So…today is finally the day that I get my ‘blog on.’
I’ll try my very best to write in brevity about everything that been going on up here in Oregon at Multnomah Biblical Seminary. There’s been quite a bit so please, if much of this sounds and seems like stuff you’ve already heard…humor me…there are many people I have not kept in contact with very well… this is as much for them as it for all of you who are up to speed on me.
That said… hmm… what has God been up to during the course of this first year of Seminary. Well…quite a lot is an easy way to answer it. I think the best way to explain everything is to start with the ‘right now’. In a nutshell: I was getting dangerously and wonderfully close to proposing to my very best friend, Jeanine. During Christmas break I had come to a point where I was simply tired of not being anything more than this ‘gray relationship’ in which we were obviously much more than just best friends, but not willing to say we were anything else, officially. It’s even annoying to explain all of that in a sentence…so you can see why living it for two years straight had quickly become something I was not willing to live with any longer.
…So…the plan was, assuming I´d return from Scotland to find “us” as we´d always been (gray) to fly back at Spring Break (in two weeks) ask for her Dad’s blessing to propose to his baby girl, then back to Seminary to buy the ring…propose to her the very next day…sweep her off to Jerusalem for a semester of studying and a honeymoon…then…
who knows…perhaps support her as she got her Master’s at Fresno State. So…that sounds all great, right… until of course my almost-fiance came to the exact opposite conclusion about “us” during Christmas break.
Jeanine decided that we were never going to be together. As you can see, my plans seemed a bit one-sided now (grin). So…I had my heart officially broken in early January just after getting home from Scotland, and have been mending it as best I know how ever since. God has never been more real and perfect than He is right now in my life. If I were to take a stab at His reasoning, in which case I will of course be somewhat off, I think God was disappointed that I had for three long years shared His throne room with another…in this case, that person was Jeanine. God broke my heart in order that I might forever learn how, who and whento give it to another. That time is obviously not right now, and not Jeanine.
All that said, I can’t think of a more comforting and wise thought to follow and take refuge in, than knowing that my God has been and will always be the only person who knows exactly what is best for me. So…I choose to listen…and it empowers me to know that I will never again, insofar as I listen the the Spirit, give my heart away to another, save for my wife. So, from heartbreak to heartsave have I come…if any of you would like to know what you can pray for with regard to me, know that you can always pray for Mrs. Justin Gunter; that she may be kept safe and continually strengthened in her love for our God wherever she is. I thank God endlessly for breaking me the way He did and continues to do.
So, yes, that was a mouthful about pretty much one thing…which I think testifies on its own to the fact that I really did give too much of my heart away to her. That one thing though explains so much of what this year has been to me…
…the gray clouds when I got up here in Oregon might as well symbolized the clarity of our relationship…then the Christmas storm hit…and it felt like my world cracked open …and now…new life is again emerging from the same heart that felt like it would never again ever feel healed. God does break the legs of His sheep that choose to run off so that they know how close and dependent they truly need to be on Him alone. I consider myself honored to have been struck by God…may I always be dealt with in such ways and worse if I ever again defile my heart by sharing it before such a time.
So…I might have mentioned I was at school. Yes, there is life outside of Jeanine. Seminary is amazingly challenging and the Bible that’s being taught here …it’s just like 2 Tim . 3:14 … “it is a double-edged sword, piercing joint and marrow, dividing soul and spirit.” The Word of God was never just a book to me, but it certainly did not represent life to me the way it does now. My faith has been given a violent shove into serious, and from this kind of instruction and undeniable conviction there is no chance of turning back. This does not mean I will not continue to stumble and slip in my silly human limitation and fallen existence, but I cannot escape or deny what has been written on my heart. I am forever employed to do His bidding in bringing about His Kingdom.
When I first arrived at Multnomah I decided almost instantly that I wanted to get a Master’s degree in Counseling. I of course did not follow my instincts, thinking it could not be that simple, and chose to do the generic high-end degree of Master’s of Divinity (which is just a fancy way of saying just about every class they offer). Luckily, by the grace of a few infinitely patient Admin. people, I was able to change a class a month into this semester and get back on track for my Counseling degree.
So…in trying to answer my parents ‘let’s-make-sense-of-it-all-question…”what are you going to do when you get out of school?…I guess I can still say confidently, I don’t know. I know that the thing I most enjoy in the world, as well as the thing that most aligns itself with the spiritual gift I’ve been given, is simply to take care of people. I find that conversation and listening are more foreign than the Greek and Hebrew I’m studying now. That said, the only thing I’ve ever been continually told I do not just well, but better than anyone, is take care of people. That’s quite a big compliment, and an even bigger life to fill.
So…what am I planning on doing…(grin) I don’t know. But since that drives almost any detailed exhorter insane, maybe this’ll suffice for now…
1.) I plan to get my Master’s degree in Counseling in hopes that I would be able to serve in both the secular side of counseling…all though my heart is first and foremost for full-time ministry. Haha, but we know about not giving my heart away, now don’t I…so I’m leaving that decision up to God.
2.) The counseling degree is just as much a degree for my character as it is for my future. What I mean by that is that Counseling is the wisest choice for me since regardless of whatever I end up doing, Counseling will always be what I am doing. That said, I have always had a deep desire for Missions as well as Medicine, and while I have no idea if either one or both will ever be a dominate part of my future, I do plan on pursuing those parts of my heart during my time here at school.
3.) I plan to study in Jerusalem (www.juc.edu) University College next semester in order that the bible might come to life in ways I can’t even begin to imagine.
4.) So…other than wanting to be a husband and a Dad so badly that it often works against me and where my heart needs to be…I plan to educate myself as a Counselor, with the very fullest of intentions of seeing whether or not God would give me peace to pursue being a missionary/medical worker, or a pastor (Children’s, Lead, Assoc.). So…for those of you who care about me in the I’m-curious-about-your-future-plans kind of way, (Mom and Dad) I offer this in hopes that it will inspire you to pray about it on my behalf, dream out loud about it together, and finally, chip in your two cents to help me as I explore these possibilities in serving Christ with my whole life.
*We just had Mission’s Week here at Multnomah and I had the honor of being being in charge of the ‘Africa’ night. That is quite a simple way of saying that I, along with two other guys, built a 90 foot x 60 foot full-scale Africa replica church to make our Africa guests that flew in feel a bit more at home as they spoke and shared with us the heartbeat of our brothers and sisters in Africa. That country hurts so incredible…and yet the people fight to survive so valiantly that it does nothing short of encourage me to drop everything and serve alongside them. We are far too lukewarm in our faith here in America…and all though we hurt here as well, the kind of faith that is produced from a country like Africa…hmm…let’s just say, if God allows me to stay alive long enough to see such an opportunity, I will most definitely be smelling the sweet African air some day.
Since this is obviously going to be an ongoing blog I will not try and fit everything in it all at once, lest I lose anyone who might ever consider reading a short little something about my experiences. I will most certainly blog about all the wonderful people I have been blessed with up here in a majority of the blogs to come. They have been my greatest teachers and as such will, I have no doubt, speak wisdom into your life just by reading about them. If you feel inclined…please pray for my heart as this is the very of times for the Enemy to attack it. I am learning what to fight for all over again…and as exciting as it truly is, it hurts an awful lot more than I would ever let on.
To all my beautiful friends…my sick Grandmas…the girl I’m letting be free of me…my family in Peru who I feel have no idea how much I love them (that will change very soon)and my wonderful and scattered across America immediate family…I offer all of this up to the God that is never guaranteed to be safe…but is most certainly good! May you be pleased with the way we live Father. Amen.