Degrees Are Not My Legacy
“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved by him, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly explaining the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15
In 2003, my pastor gave me some advice. I was meeting with him and his wife concerning beginning Donna Renfro Ministries. My pastor said if I was going to fulfill the call on my life, I needed to go back to school and earn a theological degree. Honestly, I did not think about his advice very much. I already had a Bachelor degree in teaching. We began Donna Renfro Ministries in December 2003. In December 2004, I had the car wreck and my life changed forever this side of Heaven.
By 2009, I had physically healed enough to consider degree seeking. Kevin and I made the decision to embark upon the journey of obtaining a Master's Degree at Emmanuel Christian Seminary. Over the course of the last seven years, I have earned two Master's degrees and on June 26, 2016 I will graduate with my second doctorate degree. I have attended four separate schools for my graduate degrees. There was no way for any human to predict in 2003 what tribulations my family was going to face, but God knew. However, my pastor had given me the perfect advice for this season of our life. I earned my Master of Biblical Studies, Master of Religious Education, and Doctorate of Biblical Counseling after many surgeries including my first brain surgery. Now, I will graduate with my PhD in Theology after my second brain surgery. Going back to school taught me far more than Greek, Theology, or Christian History. I realized I could still learn, retain information, make goals, and achieve the goals in spite of facing death, an extremely ill child, and having my husband diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, which was later changed to NMO. The car wreck took my neck mobility away; but, it did not take my life away.
My official name:
Rev. Dr. Donna Lynn Russell Renfro, M.S.B.S., M.R.E.D., D.B.C., PhD.
However, my identity is not in my official name or any letters. I am Donna, a child of God. My Dad named me Donna Lynn the day I was born. I will be Donna until the day I die. I am thankful God gave me the opportunity to obtain every degree I have received. Although I support higher education and believe in it completely, the higher I went in my education the more humbled I became. A person could study the scriptures constantly and never know all there is to know about God or the Bible. At the end of my life, all these degrees are simply pieces of paper. My prayer is I am able to rightly divide the scriptures to bring hope to the hopeless. I do not want to be remembered for having obtained degrees. I want my legacy to be: Donna obeyed God regardless of the cost, loved her family, served with integrity from her heart, and continually testified of the goodness of God all the days of her life. I want to hear the words, “Well done.” when I meet my Savior, Jesus Christ.
“The fear of the Lord is instruction in wisdom, and humility goes before honor.” Proverbs 15:33