Leadership Scholars

Real Transformation

“Real transformation requires real honesty.  If you want to move forward – get real with yourself.”  — Bryant McGill

By Crystal Ham

The word of the day is transform. As I googled quotes about transformation, the one above spoke loudly from the computer screen. Transform. Honesty. Forward. Real.  All words that represent potential and oftentimes fear in my life. As I’m sitting here reflecting on what transformation means to me and the role it has played in my ministerial experience, I am excited and terrified that it is Spring Break of my last semester of seminary. As if I haven’t done enough transforming the last almost three years. Honestly though, my entire life.

When I looked up the definition of transform, it seemed that a lot of the definitions suggested sudden, drastic changes to the structure of things. Yes, there have been moments in my life of drastic transformation that occurred literally overnight. But I also believe that transformation requires time, patience, honesty and sincerity. Sure, I would love the ability to transform into a superhero at times, but where is the education in that? If I could press a button and be someone or something different, where would the gradual learning and heart-wrenching change happen?

What I am suggesting is that at times I do think transformation occurs suddenly.  It is in moments of uncertainties and doubts, it is in the death of someone we love, it is in the career changes, it is in the big moves, it is the birth of children….aren’t these all moments of sudden change? 

As I’m sitting here thinking about finally graduating from seminary in two months, I am also thankful for the gradual moments that I’ve had to transform particularly over the last couple of years. The moments when I wanted things to happen more quickly than they were happening. The days when I felt like I was never going to finish seminary. The nights when I laid awake wondering what in the world I was doing with my life. These were also moments of transformation.

Whether my life has transformed suddenly or gradually, one thing remains the same. God never left my side. God was always there when I ran and folded. God was there when I failed and succeeded. God was there when I cried and laughed. God is still by my side. God is still there during these times. God will always be by my side.

It is hard to imagine what the next year of my life will hold. I plan on graduating from seminary in May and beginning a CPE Residency in August. These will all be opportunities to continue to transform. Honesty. Forward. Real. Transform.

Crystal Ham is a third year Master of Divinity student at Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary and attends Emmanuel Baptist Fellowship in Columbia, SC. Upon graduation in May, Crystal will complete a year-long hospital chaplain residency at Prisma Health.

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