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!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Putting the pieces together...

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

It’s a snow day, actually an ice day here in Northeast Ohio. When I was a kid, my mother would often save a new jigsaw puzzle for us to piece together if we needed an activity after playing outside on these cold days home from school.

Jump forward to 2011, just the other week my dad found an online jigsaw puzzle page (see the link) and now when I venture into my parents family room, it is not uncommon for the three of us all be simultaneously working on jigsaw puzzles on our laptops! Dad has also been cutting out his own wooden jigsaw puzzles with family photos he wishes to share on his scroll saw. ( I will confess that I am NOT the quickest to figure these puzzles out!)

Many times I feel like my life is one of those unfinished puzzles. I try to make pieces fit together. Have you ever tried to force puzzle pieces together that don’t really want to link up? On the computer, it just won’t allow it, but on a cardboard puzzle you can just about ruin the piece. I like to sort out the pieces by color or by the subject that they might be forming in the final picture. Puzzles aren’t easy. Actually the best ones are challenging and stretch you quite a bit.

Having coffee with a friend the other week, we were reflecting on the lives of her grown children. One is still in college, the other in a exciting place and making it on his own. We shared many memories of kids growing up, wondered about the careers and lives that will come from these experiences. It truly is wonderful to watch and to know that her children will exceed the plans that we are able to make for them.

It suddenly hit me that this is so much like putting a puzzle together. God knows the outcome and all of our life experiences are being fit together to make a wonderful eternity of being a part of Christ’s kingdom. Looking back on my own life I can see this, from my experiences with family, in my years of 4-H projects to in my very fulfilling career as a Registered Dietitian working with the elderly in long term care and hospice.

Each life experience is a totally different shaped piece that fits together into the person that I have become in my ministry calling.
I never could have “seen” how my life would have fit together into this current reality 20 years ago, and if I could have shaped it totally on my own, I suspect I would not be nearly as happy as I am now. Looking at these many puzzles and applying them to others lives has greatly encouraged me in this current phase of my transitional journey.

There are several options right now, but I am in control of NONE of them – I have done what I can and am (trying at least!) to rest and trust in God and position myself to sense if there are other steps I need to take. I am moving all of these options around on my prayer wall, and seeing if perhaps some of them will fit together.

I am glad that I can be joyful on the journey because I know the ONE who holds all the pieces. And I haven’t seen the final picture yet, but I know it is of great beauty and worth the effort to piece it all together as I MEANDER ON THIS HIKE O’ LIFE….