These last few weeks I have been spending a lot of time pondering. Wondering. Speculating.
I had mostly stopped blogging as the time in the desert lengthened. Sure my life style changed, from living alone to being immersed in the life of my family. My days were full with the antics of my three grandsons and the desperate search for work.
When I did blog is was more about my even more desperate attempts to hang onto the promise that God was active in my life and preparing to bring about a blessing. Along the way there were other blessings, my work as the coordinator of a day program for people with Dementia, the work with the Centennial congregation and the significant learning as I worked for and taught about refugee sponsorship.
Yes I was usually attacked by dinosaurs who ate me before breakfast and the joy and laughter of those kinds of mornings changed my routine from Scripture, prayer and reflection to play and silliness. But that’s not really why I stopped blogging.
As I look back and ponder, wonder and speculate it seems more like in the fullness of the blessings of the desert I stopped my desperate attempts to hang on to God and just relaxed. Somewhere I learned to trust without putting in all that effort.
I do credit the joy of being eaten by dinosaurs.
I also credit the amazing love and fulfillment of running a group for people whose only gift to me was love.
I also credit the congregation at Centennial who responded to my work as Interim Moderator by affirming my gifts as a servant of God.
And I credit the work with the refugee committee and the ways in which it prepared me for teaching a group of people desperate to help friends and family trapped in refugee camps for 13 years how to begin the process of sponsoring the people they love.
Do you know what the difference was? PURPOSE. I had a purpose. I had a way of sharing God’s grace and love. I had the joy of knowing that God was still using me even if it wasn’t always the way that I WANTED GOD TO USE ME.
I quit struggling and striving. I quit trying to control everything to make God give me what I want. And it was restful.
One other thing it was was a time of perspective. I learned to read congregational profiles with a different eye. I immediately discarded those where I did not feel called. I looked for a spark of faith and courage in the congregations that were looking for their next minister. And I found it. More than that, this congregation heard the same word from God and found in me that spark of faith, courage and creativity that would lead them along the path they are called to journey. And now, we are called to journey it together.
As I prepare to make the journey from living with my daughter and her family to living on my own I know moments of sadness. I will miss them all. I’ll miss the joy of hugs and kisses and being told that I am very bad at playing Super Mario Games. But I also know that the love we share is strong and will continue forever and I will only be a 5 hour drive away. We will see each other, often.
This week I will embark on another ending as I have my last day with the people at Side by Side. Some of the participants are angry with me. They don’t handle change well, it confuses them and threatens their sense of stability. But they will be in good hands. The volunteers, always awesome, will take over the program until a new coordinator is found. It will happen for them. There is no doubt that this ministry is a gift from God to the people of Calgary who live with and struggle with the effects of dementia in their family. Not only will it continue, I am sure it will flourish.
Once again I will leave friends; but they will remain in my phone list and in my heart and I am blessed to have friends in every part of Canada. Lots of places to go back to and visit. Lots of people to take my long phone calls.
Leaving is a difficult but necessary part of embarking on God’s pathway. Yet, on that pathway there will be new challenges, a new affirmation that I am doing the work that God calls me to do and new friendships that will bless my life.
Will I become a more regular blogger once again. I hope so. Certainly working for and with the church in and of itself demands more time reflecting on and praying about those things that God puts in my path. But I also hope to regain the habit of blogging because that will help me to figure out the challenges of this calling and sort out what the Holy Spirit is saying as I go forward with God.
Let us pray:
FORWARD WITH GOD
Finding you O God in the journey in the desert is a rich blessing and I thank you
Of all the gifts you have given me, the joy of your presence is the comfort of grace
Richness of love fills my days
Wealth of joy fills my moments
Adoration is the only fitting response to your goodness
Receive my gift of faith as I praise your name
Direct my heart with your Word
Watch over me as I journey
Invigorate me with your Spirit
Teach me obedience as I undertake your tasks
Hold me in the palm of your hand
Grant that I may seek only to serve you
Open my heart to do your will
Direct me so that I fulfill your purpose. Amen