This process and experience of candidacy has been, to me, delectable. I came into the process as any other candidate – slightly unsure of how it was going to be, how challenged I would truly feel, believing it was some kind of test of the validity of my faith. However, it has been incredibly affirming, supportive, and wonderful. I whole-heartedly believe in the Lutheran position of call being verified by the community, and that the responsibility of the candidacy committee(s) is to participate in my discernment. I cannot imagine feeling more affirmed in my call then I have been in candidacy. One thing that this relationship of candidate/CoVE has done for me is allow me to spend the time necessary to be authentic to myself. I have a sense of call that is as similar as it is dis-similar to other sisters, and I have been accompanied through these discerning waters with such compassion, challenge, and respect by those sent to wade with me. Personally, I have experienced pregnancies, childbirth, the purchase of a house, sending young ones to elementary school and day care, and a change in degree programs – all only since entering candidacy! My life can feel very chaotic, yet I am content in what I am called to do – be a mother, wife, daughter, friend, intern, theology student, and entranced candidate to a community of strong and powerful women, among many other expressions!
However, I feel I must add that the best support I have received has been from the praying and listening communities of CoVE, the Deaconesses, and my congregation. I have been given so many amazing opportunities to discern through speaking out my call, and I am blessed to be surrounded by people who are willing to listen to my hashing out of words and meanings, desires and needs. A shift has been uncovered, and I am processing new language around what I feel my call to be. I feel stronger and more in touch with my own self so that I can better articulate what I feel called to do.
When I think of my responsibility as a public minister of the Lutheran Church, I feel challenged to be the most authentic Elizabeth that I was created to be. I am, indeed, created in God’s image, and I am nothing short of blessed by that. As a public minister, I feel it is my responsibility to express and experience my humanity in fullness alongside my brothers and sisters. I believe I should show fallibility and courage, strength and soreness, compassion and challenge, might as well as humility. I believe the most pertinent of leaders are those that know how to follow, how to be still, how to encourage, and how to let go. I believe that I must strive to be as whole as can be, with boundaries that are solid and clear. It is as important to others as it is to my family to see that I can set aside time and energy for them, and space to care for my own body, and nurture my own soul. I believe another responsibility of a public minister is to know when to delegate and when to take steps to avoid burnout. And last but certainly not least, it is imperative for a public minister to live in ways that uplift and liberate those experiencing oppression and injustices; to speak for those with no voice, and work for the good of human equality, and to strive to always do better, always continue growing and challenging themselves and others, and never settle for good enough in matters of justice and liberation.
I am nourished by the deep, theological life stories of others. I know the holy ground I am invited to walk on when people share with me their stories of body theology, and sexual wholeness, and spiritual renewal. I feel refreshed at the freedom others experience by releasing their painful or secret stories to me as if I were re-emerging from my baptismal waters over and over again, holding the hands of my sisters and brothers. There is something holy about the way people feel moved to share their (hole-y) lives with me. There is beauty in the never black and white ways in which lives are lived. I am fueled by the demands of all those who want to share their stories with others, and I am moved by the ones I am able to hear.
 “Formula of Concord Epitome” in The Book of Concord, ed. Robert Kolb and Timothy J. Wengert, (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2000), 518. Hereafter cited as FCE.
 AP 132
 Ephesians 2:8-9
 AP 145
 AP 127
 Romans 8:38-39