Sunday, August 24, 2014

Transitions

Three weeks into our new jobs in Virginia, things at the church still feel really 'new' for the most part; so new in fact, that most of my energy has been spent on processing data. Learning new traffic patterns, office protocols, email systems, and weekly schedules has consumed the gist of my thought life of late. In other words, our orientation so far has had more to do with the mind than the heart. But this weekend, we went on a retreat with some of the young adults and something changed. 

I'd met the group before, and have enjoyed time spent with them. I knew we were going to get along well here. But this weekend, those new friendships took on a slightly deeper dimension, and I felt my heart really opening up for the first time. I felt myself realize, "I could have deep friendships here" --or perhaps more honestly, "I would like to have deep friendships here." This weekend, I came into contact not only with the possibility of our life here, but hope for it. This weekend, my orientation went beyond data accumulation and entered the realm of the heart. 

I thought I had grieved Dallas pretty well (those poor friends who dealt with my tears for months this spring understand!). But today I realized again that every new beginning brings with it the sadness of the loss that precedes it. Being truly and deeply touched by new friendships has reminded me afresh of the friendships I grew to cherish in Dallas, and it has made me miss them all over again. And yet, today reminded me afresh that God brought us here on purpose-- that He brought us here for something beautiful, and it's OK to open my heart to that. He reminded me that it's OK to miss the old and welcome the new all at the same time. 

This reality touches a deep place in me because the most powerful transition in my life involved the loss of a father. The end of my season with him was so ultimate and so painful that every time I say goodbye again-- whether it be to a beloved professor, a close friend, or a familiar coffee shop-- it stirs those feelings of loss. Every transition for me will always carry with it the shadow of death. But today I was reminded of how present God was with me even then, in the transition I thought I'd never recover from. How He taught me to grieve what's gone and can never be replaced, but also how to open my heart to all the blessings He had in store for the aftermath.

Dallas can't be replaced. The leaders whose departure from Virgina has provided an opening for us to come here can't be replaced. But God has something new in store for all of us, something beautiful. And it's OK for us to open our hearts to that. 

This is, I'm learning more and more, what it means to be a Christian. It's not to deny loss or pretend it no longer hurts us-- to believe that Jesus protects us from the pain of goodbye. It's to accept the scars we carry from living in this broken world and to allow God to teach us to receive His beauty even while the tears are still flowing. It's to let Him keep our hearts alive to hope in the midst our pain because one day, hope will win out. One day, Jesus will return and 'loss' will only be a memory. One day, every season will be woven together in a tapestry of love that never ends and there will be no more goodbyes.


Sunday, August 3, 2014

The Next Big Thing (And a Break)

Four years ago, I opened my first blog post by saying, "If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans." 

Four years later, I'm laughing too. Because if He'd told me four years ago that I'd be attending seminary, becoming Anglican, and going to work for a church in Virginia, I would never have believed Him. In fact, I probably would have cried.

And yet today, this is my life and I keep pinching myself because it feels like "more than I could ask or imagine." 

Today I'm thankful that God's plans are higher than mine. I'm thankful that He knows me better than myself, and thankful that He is willing to surprise me for my good and His glory. 

(Oh, and I'm thankful He sent us to a place with hills and trees, and where we can keep the windows open without fear of melting! No offense, Texas.) 


Worshiping at our new church! See Michael in the back corner? Cutest choir director of all time!

That said, it's a bit obvious but I've taken a hiatus from blogging during this transition season and I don't think that hiatus is over yet. Perhaps it's post-grad school puberty, but I haven't been able to find my voice again quite yet. So, while there are currently no plans to shut down this blog forever, I wanted to make it official that I'm taking some time to adjust. 

Until then!