was expecting it to be the easiest of the sessions. I had been involved in competitive sport from the young age of 5 and always had an interest in diet and how it affects the human body in terms of health and strength.  Well, was I in for an awakening – it was the toughest session to prepare AND to teach because God revealed to me a very deep obsession with my physical appearance (specifically in the area of my weight) and an even deeper obsession with competition (in the area of sport) because of a deep-rooted insecurity to prove my worth as a person.   As I spent time searching His Word for material to teach the ladies, he brought to the surface an unwillingness on my part to admit that I had been enslaved to various forms of weight control – bingeing, purging, fat burners, and heavy strength training.  All of these things had given me a strong, slim body BUT had left me with an emptiness and heaviness within my spirit that He began to peel away.  It was an exhausting time, but, as He is faithful in finishing what He begins in our lives, it was also the beginning of a journey to freedom.

Jump with me to this summer.  Recently, God sovereignly acted in my life so that I “stumbled upon” Beth Moore’s Breaking Free Bible Study.  In this study, Beth asks the reader to identify any strongholds that need tearing down.  Needless to say, God showed me how dieting and body image had been in my life as a stronghold for over 20 years, and that it finally needed to be laid to rest. 

This is my journal entry from the day that I believe God finally set me free from the insecurities that led to a lifetime of mistreating my body through excessive exercise and eating disorders . . . 

“Father, I am not sure when I began overeating but I do remember the nickname that I was given as a child:  “FATS”.  I hated being called this.  It was and still is a derogatory remark that did nothing to encourage me or to allow me to see myself as beautiful.  It hurt me terribly.  Father, right now I want to offer up forgiveness to those who gave this name to me and I want to ask Your forgiveness for believing this lie.  This image of being fat has infiltrated my mind and been the root cause of so many struggles with my weight over the years.”

It is hard to admit that we have ANY form of eating disorder, for they come in various forms and disguises.  But my heart’s cry is that if you are reading this article and your heart is stirred because of it, that you will seriously ask God to show You if there is anything within your eating or exercise that could be seen as obsessive or destructive.  If He shows you anything that needs dealing with, don’t wait 20 years as I did.  Deal with it today and then believe His Word when he says,

For you created my inmost being, you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made, I know that full well.”  (Psalm 139:13-14)

And then remember, EXTERNAL beauty will fade with age but INTERNAL beauty remains forever!

The beginning of this school year has been packed full with College Girl's Night, NSO, classes starting, and our first Connecting Point event: Engaging One Another. Last weekend, we wrapped up another awesome event. One hundred women were in attendance as SEBTS Women's Life hosted the Living Proof Live: Beth Moore simulcast in Binkley chapel. Many decisions were made and lives were changed. We are so thankful for all that the Lord did through this event, and we hope to see each of you soon!

Our first Connecting Point event on Monday was a huge success! We loved meeting one another and many of the ladies and ministries that serve our campus so well. 
If you missed Engaging One Another, here are some pictures from Monday.  

We also made applications available for the Craft and Bake sale. 
You can download an application here

We hope to see you on October 21st for Engaging Our Own!

It's the most wonderful time of the year! We have released the applications for the Craft and Bake sale (and I can hear many of you rejoicing and exclaiming, "Finally!!") Here is a testimony from one of last year's vendors, Jared Ownby:

The SEBTS Craft & Bake Sale was a great time for me to promote, sell, and meet lots of people. I roast, package, and sell coffee as a hobby business, but that day I sold pour-over coffee by the cup as well. 

If I still lived in the SEBTS area I would definitely participate again. I wish I had that kind of opportunity here in Tennessee before Christmas!

Do you make or bake something people might want to buy? Sign up and participate! You can download an application here.
Did you participate last year? Comment below and let us know what you sold! If you came by to shop, comment with what your favorite purchase was!

Four fun events!

We want to let you know about four opportunities for you to spend time with other SEBTS ladies that we are quite excited about. Check out the information below!

Our first Connecting Point event of the year is next Monday, September 9th:

On September 14th, come join women from around North Carolina and around the US to learn from a well-respected women's ministry leader:

You have a chance to see an awesome movie and to meet Mrs. Akin and the wonderful women of the Women's Auxiliary who support us with their time, prayer, and support:

And an ongoing opportunity to make new friends and stay fit at the same time: