welcome to the hike!

Working out the call!

I currently living in Millersburg or as God whispered in me ear four years ago in PA, "the land of my Fathers!" MILLERS - burg! OK! The best way to describe my life of late, is simply "Pastor-at-Large" I live "outside the box" of our usual expectation of life, family, employment and even culture. I live, breathe, and weave around a four county area as a local missionary and have learned of so many supportive faith communities. I meet people who contact me where they are in their 'hike 'o life."

The hats I wear are that of Life Coach, Writer, Speaker, Retreat Facilitator, Pastoral Supply, Prayer Counselor and well, whatever God calls on me to do (I actually get paid to do all of these things, which is awesome, unless you are helping me with my books!) I also work to "tent-make my mission work" as a church secretary for a sweet fellowship pastored by one of my favorite seminary prof's.

So what do I want to be when I grow up? Stay tuned! The goals are big and staying solvent month by month is a huge victory, but as I see my own heart and others hearts change and grow in my daily walk, I realize, I am not working for treasures on earth....I have direct deposit above. Guess that's a pretty sweet ride! Lacing up my hiking boots...on the hike o' life!

Monday, December 27, 2010

2010: “the year of the PAJAMAS?!”

Greetings to all, as we find ourselves in the midst of Christmas and family gatherings and the New Year quickly approaching, I have decided it’s time to take the pieces of this year and quilt them all together! Last year this time, I was busy doing ministry in Northeast Pennsylvania, visiting parishioners, working in the community and getting ready for the services of the season. Little did I realize how much was about to change in the coming months. In the fall of 2009, I had some dreams that tended to tell me that my life was going to be changing and indeed I was seeking God’s heart on what might be next for me. By Christmas time, I really didn’t feel a release from the work of ministry, but I did begin with a very nagging cough and seemed to get more and more tired no matter how much I rested.

As I planned to head back to Ohio following the Christmas services, I was also laying plans and purchasing airfare for a group I had planned to lead to Haiti at the end of January 2010. That trip never happened for me (however two groups got to replace our original trip with a Sugarcreek team going just before Easter and the PA team in September). Little did I know how “prophetic” my 2010 started out on New Year’s Day. After having breakfast with a friend I headed to Kohl’s specifically to purchase myself a new pair of pajamas, at the time I just felt led to do it! Little did I know how much I was going to need them in just a few weeks!? The beginning of 2010 continued to find my cough increasing, with nothing bringing relief, and as the earthquake ripped apart Haiti and changed so many lives, I began treatments for bronchitis as our mission team scrambled to see what we could do to be part of the relief effort.

It was on my birthday (Feb 10) during the middle of a severe snowstorm, that I finally acknowledged how very sick I was and realized I needed to seek emergency medical attention as soon as the storm subsided. (I couldn’t walk 3 steps without being completely out of breath.) A dear friend picked me up in 10 inches of freshly fallen snow in her four wheel drive truck and we headed off to the Geisinger Medical Center. I spent a total of 30 seconds in the lobby, having been almost immediately triaged back to a room where they would discover a pesky – symptom free blood clot behind my right knee that had led to multiple pulmonary embolisms occurring over several months. As I continue to realize how sick and close to dying I really was, I realize how much God and very many angels were holding me through this time. I missed a total of 5 weeks of work and spent my time in quietness and in those new pajamas (!!), gently being ministered to by parishioners, dear friends and the excellent medical staff who guided my care during this time.
In the quiet of my healing and the many prayers that were being prayed over me, I kept questioning God as to what fruit this season should bear, and what was He trying to say to me. My parents came to take me to their home for a week of recovery in Ohio. It was during this time that I heard God clearly saying – “you’ve accomplished what I have asked you to do (in PA)”, “now return to the land of your fathers” and as I have learned to check on what I sense I hear, God confirmed that word in several ways, and while my church family had a variety of responses to my announcement; the season of my recovery, wrapping up ministry and preparing to move held a incredible gift of ministry in both the churches and community for me. Many things I had prayed to see happen over the 4 years I was there; came to be “suddenly” before my eyes. Looking back, it truly was an amazing time!

By June 4th, the moving truck was loaded and some incredible friends drove me and my belongings back to Ohio. A major tornado blew through, within a quarter mile of my parent’s home the very next afternoon! (Welcome home!) I was able to serve on the SWAP mission in June with a group from the PA churches, but looking back, I am only beginning to realize how ill and rundown the embolisms had made me.

By July still moving pretty slowly, but wanting to be active, I saw an ad to work at a local gourmet market and began my “physical rehab job” the next week. Working that job and attending my nephews’ (Clay and Jordan) baseball and football games is how I spent most of my summer and fall. Also as my strength increased, I renewed the active ministry calling search on September 1st and have been blessed

to be pulpit supply for several area churches. At this point I am pursuing, praying and watching what is to be the next call!
Lots of time with family, patiently walking where God wants me and a desire to make to most of each moment is how I am facing my future. Many of you who know me well, know that I look to symbols around me to see if God is showing me truth through them. Please indulge just a few more random Darcy moments if you are still reading this “massive missive” of mine!

1. The blue jay saga continues! As I arrived down at the SWAP house in Elkhorn WV, I had the front porch to myself for a few hours as staff was out and others had not arrived. A summer thunderstorm erupted, but under the safe covering of the porch, I could see a pair of blue jays just hopping up and down branch to branch on a single tree and gently and tenderly doing some self grooming. As I have been watching blue jays for over 6 years now, I had NEVER seen these activities. I took these as another confirmation that I was to stick close to home – and take care of myself! Someday I am going to write that book on what God has taught me by watching these blue jays!
2. Under the mighty oak tree! At my parent’s home, my designated parking place is under a beautiful oak tree. This summer I was very appreciative of the shade that our mighty oak provided. In fall however, the leaves were reluctant to fall and in fact, many are still hanging on. Then, there are the acorns – hitting me, the car and dropping at the least expected times. As I transition from ministry to ministry, it occurs to me that being a Christian picking up your cross and following God, can be a lot like parking under that mighty oak. You have great refuge (shade) in God, but change (dropping leaves) can be slow and difficult and just when you least expect it – nuts drop in on you! (no implications to anyone here!) But if you are faithful to who you are when you meet those nuts, they too will grow into mighty oaks! I now have an acorn ornament for my Christmas tree.
3. The butterfly & the hippopotamus – As my sister continues to remind leiomyosarcoma that GOD is way bigger than cancer (check out her blog at http://www.carepages.com/carepages/Marciajourney), she has blogged several times about how the butterflies inspire her and they have become a symbol and a reminder for prayer to many who love her. My folks volunteered at a butterfly exhibit this summer and we keep being reminded that just as God fortifies the butterfly through the many seasons of change in their lives, He is also transforming us through the trials and occasions of our own lives. I was also given beaded hippo made by some South African women and was told Hippo’s are only able to move forward. (Reverse and backing up are not options!) My family also reminded me that while I want to move forward, I also share other aspects of the hippo. I am developing a tougher skin (that is good) and I can have a hard head (maybe not so good!)
So that about sums it up, it has been a year of many changes for me in 2010, NONE OF THEN PLANNED at the start – BUT GOD HAS RENEWED ME AND REMINDED ME OF HIS PURPOSES woven into all the intermingled stories of our lives. I continue to pray for Redeemer, St. Paul’s and St. Peter’s churches in NE PA as they walk into the future God has for them. I cherish the times of friendship and ministry during my time in Sullivan County. I savor each moment spent with my family and have made many new friends and renewed many old friendships in the hometown.

For now you can find me at my parent’s home at P.O. Box 464, Sugarcreek Ohio 44681, at demiller64@hotmail.com or on Facebook (Darcy Miller)
God Bless you and if you haven’t lately, please let me know HOW YOU ARE! So many of you come to mind and I can’t always keep up the notes and letters, but the intercessions remain. As for me, I am hoping to find that new call (SOON if I have anything to say about it!), I want to get my blog going again, and of course continue to improve my health, but there is one new year’s resolution – I intend to keep – I AM NOT going to purchase new pajama’s on the first day of 2011! While I may have worn out the pair I got last New Year’s – I do not intend to spend as much time in pajama land this year!!!!!



Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Fluttering by the Ocean Blue

2 Corinthians 5:17
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come." ESV

By the goodness of some kind soul without a security password, my computer picked up internet access and I find myself feet up on the patio writing this blog, I am seeing, hearing, feeling and yes even smelling and tasting the Atlantic Ocean.

Our condo is right against the barrier dunes, we simply travel over the dunes on the wooden ramp about 100 feet to the beach and breaking waves. In the barrier dunes are all kinds of wonderful plants, birds, turtles and BUTTERFLIES.

My family has been having a grand time with butterflies all summer. Mom and dad volunteered at a butterfly exhibit and shared with us the wonder of the butterfly anew. We have been noticing butterflies feeding, laying eggs and even "puddling" (google it if you need to know!) over the last month. My sister as she prepared for a surgery as well has drawn strength and encouragement as she sees God at work in her life and in her family throught the butterflies around her.

My sister in sharing this on her her blog http://www.carepages.com/carepages/Marciajourney/updates/2742288 has lead to many people to see butterflies as prayer triggers for her recovery.

I have been purposefully and intentionally not contacting anyone back home during this time away and God indeed is doing deep and powerful things in my heart even as the waves continue without ceasing. But the butterflies are ever present in my seaside life. I have been noticing tiny yellows and big orange monarchs all in the wonderful barrier dunes between the condo and the water.

Even yesterday as we went to Wilmington to tour and shop, the butterflies were abundantly present in nature and in art. Every lawn I looked at and every store I shopped in there were snowglobes with butterflies, sand dollars with butterflies, t-shirts with butterflies, thimbles with butterflies, necklaces with butterflies and just big decorative BUTTERFLIES everywhere (no I did not purchase any of those!) However, just when I though I went into the shop that certainly would have no butterflies, a gourmet foods market lined with sauces, knives, cookbooks and wine, I looked out near the entry, and saw two gorgeous stained glass butterfly panels. The owner explained that they had belonged to his mother and now have great meaning to him.

Today as I pondered all the butterflies I have been seeing, I looked out again and started counting over 100 butterflies a minute passing to the north over the dunes. This move has been continual all day long regardless of wind or seagulls, sun or shade. These beautiful creatures are moving in their purpose to lay their eggs to begin the life cycle anew. Sis I have been praying for you a lot this week cause thatsa lotta flutterbies honey! And praying and listening I engaging in the truth of the butterfly in my own life as I transition from one stage to the next. I am fluttering I pray, in the right direction to the new life stage of my transformation in Christ.

I penned a little ditty as these thousands of "flying flowers" wove past me today.

Little yellow butterflies
Just gliding by the sea
without a care
their joy they share
as they bounce in the ocean breeze.

They reassure me of God's plan
all things are in His hands.
a purpose, my hopes the fate of man
will all safely and blessedly land.

Allow His word to guide you
Despite the powerful gale
Just trusting in His promises
and then you too can sail.

Through trial, through storm,
through the dark night.
His purposes are sealed
Just lean on Him continually
His great peace is your shield.

So then - as you wonder about on your hike o' life just remember the trusted butterfly. It may seem to only be just fluttering along but it is working out it's purposes all the way along! Peace!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

the ocean and GOD are calling!

I love being near the ocean.

The constancy of waves and tide and sand.

The pause of my journey, my hike, if you will, to stop and pause and see how wonderfully God created the universe.

The ocean is so much bigger than I - and as I try to sort out my life and where it was, where it is and where it is going, those waves are going to wash away all my worries and frustrations and help me focus on what is most important. Hearing what GOD thinks about all this and forgetting those things that really don't matter.

This is what He told Job "And who took charge of the ocean when it gushed forth like a baby from the womb? That was Me! I wrapped it in soft clouds, and tucked it in safely at night." Then I made a playpen for it, a stong playpen so it couldn't run loose, and said 'stay here, this is your place. Your wild tantrums are confined to this place." Job 38: 8-11 (the Message)

My last "big" word from God, was at a metaphorical body of water, as I read Virelle Kidder's book, "Meet Me at the Well." Drawing near to God immediately following my hospitalization last spring, as my parents brought me to their home to recuperate, I prayed and read and soaked in my "brook kerith" as Elijah did (1 Kings 17). He directed me during this time that I completed His call to me for the pastorate in PA. Soon there after I recieved comfirmation my own longing to "return to the land of my father (s).

God often speaks to me at bodies of water. It was at a lake in Kentucky that I truly surrendered my ministry to His terms not my own. It was at Pine Lake that the call and affirmation to serve two summers in the MCC SWAP program became clear. I have fasted and rested many times to oceans, rivers, streams and ponds - all to know more clearly how much God loves me.

So here I am been at a wonderful "Brook Kerith" at my folks home, resting, strengthening and so importantly renewing my spirit in God's care. I am enjoying this wonderful hospitality of my parents sometimes a little too much I think, but yet am beginning to eagerly wonder "what's next"?

And in my wondering, the ocean calls!

Totally out of the blue, a dear friend was gifted an ocean front home for several days and I was invited to enjoy in this blessed gift. So off to Carolina beach we go. Positioning myself in the surf before the vastness of creation, I will pray to clearly hear more on the "coordinates" of the next destination on this lil 'hike 'o life.

But more on that, much more I am sure to come, until then, rest at your brook kerith, and know the ravens will provide you with strength for your hike as well.