Carmen Imes - Class of '99
If you had told me 5 years ago that as a mother of 3 young children I would be entering a Ph.D program, I would have said you were nuts … and we both would have been right. This is nuts, humanly speaking. But God is full of surprises!
It was the summer of 2006. Danny and I had just moved to Charlotte, NC, with our two girls so that Danny could work at the International office of SIM (Serving In Mission), the mission organization we’d been serving with since 2002. Emma was less than a year old. Eliana and I were about to begin kindergarten together. I was getting into the groove with motherhood and homemaking. Then Danny made a casual suggestion that would change everything.
Life Altering Question
“Why don’t you take a class this fall? I think you’d enjoy the challenge.” Gordon-Conwell Seminary had a campus not far from our home, but I didn’t know how seminary would work for a stay-at-home mom. I checked the fall course schedule so that I could tell Danny it simply wasn’t possible. Surprisingly, their classes were all offered on evenings and weekends. (No need for childcare!) So I enrolled. I told the admissions counselor that I had no intention of graduating. A Master’s degree was more than I could handle.
The Flame from Multnomah
I started by taking one class at a time. Experiencing formal study of God’s Word once again fanned a flame in me that had been lit at Multnomah. I just couldn’t get enough! My desire to teach Bible at the college level grew with each class that I took. That would mean further schooling.
In the spring of 2009 we had a decision to make. I was halfway through an MA in Biblical Studies, just finishing a “sabbatical” year during which our son, Easton, was born. Danny and I sat down together to pray about our future. If I was going to finish my degree and apply to doctoral programs, then we needed to know whether that was “someday” or “soon.” God answered our prayers by connecting us with Dr. Daniel Block, professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College Graduate School in Illinois. Wheaton’s program seemed like the perfect fit for me. The more I got to know Dr. Block, the more I wanted to work with him. Since he’s nearing retirement, Dr. Block encouraged me to push hard to finish at Gordon-Conwell and apply to Wheaton. Danny agreed. So I did. And now we’re here.
The past two years have been an amazing ride. One by one the barriers have been replaced by miracles. Ph.D applications. MA Thesis Defense and graduation. Selling our house. Moving. On paper it seems like it should have been a terribly taxing journey, but Danny and I have never felt more synergy and momentum than we have this year. We can truly say, along with the Psalmist, “The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy!” (Psa 126:3 NIV)
How about you? Is it time for you to take the next step towards answering God’s call on your life? God is full of surprises. Maybe you’re next!
About the Author
Carmen (Camfferman) Imes graduated from Multnomah Bible College in 1999. She and her husband, Danny (BS ’00), have been serving as missionaries with SIM since 2002, first in the Philippines, then in Charlotte, NC and now working remotely from Wheaton, IL. They have 3 children: Eliana (10), Emma (6), and Easton (3). Carmen is currently pursuing her Ph.D in Old Testament at Wheaton College Graduate School in Illinois. In the rare moments when she is not studying or doing laundry, Carmen enjoys blogging (seminarymom.blogspot.com), scrapbooking, biking with her family, and reading aloud to her kids.