My word, who starts a blog and then ignores it for 5 months? Apparently this girl. :-) My meager self-defense is two-fold. First, this has been the most insane summer ever and second, my fingers are starting to get puffy thanks to baby girl and typing can be a trial, lol. No, it's not that bad, but I do feel like I've come down with a serious case of sausage fingers. But in all honesty, it has been a crazy few months. Here are the highlights:
- I've been vigorously growing a human being, not something to shake a stick at
- I graduated from seminary and preached the Corlett sermon, what an incredible, humbling privilege
- Tommy's mother passed away after an extended illness. In spite her illness, her death was not expected and was quite a shock. Tommy was gone for three weeks (three Sundays for those that mark time like a preacher!!) It was a challenge for us both, me flying solo at home while he dealt with the pain of helping his mother die well.
- teen camp, 6 months preggo!
- dog sitting for lovable, if not somewhat nutty Labrador named Delilah Joy :-)
- mission trip (I was home alone for during that one)
- district assembly (during which we had a good deal of responsibility including speaking at the Wednesday night service)
It felt like one thing after another, ya know? It took its toll on me physically and emotionally and I ended up handing over the preaching to Tommy about a month earlier than I had expected to. This intense schedule of events topped off with renewed challenges in the life of our church and my change in medicine made for a difficult summer, in spite of the many things there are to celebrate.
It's been one of those seasons where things that perhaps normally wouldn't ruffle your feathers feel like life or death issues. (I humbly acknowledge that pregnancy hormones have contribute to that). There have been moments where I have asked myself, seriously? This is our life? This craziness? This seemingly endless conflict in the life of church? This tension and frustration? This disappointment and sadness? And yet, for whatever reason, I don't even remember how this passage came into my life this summer, the Spirit has seemed to ask me over and over again: mortal, can these dry bones live? And like Ezekiel, all I have been able to say in response is: Lord, you alone know. (Ezekiel 37)
I wish I could say that I have without question or exception placed my trust in the hope of the resurrection and in the God who breathes new life into dead things, but it hasn't always been that way. I have had moments of anger, of apathy (which feels way worse than anger), and blatant doubts about my ordination vows I took only a year ago. And yet regardless of my failings, doubts and wonderings the breath of the Spirit seems to be blowing, ever so gently into our lives.
As I type this, I am sitting on the back porch area at seminary. It's gorgeous outside as the sun is shining gently and a soft breeze is blowing. It's one of those moments where you're not too hot or cold, the wind isn't blowing your hair in your face very two seconds and you feel like you just can't get enough of the beauty no matter how hard you try. As the breeze kisses my face, I am reminded yet again that the breath of the Spirit can and does breathe new life into dead things, into heaps of dry bones that have longs since lost their marrow.
Things are happening, both in our church and in our hearts. New life is emerging. I call to mind the verse from Isaiah 66:9, which says: "I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born". Seems fitting, doesn't it? This verse has obvious (if not completely non-contextual) meaning from me as I approach baby girl's birth and delivery. But it also speaks to the pain I've experienced over the last two years professionally and the pain my beloved flock has experienced and reminds me that God does not allow (or "bring" however your theology might swing) pain to no end. God works for the good and brings new life. Thanks be to God. I want my life to be marked by trust in this God of life.