Possessing a degree in banking and finance from the University of Missouri-Columbia, she had been working as a commercial lender at a bank when her mother was diagnosed with cancer. Pastor Sharon and her husband Joel were expecting their first child and so she decided to take a leave of absence to care for her mother.
The experience changed the direction of her life. “I just couldn’t go back to the bank after my mother’s death,” she said. “The bank no longer offered much meaning to me.”
Instead, she focused on her new son, Glenn, who was a special-needs child. Learning how to engage him, and then “teach his teachers how to teach him,” was a full-time job.
As Glenn and a second son, Sam, grew up, Pastor Sharon and her husband became more involved in their church and joined a mission trip to Haiti. She increasingly felt like God was calling her to make a difference, but how or where were still unclear to her. A part-time position at her church helped Pastor Sharon clarify her feelings, and she realized she wanted to go to the seminary—Eden Theological Seminary, which was conveniently located in her hometown of Webster Groves, Mo.
“Walking into the seminary was like breathing different air, like air in the mountains,” she remembers. “It just felt right.”