In recent years, Micaela Mercer has taken a spiritual journey leading her from medical school in the Midwest to Southwestern Seminary, where she is now preparing to serve the Great Physician.
A 2007 graduate from Texas Christian University with her bachelor’s degree in biology, Mercer had professed faith in Christ at a church camp when she was a child.
As a college student, however, she struggled with doubts about the truth of Christianity by her junior year. A lack of Christian fellowship, along with her science and religion classes, contributed to her doubts: “I was at a point,” she said, “where I was just like, ‘I don’t even know, if there is a God, who God is.”
“But, in God’s providence,” Mercer said, “I had a job set up that summer to work as a counselor at a camp. Camp ministry was always important to me because I got saved at a camp and had always wanted to be a counselor.”
As she worked at this camp near Huntsville, Texas, God drew Mercer back to Himself, and she “realized for the first time what it meant to have a passionate relationship with Jesus.”
After graduating from TCU in December 2007, Mercer moved to Huntsville, where she began to grow in her walk with Christ. A month later, she was accepted into medical school at Des Moines University-Osteopathic Medical Center in Des Moines, Iowa.
“It was in that part of my life that the Lord planted a seed for a desire to do ministry, but I had already committed to med school,” Mercer said. The summer before beginning medical school, she began to feel anxious about the situation. The school was 20 minutes from her family, and none of her family members were Christians. How would she follow Christ in the old environment where she had drifted from Him?
During the fall of 2008, Mercer was ill at ease in medical school. Her family situation was good, and she had found Christian friends and a church home. But she described this time as a “dark night of the soul.” Around October, she knew she needed to return to Fort Worth to attend seminary.
“In my heart, I knew I wanted to do seminary, but it seemed like a selfish choice at that time,” Mercer said. “I wanted to learn a lot about the Bible, and I wanted to learn theology, but I was … studying for a career that was all about giving back to people. And how would I give back if I went to seminary?”
“Now that I’m here,” she added, “I feel like it is not about me at all. The more that I learn, the more that I’m simply able to be used as a vessel to pour that knowledge out to other people … I’m seeing doors open where I am able to serve and just able to pour into others all the time.”
Prayerfully, and despite resistance from her family, Mercer enrolled as a MACE student at Southwestern Seminary in the fall of 2009. Throughout this transition, she has learned from Matthew 6:33 and now from Philippians 3:10, where Paul writes about his desire to have fellowship with Christ’s sufferings.
“Just whatever the situation is,” Mercer said, “going through that with Christ and becoming more like Him through my shared experience with Him has been a huge thing for me.”