The Blessing for a New Chapter

In what seems now to be another life, (though only 3 years ago) I was once a part-time pastor. There were several of us, a huge staff for a small church. But I loved it. It was one of those dreams I had held in my heart since college.

I vividly remember standing in my freshmen dorm room at Oklahoma State receiving what I believed was a calling from the Lord. I had a vision of me standing at the front of a small brick church in a liturgical robe, and my spirit knew I was the pastor. God was calling me into full-time ministry.

But life happened and doubts creeped in. Parents said no. Doors to seminary did not magically open, and I even left the faith for a year after college. I became a school teacher and moved to Texas no longer believing in Jesus as the Savior of the world. My teacher-buddy brought me back to Christ (thank you my sweet Jan), but my dream of full-time ministry seemed just that- a dream. Nothing tangible. Just my own imagination.

One marriage, three children, seven moves, and 13 years later, God moved us to a town in Massachussetts and a church open to women in ministry. Doors opened for a ministerial certificate program, and I was invited to be on their staff.

One of my favorite duties was a worship service I would hold every other week at a day-care center for adults. Most of these men and women were victims of Alzheimer’s. I loved them. We would sing old hymns (they knew every word.) We’d recite the Lord’s prayer and the 23rd Psalm. I was always so amazed at their ability to remember these hymns and scriptures.

It was an opportunity for me to bring the love of Christ. It was an opportunity for me to preach the Word of God and bring life and hope to a dying group of people. I’m so thankful for that open door into ministry just minutes down the street from my  home. They gave me a chance to preach! I miss them.

It’s funny how life can so quickly take a turn, or a chapter can close suddenly. Yet I’m learning that even though I grieve the past, the future always brings something good. Let me clarify; it may be painful, stretching, lonely, heart-breaking, confusing, requiring faith….but good.

God has faithfully allowed me to experience every dream I’ve had from Him. This includes teaching aerobics for a month (which was enough for me!), being a “pastor” of a church, and now writing a book. The dreams experienced in real life never look exactly as the vision in my mind (I was not “the” pastor nor did I wear a robe!), but they are always fulfilling.

I’m thankful for this blog because it gives me a chance to preach (though I hope I’m not too preachy!) It’s my prayer to draw hearts to the Lover of their souls through my words. I wouldn’t be doing this if I were pastoring a church. Paul would not have written letters to the churches if he hadn’t been in prison. I’m not comparing myself to Paul; I’m just saying that God uses us right where we are if we are open to His leading.

Has a chapter in your life closed? Has the river of life taken a turn you weren’t expecting? If so, remember His faithfulness. Remember that He works all things for good for those who love Him and who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). He has a plan for your life. He wants to employ you for His Kingdom right where you are.

At the end of each worship service at the adult day-care, I would close with a benediction. It is a scripture I love. It was the blessing God gave to the priests to pray over the Israelites. If you are from a liturgical church, I’m sure you hear it often.

“The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make His face shine upon
you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.”     (Numbers 6:24-26)

Wherever you are on the journey today, this is my prayer and blessing for you. He is good. May we see His face even when an old chapter closes and a new one begins.

Amen.

Much love,
andy

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