Monday, January 2, 2017

Looking backward and forward

On January 1st Chuck and I went to First Christian Church in Bellefountaine because the pastor there, Mike Valentine was about to retire.  So we heard his last sermon.  A good sermon about being guided by God.  Which was, of course, personal for him and very universal.

It took me back two years to when I was similarly preaching my last sermon as a pastor in a church and realizing that I had slowly been guided to this decision.  Now two years later, I can see that there definitely has been movement within me since then. .  And I am grateful for where I stand at this point.

I sit with my calendar of 2016 and see how I continue to do ministry - three weddings, several funerals, preaching 20+ times, leading a book group, doing a couple of retreats. As I look back I can see I had some new experiences: : serving on a committee for Columbus Schools, attending a dream workshop and becoming part of a dream group, a mission trip to North Carolina, being part of "women writing for a change," participating in an enneagram retreat in hocking hills, taking on a new job at Schoedinger.  But also sprinkled throughout these activities family occasions like vacations, attending games and birthdays and just hanging out. .  It has been a good year and I am grateful for the new friends I have made and the new opportunities for learning and growth.

What is interesting about this exercise with the calendar of last year is that so much of what I have done has not been planned - at all.  There were phone calls that came my way or a friend mentioned an event and I just said YES.  Yes to preaching, to playing, to retreating, to leading, to serving, and that led to something new or something more.  And it has been good in so many ways.  I am grateful for the friends I am making in this new life but I wonder what is next for me.  Always I wonder what is next.

Today is January 2nd and I wonder what the new year will bring.  I know that I need to move more this year and be open to learning more. Most of all I want to deepen my relationship with God.  There is so much freedom now in not being bound by a professional role, and at the same time it is easy to fall away from the weekly discipline of worship and Bible study that being a pastor kept me tied to (in a good way.)

So my prayer and intention for this year is more than just personal growth for me but also guidance into  becoming part of a faith community that will use my gifts as well as give me a place to become connected to others. May it be so.

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