Disturb Us, Lord

Greetings, My Ladies!
I just wanted to pop in and say a quick hello before I head off to my first day of classes. I’ve been in new student orientation the past several days but today is the real deal and I can’t wait! For those of you who care to know the details, I am working on a Th.M. (Master of Theology) in Biblical Studies at a local seminary just outside of Atlanta limits. This particular Th.M. is a one year advanced Master’s program for students who have already completed a Master’s degree within the field. There are only five of us in the Th.M. program! The program was right up my alley because it is primarily research oriented and I was looking for something that would help me really grow in my research and writing skills. Not to mention all of my Bible classes assume knowledge of Greek and Hebrew, so I will also grow further in my knowledge of the languages as well. Can’t beat that. My classes are the following: Romans, Th.M. Research Seminar, Exegesis of Mark, Christology, Theology of Isaiah and the Exile, and Song of Songs. Pretty sweet schedule, right? Oh, and did I mention that Columbia Theological Seminary is about ten minutes away…? That helped, too. Columbia is Presbyterian and since I am from a different denominational background it will make for a new kind of atmosphere for me. I am really looking forward to being a tad bit out of my comfort zone. Already I have met people from a very wide array of denominations.
We had chapel during orientation and so many things were different about the service. We had a liturgical reading and sang hymns I had never heard of and we did all this in a chapel with beautiful stained glass, a center aisle, and hard wooden pews. I took a few shots of the chapel yesterday because I thought it was so delightful.
But amidst all of the differences in the service, I couldn’t believe how many things were exactly the same. First off, the President of the seminary welcomed us during our chapel service with that old and very standard joke, “Welcome to Columbia Theological Cemetery!” If you have been to seminary, you know well how this joke is completely predictable and yet it works every time. Because, unfortunately, it is true. Seminary often ends up being a spiritually dry time unless a student is intentional about not letting it be so and this was exactly what Dr. Hayner preached about. His text was John 5.36-40, a text that has become so very dear to me over the years.
“I have testimony weightier than that of John. For the very work that the Father has given me to finish, and which I am doing, testifies that the Father has sent me. And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent. You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.”

The part that really gets me is “You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life.” There was a long stretch of time during my first several years of theological education that I did not pray. At all. I sat in classes and sermons and rather than receiving the word of God, I listened for leaders to make a theological mistake. And then I would sit around with other students and we would talk about the theological mistakes and whatnot. And we did and said all of this in the name of piety. We would “humbly” explain how we revered the word of God and we didn’t want anyone distorting it or tainting it or mishandling it. Now, don’t get me wrong, those kind of statements are appropriate and noble but when you add a very hard heart, a critical spirit, and a lack of intimacy with God to it- well, it simply isn’t authentic and things go downhill. Very fast. Now this is not everyone’s experience but it was mine. For a season. Thank God He allowed me to live on. My Mom was the most instrumental person in my life in helping guide me out of that dry season. She would often say to me “this is not bearing good fruit in you, Darling… have you spent actual time with the Lord today?” I no longer had the love of God in my heart and it was starting to surface in the way I criticized and looked down on other people and in the way I neglected time with Jesus Himself (see John 5.42).
But the catch here is that during that dry season I was studying Scripture more intensely than I had ever studied it before. Yet I was no longer engaged with the One to whom Scripture points, Jesus. I was no longer receiving life itself. This is a good reminder for all of us who love to study Scripture and my heart leapt for joy when Dr. Hayner preached on this very issue during orientation. Those of us who tend to assume that our spiritual maturity is directly equal to how much Scripture we read on a particular day would do well to keep this verse at the forefront of our minds.
Now, I am not saying that a person can be spiritually mature without reading Scripture but what I am saying is that a person can study Scripture rigorously and not be spiritually mature. Indeed, Jesus said that a person can “diligently study” the Scriptures yet refuse to receive life in Him altogether. The difference here is profound and chilling. There is a right way to read the Scriptures and a wrong way- the wrong way is to read them spiritually detached from the One to whom they point. So, all this to say, I am looking forward to a year drenched in study of the Scripture but I am grateful for the warning and all I know is that I don’t want to go back to that dark place again.
I want to end this blog post with a poem that was also a part of our chapel service but coincidentally is a poem that one of my dear Professors from Wheaton used in his classes on the first day. It made me feel at home. You’ve probably heard it before but it blesses me anew each time I read it.

Disturb us, Lord, when
We are too well pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true
Because we have dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely
Because we sailed too close to the shore.

Disturb us, Lord, when
With the abundance of things we possess
We have lost our thirst
For the waters of life;
Having fallen in love with life,
We have ceased to dream of eternity
And in our efforts to build a new earth,
We have allowed our vision
Of the new Heaven to dim.

Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
To venture on wider seas
Where storms will show your mastery;
Where losing sight of land,
We shall find the stars.
We ask You to push back
The horizons of our hopes;
And to push into the future
In strength, courage, hope, and love.
[Sir Francis Drake]
The Library… where I’ll be spending the bulk of my time. It is a pretty nice sized library for a small seminary. The Librarian told me that almost all of the shelves are Bible and Theology!
The side view of the Library…
Have a great Thursday! It’s almost the weekend! Don’t you love four day weeks…?
Love to you,

200 Responses to “Disturb Us, Lord”

If you'd like your own pic by your comment, go to Gravatar.com. Click the first button "Get your gravatar today ->", and it will walk you through a simple process to select a picture.


  1. 151
    Sherri M - NH says:


    Thank you so much for letting us into your life…I loved what you had to say & it spoke right to my heart. I also learned something b/c I didn't know what a liturgical sermon is – well I do now! LOL!!

    May the Lord bless you this year & hold tightly to him at all times.

  2. 152
    Joanne (The Simple Wife) says:

    Oh girl, you know I'm so excited for you and longing to walk along those paths with you, lugging books and laptap and juggling a latte while headed to class.

    I'm so excited for you!

    So, are you a front row girl? A middle of the classroom girl? A back row girl? Do you type your notes on your laptop, or are you a notebook and a good pen kind of girl?

    (Me? I love the first or second row and a good Trapper Keeper. And a Bic crystal ballpoint pen. In black.)

    Love you!


  3. 153
    Warrior in Training says:

    Oh thank you Lord for such a soft, beautiful reminder through your precious daughter.
    Melissa your pictures are awesome and your word for the day even better. Thank you…….

  4. 154
    O'Nealya Gronstal says:

    Melissa, can I just say how poignant this post is today? I got goosebumbs looking at the pictures and reading about the library. You would never get me out of there!

    I completely, 100% relate with your honest to goodness confession. What you described is exactly why I left Bible college more than 10 years ago.

    Unfortunately I did not have someone like your mom recognize what was going on.

    While studying Esther this spring, as your mom described your dad picking up his bird dog and getting her off point I literally felt God pick me up and reverse my destiny. While sitting in that church pew, watching your mom on the screen, the same calling I felt when I was 16 came back with a vengence. God had not forgotten. God still wanted to use me. God still has a perfect plan and God was calling my name to serve him through serving women. Exactly the same call I responded to on a Sunday night in a little Baptist church in upstate New York.

    Bible "college" has been traded for what Kay Arthur calls UGA, Under God's Authority at my dining room table and in my office area of our master bedroom.

    I am now writing my first Bible Study. And for the last week or so I have been staring at a blank screen. Just this morning i prayed that God would reveal to me why this wall is between His Spirit and me. Through you He has answered me – return to the Scriptures for Life. Streams of Living Water. Get prostrate before the Lover of my soul and fall in love for the first time again…

    Thank you Melissa from the bottom of my heart. I pray that God meets you at Columbia in a way that leaves you breathless.

  5. 155
    Emmy says:

    Wow thank you Melissa! That was a beautiful testimony… it really spoke to me! I love you honest transparency!

    Beth your daughters are awesome! God uses their posts to so speak to my heart! Know you must be about to "pop" ! : )

    Such Fruit! : )

    Beautiful! God Bless! Emmy

  6. 156
    Anonymous says:

    A great post!! Stings a little, but reminded me not to place more emphasis on studying than I do on my relationship with the Author.

    In His Service,
    Kay Martin

  7. 157
    Lynn says:

    Melissa, I so appreciate what you said about diligently studying the scriptures but not being connected to Jesus. I have been there and it is a dry and dreary place for sure. What a beautiful chapel and stately library! Imagine 192,000 books to choose from! Enjoy your studies.

  8. 158
    Anonymous says:

    Thank you for this post. It speaks to me! The campus where you will be studying is beautiful. May you be blessed in your pursuit of a deeper understanding of the scriptures.


  9. 159
    JottinMama says:

    I already said a prayer for you as you head into this new and awesome journey! So cool.

    Even though I wasn't in school and digging as deep into scripture as I'm sure you were during that season – My time of greatest doubt and questioning came while I was in The Word more than ever – doing numerous Bible studies at once. It was shocking. I thought that all of my studying would lead to a richer, sturdier faith – but instead it left me kinda dry. Weird how that can happen. I guess no matter how much I'm studying – I have to remember that Jesus is IT.

    (For example – I have been studying a lot in the Old Testament lately – maybe a little tooooo much. Because, the other day my husband and I were talking about some things that made us sad and I told him that I felt like "dressing in burlap and covering myself in ashes." LOL! He said, "have you read anything in the NEW Testement lately, Babe? Maybe you should." Ha!

    May you flourish in your faith as you go about this Master's program!

    Kate 🙂

  10. 160
    Lynn says:


    I am in school this year too! I am at the Catholic Theologica Union in Chicago…

    I am WAY out of my comfort zone but learning more about God.

    Thank you for this post – it was EXACTLY what I needed.

    Blessings to you – I will be praying for you.

    Sister Lynn

  11. 161
    Anonymous says:

    really appreciate this post. It came at a time that I needed it. I am taking a bible study modeled after seminary – 4 year bible study. And, all these things I am learning have to remember that God's Word is about how much he loved humankind and wanted a relationship with us. Need to keep this foremost, as I learn how the bible was put together, interpreted, etc.

  12. 162
    Tammie Head says:

    Liiiissss, Whaa! I wish I could go to school with you.

    In the voice of Napoleon Dynamite, LUCKY.

    In all seriousness, I couldn't be more excited and, crazy proud of you. You rock girl, you rock.

    Any scholarly crumbs you want to throw this way will be hoarded and eaten immediately. You can burn my phone up any time you get too full. I've told you this before but I'd be glad to sit at your feet any day, dearest little sister.

    I love you.

  13. 163


  14. 164
    Lauren says:

    I have never read that poem before, and I love it. Awesome. Thank you for that testimony.

    Also, your seminary sounds (and looks) awesome.

  15. 165
    Anonymous says:

    As a WOMAN, I think we all go through a season of CONTROL. That has been my nemesis. If we could just rest in God's Word and not
    try to control"now what did she mean by that" we would be so much closer to God. We all need constant reminders of that. Thank you Melissa.

  16. 166
    shelli littleton says:

    Amen and amen! We can know the scriptures inside out and miss out on the ONE. Oh, how we need changing. And each season of our lives seems to require a bit different tweaking.

    God's Word … the only book that keeps on giving. I love that it can never be mastered completely … because the Master won't be mastered!

    Love you, Melissa; thank you for sharing your life with us!

  17. 167
    Living day by day for Jesus says:

    I was a Bible college student and it was for certain a bit Spiritually dry…though I met some of the most amazing people I know and respect to date there.

    I am going to be intentional about praying for you during this time!

    When I left Bible college and had to deal with real life, it was HARD! Your mom's books/Bible studies are what helped me fall in love with the Word of God again…and now I dare someone to try and stop me…ok I should be more careful about what I say…Satan is real and he will try…

    God bless you and your time…the pics are FABULOUS!

  18. 168
    Norma Bowers says:

    I can't type fast enough to get all of what is on my mind and heart to come out but when I read your title of your post, I almost fell in the floor. I have been preparing to facilitate your mom's study on Believing God (excellent!!) and only this morning, I was reading the lesson on Isaiah 6.

    I got to the part where the cherubim are crying, "Holy, holy, holy.." and the sound of their voices shook the posts in the temple. One of the definitions of the word was disturb and all I could reflect on then was, "O God, let the sight of Your holiness so disturb me, so cause my heart to rumble inside of me, so make my feet shake inside my shoes, that the only place I can find myself is at Your feet, facedown in total surrender to the "awesomeness of You!"

    I am grateful for that kind of disturbance, that shakes me up, reminds me of my true place at the feet of my Lord and His totally unfailing love and grace to provide my way to Himself.

    Melissa, I will be praying for you as you study that it will be much more than words on a page to you, but that it will be fire in your bones! Praise You God for women who want to study Your word to realize the life that You have provided for them! You go Girl!

  19. 169
    leanne says:

    Melissa, I can totally relate with you on loving the idea of all of the studying and research, and BOOKS! I have a master's in counseling and we had heavy theolgy classes…and boy was it a stretch. Enjoy your time of being immersed in the word of God!

  20. 170
    Anonymous says:

    My good friend and mentor said a similar thing to me not too long ago:
    "If we study the Word to gain more knowlege, then we profoundly miss the point. Studying the Word is supposed to change us."
    I pray you'll be changed this year in your study of the scriptures.

  21. 171
    Donita says:

    A couple unconnected comments:
    -Thank you for sharing. I can feel your excitement.
    -And thanks for the beautiful pictures. I can just imagine the beautiful school in my mind's eye. I love the way that school "feels" when I walk on a campus.
    -I had never heard that poem/reading before, but it is a good reminder for a book-girl like me.
    -And, can I say this with much tenderness from a wife who did it wrong, don't neglect your husband.

  22. 172
    Anonymous says:

    Thank you for sharing this reminder with us, Melissa. I am giving a talk next week on storing up vs. hoarding, and I had material and spiritual examples of storing up and dealing with famines but only material examples of hoarding–I wasn't sure it was possible to hoard spiritually, but I suspected there was a way we humans could manage to do so. I'm so glad you found your way back to intimacy with God so that he can use all that Scripture you were learning back in the dry time! Thank you!

  23. 173
    Kingdomseeker says:

    WoW! Did you really get down on the floor to take that picture of the chapel & stained glass windows for US? Bless your heart!!!!!

    Your studies sound quite intense! Really? ONE YEAR? I love to study, but not at that pace. Please post your insights throughout the year so that we may glean from your studies. 🙂

    Great words of wisdom, I pray that your year would produce MUCH fruit for your labor.

    Laramie, WY

  24. 174
    Jerry, Kim and Elijah says:

    Way cool!
    Kim Feth
    Apex, NC

  25. 175
    karen says:

    Amen, Sister Melissa! I'm so excited to hear of your plans and see the pictures of the beautiful seminary. Makes me a tad jealous because I was hoping to start a seminary master's program this fall and have to put it off a year, if God wills. Your classes sound great–you'll have to keep us posted throughout the year. Thanks for including the inspiring poem too!

  26. 176
    Becky says:

    Melissa,what a great post. I know I strived for head knowledge,but didn't think about the Master. Good luck with your studies! God's blessing to you in sitting at His feet in a Mary sorta way!

  27. 177
    Curly T says:

    Just wanted you to know that you are not the only one that has done this. I have too. When I first started studying (Breaking Free was my first), I was so excited about everything – couldn't wait to get into the Scriptures and prayed and memorized verses. As time went along (and at least 10 Bible studies later), I found I was excited about the studying and bored with my prayer life and didn't have time for memorizing Scripture. Dry – dry – dry season for sure. Eventually, the Lord revealed to me what the problem was and we slowly got me out of it. Honestly, it was a bad habit I was in: diving in the Scriptures without prayer time. I always do my studying in the morning hours, before the rest of my family gets up and once they are awake, time gets away. Now, I try to reverse that: pray then study. And, this year I have memorized more Scripture than I ever had, thanks to you guys and the Scripture memory every two weeks!

    "All head knowledge and no heart knowledge makes Traci a very dry Christian." 🙂

    Thanks for the "real" post,

  28. 178
    valerie says:

    Thank you Melissa.
    I loved the testimony, the pictures & the poem.
    I'll be praying for you and look forward to hearing more.
    God bless you!
    P.S. Thank God for your precious mom who spoke the truth in love to you. She's been such a blessing to my life.

  29. 179
    Anonymous says:

    Melissa: Thanks so much for sharing your "season:.. My younger brother has been in this same season, but OH for so long! Now I really know how to pray for him!!

    May this time around be exhilirating as you draw closer to the ONE who breathes life into those precious words.


  30. 180
    Anonymous says:

    reminds me of why i like reading Pope Benedict so much…..he is SOOOOOOOOOO learned/studied/theological and scholarly but writes with his heart for a pen…don't know if that explains it but…. you make me think of what he might have been like as a young man!

  31. 181
    Audrey says:

    Song of Songs, huh?? I recall your momma saying (at the beginning of the Esther study) she wasn't about to go into that, but after all your study, she just might get hooked!

    Just teasing, but anything's possible 🙂

    Enjoy His Word this semester and always!

  32. 182
    Deanna says:

    You have so much wisdom for your young years. Too smart for an older woman (44) like me. 🙂 This post really struck me hard. I just read those verses in John last week. I've been doing one of those read through the bible in a certain amount of time things, and it's been great. The problem is that I will miss a few days, then read just for the sake of "getting it in", without praying or stopping to think about what I've just read. Until I read those verses. Thank you for reaffirming what I thought the Lord was telling me. You and your family are such encouragers in the Lord.
    I am excited for you as you start back to school and that you have such a beautiful place to learn and worship.

  33. 183
    karensk says:

    Thanks for sharing the beautiful pics and your experiences. I'm praying for you…that the Lord will reveal Himself to you in a whole bunch of new ways during this time of study. Looking forward to hearing what He shows you!

    Karen K.

  34. 184
    Laura_Primus says:

    Wow, love that library – BEAUTIFUL. I must admit, I'm so jealous – I want to go back to school – seminary . . . but, alas, my job is "mom" to young kids right now and there just isn't time for it.
    Later though – I am inspired!

  35. 185
    Unreasonable Grace says:

    Melissa, how excited I am for you! How different my life would have been if I'd made sure I had a real relationship with my Savior as a young adult, and gone on to Bible College and seminary. Praying that you will receive ALL that God has for you in this new season!

  36. 186
    the4leegirls says:

    Disturb Me Lord….give me one ounce of this sweet sisters passion.

  37. 187
    gr8flone says:

    Melissa, Thanks for sharing your heart. I've been there, too. It's amazing how the evil one can take a very good thing and use it against us. He certainly takes advantage of our sinful nature. Be sure and drink in all the liturgy. I'm afraid some of our evangelical circles have lost something when we disregard the things of old. There is real richness in some of it. I appreciated the poem you shared too. Maybe I'll quote it in our church newsletter this month. May God richly bless you as you grow in the wisdom and knowledge of Him!


  38. 188
    Lelia Chealey says:

    Wow, what a blessing you are Melissa! Thank you for being so real.

  39. 189
    Fran says:

    I can relate to your loving to study and loving to learn more about the Lord!

  40. 190
    Anonymous says:

    Dear Melissa, I am so excited for you and the new journey you are on. I put the "Disturb Us Lord" in my journal. I've never read that before and it was so convicting. When I read that you were attending the University with a Presbyterian heritage I couldn't help but to think about one of my favorite authors,Catherine Marshall. Her first husband, Peter Marshall, was a Presbyterian minister that eventually became the Chaplain for the U.S. Senate. He went home to be with the Lord at a fairly young age and it left Catherine a young widow. God did an amazing work in her life. Because Peter had been such a profound speaker and was able to really preach in a way that helped people feel that God was personal and that He could be known, she was encouraged to do a compilation of his sermons. "Mr. Jones, Meet The Master," was the fruit of this. It not only had a huge impact then, it provided Catherine and her young son with provision. She went on to do "A Man Called Peter," that was also adapted into a movie. These are timeless works. Sorry to ramble on, but I just wanted to share that with you. These books, as well as her others have had a huge impact in my walk. Again, I am excited for you. And I want to share that your Mom, you and your sister and your ministries have had a huge impact on my walk and well as countless others. In Jesus' Love Kathy Knoblock

  41. 191
    susie says:

    Angels on the Wing said: Bless your determination and willingness to be led by the teaching of the Holy Spirit instead of man during your stay at Seminary Collage. I too pray about going too, on line, for there is not Seminary Collage near here where I live, and trusting to get a job so I can afford to go in the future,all in Gods time,huh? Yes, be deligted within Gods Word,and make sure what your learning is pure and true,donts rest on your laurels, for we only know a little, and more will be revealed if we dont faint. Test what you are being taught, that it is in agreement with the teaching of the Holy Spirit, check your jaw…..Spend time just to be, and to be with Jesus…..To study is fine,but to know Him is more of the spirit than of the mind.Each day, take time to rest, abide and sit at the Masters feet, for he is our true teacher, listin to whay He says!!! Love,congrats on the new horizon of studying His Word, be a success in Him, in Jesus name I pray,,,,,Susie, angels on the wing…..

  42. 192
    Bev Brandon says:

    "Come to Me" – Melissa, what is most alive in you? It's that sweet desire to really know Him. Come close this year, you will! I love the way you wrestle with deep things, deep places your heart is taking you. Your post reminded me of the C.S. Lewis quote: "No man knows how bad he is until he has tried very hard to be good." You wrestle well. Deut 32:47 – His Words are your very life…no idle words from you ever! It is our joy to hear your beautiful heart! Love, Bev

  43. 193
    Hiker Mama says:

    I really needed this note from you. My son has been going to a Baptist University for a major in religion. Before college he was on fire for the Lord and would share the message with anyone remotely interested. After 4 years there, he claims that he is agnostic. It breaks my heart to see him with such a negative spiritual attitude. I am encouraged to know that this happens to a lot of students and that there is a chance that he will come back to the Truth!
    Have a great semester……

  44. 194
    Joel Watson, OMS IV says:

    Fantastic poem. I had never read this before! Linking back to you from our blog. Thank you so much for sharing!

  45. 195
    tiggerdaisy says:

    Hey Melissa! I came across 1 Corinthians 8:1 and it made me think of this post. Knowledge can make us puffed up and arrogant, but love…well, love edifies.

    I have thought about what you said in the post a lot. Again, thanks for sharing your heart.

    Prayers and blessings,

  46. 196
    katiegfromtennessee says:

    Hi Mrs. Melissa:)

    The Lord has brought you through a lot of formal schooling, and He's still bringing you through it! I see what you are saying, I wouldn't want that for any of us either, to study scripture, but it not sink in and change us and bring us in closer relationship with HIM. I want to love Him deeply Melissa. I don't think I'm there yet, but I want to be…I want to grow more mature in my walk. I'm not nearly where I should be. I'm too self-focused. I saw this poem on Miss Bethany from CA's blog. It reminds me to not be prideful and to not be afraid to follow Him anywhere. The Lord hates pride and He wants us to trust Him…

    Blessings to you tonight, ((HUGS)), Love in HIM,


  47. 197
    He Knows My Name says:

    Melissa, I thank you so much for this post of utter honesty. It truly runs in the family and I am so blessed by each one of you. I know you will do well and want to do the will of the Father. May He take you to wonderful places you have never walked as you study this year.

    Loved the pictures. What a beautiful campus.


  48. 198
    Whitney Ford says:

    Hey, I'm at Candler Theological Seminary just down the road from you! Pitts Theological Library at Emory is pretty huge, so you're welcome to hang over there if you ever need anything!

  49. 199
    Melissa says:


    I've been to Pitts a number of times and I audited a couple of classes at Candler last year for fun and thoroughly enjoyed myself. Yeah, it is way bigger than our Library for sure. Super fabulous. You are a lucky girl!

    Perhaps we shall run into one another sometime!


  50. 200
    Whitney Ford says:

    oops, I just realized you said small seminary not small library 😛 Didn't want you to think I was dissing your school! Sorry 🙂

Leave a Reply

To receive a daily digest of comments on this post, enter your email address below: