Some Things Take Time…

2015-06-25 11.15.29“Some things take time…”

That’s what came to mind as I walked down this lovely sidewalk, shaded by wisteria vines. I knew how many years it would have taken to get these lovely, mature plants to grow over this arbor.

Years. Years upon years!

Someone watered, pruned, trained, tied and retrained vines for many, many years. The result is a beautiful and cool walkway from one building to the next in an otherwise hot, asphalt-and-concrete neighborhood.

Someone had the vision and motivation to persevere with a labor of love. Someone moved past weather challenges, pests, and leaf blowing. Someone knew it would be worth the effort.

As I walked under it, enjoying the way the breeze played with the leaves, I thought of many who have gone before me in ministry. Men and women, who, even if we are poles apart theologically, contributed to the body of knowledge that I studied in seminary. Professors and writers who created the grammar texts and lexicons that I struggled through for language class. Philosophers and academicians who argued finer points of theology.

So many people… 

I meditated on the great “faith chapter” of Hebrews 11. An ode to the men and women who believed God would do as God said, whether or not it seemed possible. Their faith and trust in God’s truth and direction took over for their doubts and frustrations…

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible. (Hebrews 11:1-3)

I walked beneath this shady arbor and gave thanks for my foremothers and forefathers of the faith. For as I watch society change before my eyes, I know theirs is a heavenly witness, whose praise to God joins mine.

Whether it is a societal growth in understanding racism, or accepting social change, God’s justice prevails.

Thanks be to God!

It’s my anniversary!

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Eight years ago today I was ordained to Christian ministry. Like today, it was a hot, muggy July day. The A/C worked to keep up. And we enjoyed some prime family time. My co-ordinand, Glenn, and I chose a “luau” theme to keep things in the spirit of celebration. And celebrate we did!

In these eight years, I’ve worked in 3 hospitals, 2 churches and one hospice group. I completed four units of CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education) after finishing my Masters of Divinity.

It’s been a good journey. Difficult at times, stressful at many points, but it’s inconceivable to me that I would be doing something else. (And yes. I do know what that words means. 😉 )

But beyond remembering and thanking God for these holy moments and encouragers, I look forward to more years in harness, doing the work that I’m called to.

Thanks be to God.

RevGalBlogPals Carnival: Galship

This month at RevGalBlogPals we are having a summer “carnival” of blog posts. RevGals started in 2005 as a group of women pastors and their friends discovered that sharing their ups and downs via blogs was a wonderful way to network and support each other in their respective Callings. So this first Blog Carnival is about “Galship” – or as it is explained by Teri:

What does Galship mean to you? The phrase was originally coined to refer to RevGal Fellowship–all the ways we build community, share our lives, support each other, and have fun. So blog about Galship–have you had an experience of galship in person or online? Has galshipping changed your life or ministry? what’s your favorite part of our galship? Or whatever way you understand the question–there are no wrong answers! What does Galship mean to you? Ready, set, write!

Grab a cuppa.. this might take a while…

Back in 1985, I started seminary for the first time. I thought I would be going to Africa with my then-fiance. Well… He broke off our engagement, and I stopped going to seminary, in part because I was told (by people I believed were infallible) that “single women don’t need an M.Div.” (And yes. I know better. Now.) Bound by the obstacles of worshipping in a very conservative church, I didn’t explore my possibilties and I didn’t consider that there just *might* be another point of view. That people are not infallible. (I know. Shocker.)

A couple of years went by. I had a masters in music, and so I went back to work as a music therapist. I still served in churches as Music “Director” (not “Pastor” because, you know, I had ovaries.) I taught classes, worked with youth, read my Bible and tried to do things that I thought God wanted me to do. And I did a lot of growing up.

In the middle of that growing up process, I met my husband, got married, had a baby… and then one of the first and best women pastors I’ve ever met gave me a book by Gilbert Bilezekian, “Beyond Sex Roles.” My world kinda cracked open. Just a little bit. But I was still hearing sermons by… men. And I was still unsure that women could be pastors. I read everything our library had on women in ministry. They were nothing like Bilezekian. And I wanted more of that. (In case you wondered, the books which are in public libraries about women in ministry are all of the pink, flowered-covered, be-a-quiet-and-gentle-spirit, bake-a-casserole type of book. And I was all denim jeans, loud and happy, loved doing things for God, but was an indifferent homemaker. I put up a good front. But really.)

I could not, for the life of me, put the pieces together.

Fast forward a few more years… Continuing to serve in the ways that I could, I sang, played, studied, taught… and wondered. My place, my heart, my gifts felt… under-utilized. I had been keeping a web page and then discovered blogging. And then… ran across my first RevGal. And RevCats. And RevDogs. And more RevGals.

WHAAAATTT????

World view. Busted.

I went on a Walk to Emmaus retreat, and started serving on teams as a lay leader. On one particularly stunning weekend, three women each came up to me privately and asked me (a) why aren’t you in seminary and (b) what are you going to do about it?

Less than a year later, I was enrolled in seminary… unsure of what or why. A professor sat me down and said sternly, “You must stop blocking God’s Call on your life. You must. There are things that only YOU will do. Walk fully in the Calling God has for you.”

I went home from class, a little stunned. What the heck did THAT mean?

Then I began blogging in earnest, learning and struggling my way through seminary… with a whole bunch of folks reminding me that YES you can do this and YES you are called to this and YES YES YES be God’s woman wherever God leads you.

I gotta tell you. That kind of encouragement smoothed over a lot of vocational bumps in the road.

In 2008 I was ordained in a nondenominational church. in 2010 I graduated seminary and started my chaplaincy training. And again the words of love and affirmation, the wisdom that came from blogs and eventually, Facebook, came alongside me. We had never met in real life, but they were echoing the words of my husband, my kids, my friends, my mentors, my professors, my CPE cohorts… “Yes. You. Can.”

So blogging along we go… one imperfect day at a time, grateful that I’ve gone friends by my side and The Spirit at my back. That’s what Galship has been doing in my life.

Thanks Be To God!

P.S. Some pictures of the amazing women who have been part of my Galship in just the last few years… you’ll note there’s only ONE pic of a RevGal. We’ll work on that…

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Some AWESOME women of God in seminary (taken about 3 years ago)

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Pastorettes – local women pastors (taken about 2 years ago)

RevGal meet up at Wild Goose 2011

RevGal meet up at Wild Goose 2011

Common Threads - CiB crafty folks

Common Threads – CiB crafty folks

CiB women (June 2013)

CiB women (June 2013)

My lovely daughters

My lovely daughters