Well, by now you have probably heard that I have been appointed as Senior Pastor to Couts Memorial United Methodist Church in Weatherford, effective July 1. If you haven’t – Surprise!
While my husband and I have been sitting with this information for about four weeks, this weekend it became real. We have already been through a number of emotions:
Surprise – Neither Yvonne nor I had asked for me to be moved.
Anxiety – Will I be able to do this? Do I know how to pastor a smaller congregation where I am the only pastor?
Worry – How will our son respond? Will he meet new friends?
Sadness – We will miss this church of which I have been a part for 20 years on June 1. During that time you have welcomed my husband, my child. You have allowed me to grow in my ministry as God’s call upon my life has evolved. We will miss our son’s school with such beautiful diversity. We will miss being closer to extended family and so many friends.
Overwhelmed – Packing. Need I say more?
Curiosity – What does God have in store for us? What will the new church be like? What will the new school be like? Who might we meet?
Assurance – We have known God was working something new in our lives and we have seen different ways God has been at work preparing us for this.
Love– Your words and prayers just since Sunday have shown us your love and the love your families have shown through this has been tremendous as well.
Excitement . . . Confusion . . . Fear . . . Hesitance . . . Hopefulness
As we shared the news with our son last Friday over ice cream, we talked about how we can feel both happy and sad at the same time. Isn’t that great?
And then on Saturday I was listening to a podcast with Susan Cain about her new book Bittersweet: How Sorrow and Longing Make Us Whole. (BTW, if you haven’t read her book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking, please do – whether you are an introvert OR an extrovert!) I was once again assured that we can hold both the bitter and the sweet at the same time – and it is by doing so that we can most fully experience joy. If a book or podcast is too heady for you, just watch Pixar’s Inside Out and you get the same message.
However, she said a couple of things that really struck me: First of all, that pain is not a detour on our life’s journey. It is PART of the journey. In our world of toxic positivity, we begin to feel that if we are not happy and glowing all the time that something must be wrong with us. But that is a lie.
The second quote that really struck me was this: We are creatures who are born to transform pain into beauty.
Sit with that for a moment.
We worship a God who has shown us, through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, that death and pain and evil will not win. More than that – God transforms Good Friday into Easter Sunday.
And we are created in God’s image.
And that makes me feel empowered . . . hopeful. . . inspired. . . courageous. . .astonished . . .
I hope it does you as well.