A month ago, I posted a letter from my daughter’s blog Tales of an Earth Mama. The letter spoke of her longing to move to Kansas but her struggle with the state of education in Kansas. I, too, wish she would move home, but life is always changing and one never knows what will be around the next corner.
Fast forward one month and I have announced my own change. I moving congregations. After 10 years at West Heights United Methodist Church as senior pastor, on July 1, I will begin as senior pastor at First United Methodist Church in downtown Wichita. This change came as a big surprise to me. I had not asked to move, my church was not seeking a change in pastors and yet, the call came and I said yes.
I am part of a facebook community called RevGalBlogPals. As the name implies, it is clergy women who “blog” and who have created a supportive community. The Facebook page has all kinds of resources for worship and for new ideas. It is over 3000 strong with women from many denominations sharing.
In January, one of the women shared her tradition of “star words.” In a linked file, it listed over 400 such words. She would use yellow paper cut out as stars and printed all the different unique words. Many of the women involved in the facebook group asked for a word. I did too. She chose words and let us know what our word would be.
I loved the idea and took it to my worship team and we decided to use a similar principle for the Sunday after Epiphany and celebrate the baptism of Jesus. We used a variety of bright colored paper and invited people to come forward, remember their baptism and pick a word to pray on for the next year. Perhaps they would randomly pick a word and or they could carefully choose one.
I randomly drew a word. It was interesting, the word I had been given through Facebook was “perceive.” I know that only because I went back and looked. I prayed with that word each morning and evening until I randomly drew a word on that second Sunday in January. The word I drew then was:
So from that time, I prayed with the word “expectation.” I wasn’t really expecting anything. I would just pray, for lack of better words, expectantly. I asked God to do new things in my life. I asked God to use me, to let me serve, to let me find joy in all that I did.
I have jokingly told people, “see what happens when you pray! You never know what God is going to do!!” Truth! I never know what God is going to do. I pray regularly, though, that God will make my life matter. I ask God to help me love more deeply, serve with integrity and joy and to help me be an instrument of grace, peace and love.
So, my life is in transition. I must say goodbye to people I dearly love. My time at West Heights has been blessed in so many ways, we have laughed together, cried together, worked together and served together. In the midst goodbyes, I will begin preparing in expectation what God will be doing in this next chapter in my life.
Truly, I am graced to serve.