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Read the story as it happened. Starting with the first e-mail I sent to my family and friends, I've compiled my updates I wrote as the story unfolded. Take a few minutes to experience More Great as those who love me did. 

Update 36: December 8

Melody Raines

When I started taking seminary classes, I knew that with a full-time job and a long commute, it would take me ten years to graduate. But I figured I'd be ten years older anyway; I might as well be ten years older with a degree. Five years into this plan, I decided I needed to finish faster, because, by golly, God had a plan for me and I'd better get on with it. So I got a job with a more flexible schedule and finished my classes within the next two years. All I had to do now was write my thesis.
At that point, I moved to Austin, and life changed. Cancer became my teacher and taught me more about God than I could ever learn in seminary. In the middle of all the surgeries and chemo, many of you told me I should write a book about my life. My advisor agreed with you. He let me write my story for my thesis. I finished it this summer, and this Friday I'm graduating--half a year early.

You'd think that after 9½ years I'd know why I was getting this degree and how I planned to use it. I do have some plans, but none of them requires a master's degree in Communication. I'm helping LifeWay Christian Resources and the North American Mission Board do some research on working with immigrants. I'm doing some freelance editing, and I've enlisted some friends to help me edit my thesis so I can publish it next year. When I'm not working on any of those projects, I babysit, volunteer at my church's office, and, of all things, play hostess at a model home. What kind of degree do you need for that?

A few weeks ago, God did give me a specific directive on what He wanted me to do with my degree. "Trust Me," He said. Apparently that's a life-long job, a job I'm still learning how to do. But these last 9 ½ years have certainly helped prepare me. It sounds like God has a plan for me, so, by golly, I’d better get on with it. I hope to see you along the way.
Still learning,


“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6).