Tripping Through the Past

October 26, 2013

This Fall has been wonderfully and weirdly full for me.

Earlier this summer, I received word that two of my previous churches were having anniversary celebrations and would I be able to come? Initially, my husband and I decided that we would all go to the church in Illinois, but that we could not afford a trip for even just me to Nebraska. So I sat down to write them my greetings and regrets. And within minutes, I knew I could not simply send a note. I had to be there. I had to go to that church too. So we made it happen.

After we got the arrangements for both trips, I received a phone call from my very first church in Arvada, where I was a youth volunteer and spent a year being co-youth pastor with my then fiance. They needed someone to preach… in 4 days. And I said yes.

So suddenly in the span of just a few weeks, I was walking through these places of memories one after the other. Read the rest of this entry »

The Irony of God

October 25, 2013

I had to chuckle today.

I found myself sitting in a hollowed out lobby of an old movie theater. The wall in front of me painted with chalkboard paint and on one end of the room, a divider/barrier type thing made of hinged doors hiding who knows what. A big flat screen TV in front and couches so beat up you sank into them when you sat down. A movie theater turned church and this was their high school youth room. And it was a church that a few years ago I would not have dared stepped foot into.

In the parking lot at lunchtime, I ran into a new friend who works for a ministry that cares for pastors who are in crisis. I just met Wade a few months ago and we attended his church with him one Saturday night this summer. At his church, I had to chuckle. I was sitting in a church I wouldn’t have dared to enter a few years ago next to a person I wouldn’t have let myself know. And now I was hugging my new friend as I ran into him today.

I find myself in these places a lot lately. When sitting at a pastor’s meeting that hosts Lutherans, Presbyterians, Methodists, Mennonites, and Baptists- and here I am, the lone Covenanter who has to explain what “the Covenant” is whenever I meet new people since it’s such a small church movement. When sitting among my Mennonite friends each month wondering how such gracious people let an evangelical like me into their midst. When talking on the phone to a pastor miles away who’s denomination affiliation forces me to take a crash course to understand the way this pastor has been shaped to see ministry. When connecting with my own mentor/friend/coach, Dave, who lives so far away that we have only actually seen each other once, but he remains a deep influence on my life, despite his different approach to ministry that is shaped by his tradition and experience.

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Green Pastures

October 4, 2013

The other night, I went for a run. As I finished my exercise, I sat down on the homemade chair we have on our outside deck in front of our house. The last streaks of sunset lingered to the west and the darkness settled around me. It was a calm Autumn night, not too crisp. But I knew it might be one of the last evenings I had before winter set in and would require a heavier jacket in order to sit outside.

In those last few moments before my family arrived back home from their errands, I rested. It has been a busy few weeks. I have been absent from blogging due to the rush. Amid everyday tasks and special engagements, amid lay offs at my husband’s work and daycare woes for my son, I haven’t had much time to sit. To rest. To breathe.

I love being busy. I love being busy with things that are meaningful. And so it’s easy for me when the calendar gets crowded to relish the day-to-day that keeps me active. Despite my enjoyment of this sort of life, however, I have learned the importance of rest. Of reflection. Because even while I do things I enjoy, burn-out is a sneaky force that can ambush in surprising ways. I have reached a place in my life where I have learned to embrace the moments of rest of I given- to discipline myself to not reach for the iPhone or the laptop, to not worry that I could be doing something with this time instead of wasting in rest, fun, or play. I remember talking with my favorite theology professor and mentor about the importance of “taking time for the trivial” in the face of crisis or urgency. How this ability to respond and rest and enjoy the reflections of life is in fact a very faithful posture in a world that is very rushed and anxious and afraid. How the way in which we continue to live without the breakneck speed pushed upon us is a lesson in peace.

I loved that conversation. I loved and respected that professor. I still do.

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