A lot of people were posting their “decade” reflections or side-by-side comparison pictures at the end of 2019. But as in most things, I’m late. Maybe it was simple procrastination. Or, honestly, I just wasn’t ready ’til now. Because I knew that my decade didn’t look very pretty, and it still felt hard to describe parts of that reality.
But it’s March! Spring is coming! And I want to write about it. So here’s an initial post on coming full circle…
In January I started preaching most weeks at Parkwood Presbyterian Church in Jenison, MI. This Sunday’s lectionary passages included Genesis 12:1-4 (God calling Abram to go from his country to a land God would show him) and Psalm 121 (reminding us our help comes from the Lord, who keeps watch over our going out and our coming in).
In the message I shared a bit of our family’s personal story of being called away from our home of 8 years in Fremont, MI to plant a church in FL in 2011 – and then unexpectedly moving back to MI within 2 years.
You know what they say about hindsight. Well, looking from my 2020 view, it’s hard to describe what a tumultuous decade it’s been!
In March 2010 I had started serving as an interim pastor at New Hope Community Church in Shelby, MI beginning with preaching during Lent and Easter.
During the year and a half I was at New Hope, I would drive the 35 minutes home to Fremont and so many Sundays after preaching I would be beaming from the inside out, saying, “I love my job!”
On my last Sunday at New Hope before we moved to FL in the summer of 2011, my dear friends sang this song “Everywhere I Go I See You” as a send-off.
Around :58 they sing, “You’re in Fremont, You’re in Florida” and it still makes me laugh-cry! It was exactly the surprise gift of assurance I needed to hear – that everywhere we go, God is there.
Like I said, it’s been quite a decade since then, most of which needs to be saved for another post. But something significant happened today: as I drove the 20 minutes home after preaching at this new church in 2020, I smiled and said, “I love my job!”
Preaching makes my heart feel ALIVE. And I love being able to preach in a variety of places and interact with different people. It was a full circle moment that I can’t quite explain.
In a few weeks, 10 years after my first Lent/Easter with them, I’m thrilled to return to preach at New Hope for March 29, April 5 (Palm Sunday), and April 12 (Easter). It will be so fun! Then back to Parkwood on April 19. I love my job and all the places it brings me.
“The LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” Psalm 121:8
- You Belong (An Advent Reflection)