Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Time, Purpose, Seasons

There is so much to write-- I wish I could blog my mind more easily than the work it takes to carve out time..... but that is the point really I guess- to stop- to carve out time and to say- this reflection, this recognition of God's grace, mercy, and blessings- is needed. This is a moment to carve out, stop, and glorify God in my gratitude. I have been trying to write more- and it is because this is my Lenten Practice-- I pray that this practice increases my sight-- my God- sight- my insight- my blessings sight- my gratitude sight-- my deep awareness of all that God has done and is doing. When I write my focus is on Christ and the powerful presence and all it means for him to be my Lord and Savior.

So- if you've wondered if I've been more disciplined- I have- except for last week.
Last week was full and busy.

For a long time I have known about the unknown.
That's such a funny thing to say.
Last August, God, Kevin, and I all began a conversation to discern about our calls.
You can read more about that here
I haven't written about all this on the blog yet.
I grieved a lot and prayed a lot.

Its strange how you can grieve something before its happened.... pre-grieving! I keep hoping that maybe the fact that I shed tears every now and then-- that I won't be a total mess come by last Sunday at Messiah. But I'm not sure it works that way-- just like I know you can't ever pre-sleep to prepare for a night when children do not sleep...

I really love and appreciate the appointment system of the Methodist Church. That may sound strange to some who don't love it and would resent being told where they are going or what pastor they are receiving. And I understand how some may feel that way. My love of this system (it is not perfect-- we are going on to perfection) is simply my love- not a comparison, not a put down of any other system.
The United Methodist way of pastors moving - is called itinerancy and it is a sent system as opposed to a call system. I like this because for me, I feel like it isn't about me-- I am sent - "I go where God sends me" and I feel like God works through the Bishop and the cabinet. (Again, me saying this does not mean God doesn't/isn't working through call systems)

I like not being in control of where I am going.
That sounds so strange, but it is true.
It takes a load off of me, I feel.

I just trust

Trusting doesn't mean I don't advocate for myself or the church or where I do see and feel God leading.

There is just a peace I feel about being part of this system-- its a good thing- since I'm in it! :)

While there is a peace- that doesn't mean that the waiting is easy. I really felt the waiting of advent this year- powerfully! And on top of that every worship, advent event, etc was so emotionally heavy with "This is my last x, y, z." I soaked up everything but grieved everything too.

About a month ago... I was visiting my dear friends at Hospice- you can read about my friends and some of my visits here and I received the call from my District Superintendent (DS) that the cabinet was making our appointments. I am not able to share publicly at this point where my appointment is- but it is public at Messiah now that we do know and cannot share more until later. The conversation could not continue while I was still at Hospice and I was told, we'd probably have the conversation with me, Kevin, and the two DS's the next day. Driving home, I received a call, pulled over, and with my snazzy smart phone was able to have a conference call with Kevin (who happened to be walking between Messiah and the Giant returning the grocery carts we borrowed from the Souper Bowl of Caring), and the two DS's, all while standing outside of my car (while Sophia sang along to "Into the Woods" in the car).

Wow- now, we knew.

It's a strange thing going from not knowing to knowing....because you still really don't know...anything.
I think in some ways that must be what trust is.
We talked about blind trust the other week in Disciple- and I've not usually liked the term-(not sure why) maybe b/c I don't feel blind-- just feel like I have blinders... I can't see it all.
I can't see it all because I don't need to and because I'm not ready to.
I've often talked about how my call was God slowly removing blinders and saying "and this too."

Before you know, you're nervous and excited. It could be anything-- anywhere in the Conference.
When you know-- you're nervous and excited-- -what if they don't like me? (this may sound weird... It's not so much that I worry and fret people "won't like me"-- its just ....the unknown.)
I'm passionate, and high energy (usually)- I've been told I'm intense, I've been called "Pollyanna" (which I think is a compliment in the true sense - but people use it negatively sometimes)-- folks assume b/c you're passionate, bubbly, joyful-- you are naive, stupid, rose colored glasses (of which I am not)- that's the fear I have I think... assumptions, maybe? judged first impressions...
why do we always jump to fear in face of the unknown?
perhaps blind trust- is not having fear there....

In the end- I know no matter- what God is leading.

I do know that and feel that-- That is the peace. It isn't about me-- God is leading this-- God set this up. God knows what God is doing. Trust.

Today a very powerful thing happened, I ran into someone who will soon take their first appointment and had a chance to talk with them. It was so awesome. This new friend wanted to know about my first appointment and my experience. As I shared it really gave me such a perspective! WOW! God has taught me so much here! God has blessed me so much here! I knew this- but it is just so so evident with everything I shared. I am so thankful God brought me to Messiah six years ago! God really knew what God was doing!

But the really powerful thing this revealed for me was that God has prepared me to be sent out again. In my prayers I have felt this leading, I have known this... but it was just so clear in my conversation today. Over and over I just felt so thankful-- Through serving at Messiah, God has prepared me to lead church effectively. I say this with humility - I'm not trying to be like- Oh look at me... I mean- I feel ready, sad, bittersweet, scared, excited, hopeful, joyful and ready...

My friend Lance said to me back in January, as I prepared to share the news with SPRC that we were checking "that box", that he always wished associate pastors would move on more, so that others would also have the same kind of opportunities. "I had to learn it all on my own," he said, "so look at it this way, you're just being selfish if you stay." :) I laughed so hard and thanked him so much! That really helped!

Yes-- God is preparing someone else to come and have wonderful opportunities just as I have had here!
Yes- God is preparing someone else to come and love this congregation and be loved!
And Yes-- where I am going the same thing is happening!

God is moving and growing us and doing "a new thing" in all of us and in all of our churches! The only way that can happen is when we are open to it! When a new pastor comes in - that creates change- yes- but that also creates opportunity, growth, excitement, possibly some fear and reservations.... but if we are willing to God's really going to take care of all that and really do a NEW Thing!

After meeting this new friend- this gifted and called person, discerning and listening, and awaiting their first appointment- I ran over to church to pick of Gracie.

As we were walking home, we saw the white chipmunk that lives at Messiah! We tent to call him "Monk". He ran under a planter and darted off and we peeked around trying to catch another glimpse of him. As we did so we came upon a decorative rock in the garden. Gracie said, "Momma, what does it say?" It read,

Wow wow wow- was all I could think when I really started to see all God has shown me this day!

Gracie turned five this week! Five! (more on that later) I started this blog when she was a baby.

Unbeknownst to me, when we moved into this parsonage summer of 2006 I was pregnant with her! We are sent out with our lives more filled with grace and wisdom (our girls Grace and Sophia have taught us both).
We are sent out grown further by God.
We are sent out in God's timing , for God's purpose, and readied for a new season.

To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven.
Ecclesiastes 3:1

God has called us for this purpose, for this time, for this season- and it has all be for Him "under heaven" guided by God's direction. Led by my Lord and Savoir.

Under Heaven. Wow.
Trust. God's got this.

There is a time, a purpose, a season and its under heaven.

I do not leave here this summer.

No, I will be sent out. Sent!

Sent out!

I love the hymn "Send m e Jesus" also called "Thuma Mina."
(I tried to find a good youtube of it... but you can find it in The Faith We Sing)

Leader: Thu-ma mi-na.
All: Thu-ma mi-na, thu-ma mi-na
thu-ma mi-na, so-man-dla

Leader: Thu-ma mi-na.
All: Send me, Jesus, send me, Jesus,
send me, Jesus, send me, Lord.

Leader: Thu-ma mi-na.
All: Lead me, Jesus, lend me, Jesus,
lend me, Jesus, lend me, Lord.

Leader: Thu-ma mi-na.
All: Fill me, Jesus, fill me, Jesus,
fill me, Jesus, fill me, Lord.

I sang this often as a US-2 Missionary, and we sang it a lot when I spent time in Mozambique.

I sing this now!

Jesus sends, me Jesus leads me, Jesus fills me!

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