Sara Tyffesen Doure’s world was rocked when her mother passed away in 2014. She describes it as a “turning point” in her life, when she felt disoriented by the grief and loss. She had experienced other times in her life where she remembers wandering in a spiritual “wilderness” place. “When I am in a space that is new and scary, I know those times won’t last forever, and while they are no fun, God says, ‘you’ve got something to learn.’”
Sara moved toward seminary following her mother's death. My decision to attend seminary also came shortly after my father’s death. I felt that I could no longer put off going to seminary—leaving it in the “someday” category. Like Sara, I felt the clock was ticking. “I didn’t want to be 70 someday and have regrets about my life,” she said.
Sara has had a lifetime of fitness, faith and studying horses. She’d love to combine these interests into a ministry. In many ways, she already has done this. As a certified personal trainer, Sara’s has clients of all ages, but she feels a special affinity toward elderly people in the exercise classes she conducts in a variety of facilities.
Sara’s search to live more fully into a life of faith put her on an academic path of Congregation and Community Care with an emphasis on Aging and Health. “What is holding this all together is my faith. I wanted to be truer to who I was and study theology and so I could knit the whole thing and weave it together and make it authentically me. I’m sure middle age had something to do with it. You know who you are and what you have to work with.”
Sara and I met during a course about Martin Luther in Germany, sharing a mutual interest in Luther’s practical theology of serving God by serving the neighbor. She said, “I admire the way Luther brought faith, hope, and love into everyday life. I want to live in a way that models that.” By working a full-time business and attending seminary part-time, you can see Sara is on her way. “One of the elder women I train said, ‘Sara, you are making the world more beautiful. Because of you, I can plant more flowers and pull more weeds!”
Photos from Martin Luther tour Germany in January, 2016.