“How was it?” is the question I have been most frequently asked since returning from these past months of spiritual renewal leave. I confess I don’t have a one-sentence answer. I sincerely sought Jesus during this time, and I found him. If the truth is told, Jesus found me in ways I hadn’t expected, as well.
One of the items I intentionally sought clarity from God was in the area of my calling. As this is my twenty-fifth year of pastoral ministry, I felt it was time to find clarity around God’s calling on my life. In more ways, and on more days than I expected, I received a resounding “YES.” God is still calling me to serve the church.
Even more than a reaffirmation of my calling to serve the church as a clergy person, repeatedly God reaffirmed to me how I should be doing the work I’m called to do authentically, and not in someone else’s version or vision of what a minister should be. In this, I was taken back to wrestling with my call to enter pastoral ministry so many years ago. I was sure I wasn’t cut out for ministry because I had notions of what a minister had to be. The truth then, and the truth now is God called me, and not my idea, or anyone else’s idea of what a minister. I clearly came to understand God’s calling for me, as it is for all of us, is to offer ourselves, our honest selves, and allow the Holy Spirit to work in our lives and those around us to bring the results pleasing to God.
Years ago, when God called us to quit our jobs and move two states away to attend seminary, I held close to the promise from Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. Plans not to harm you, but to give you a hope and a future.” Moving from a place to security to an unknown can be scary, so holding to those words of promise were helpful to me then. During this time of leave, I felt God calling me to recount God’s faithfulness through the years since I held so tightly to His promise. I gratefully answered I indeed had found a hope and a future!
This letter represents just a part of my experience this summer. I will share more with you in the coming weeks. I might even sneak in a picture of our beautiful granddaughter we welcomed in August.
So very grateful,