“The soul consistently calls us back to our birthright form, back to lives that are grounded, connected and whole.”
-Dr. Parker Palmer The Active Life
This past October marked our 9 year anniversary in San Antonio. The opportunity to be a pastor at a church like University for 9 years was something I never even knew to hope for and yet, here we are, and I could not be more grateful for all that I have learned and experienced over that time.
I was asked to come to University to lead and preach in the Modern Worship services and it would be impossible for me to have loved that more than I have. It provided me with the opportunity to know so many of you so well and love you and be loved by you. That reality has so much to do with where I believe God is leading me in this season of my life.
When I began my sabbatical in June of this year, I knew that change would be on the other side. I was scared because change almost always includes loss, of which I am not a fan. But I was determined to listen to the voice of God over all other voices, even my own. Spending time with mentors and friends, I was reminded of the strong gift of empathy that God has given me. Reading, praying, and journaling around this reminder strengthened a powerful desire to practice that empathy through close relationships with God’s people. Without the time of sabbatical, I would have happily continued to do exactly what I had been doing. Sometimes, however, it is through painful processes that God brings opportunities for new life and new ministry.
Sabbatical brought some clarity. I want to live a wholehearted life serving God and bridging people to the grace of Jesus Christ. I believe that one of the places that God is calling me, in this season and where I will live a wholehearted life, includes ministry with and for students. My heart has always belonged in that ministry, it has never really left me. I thought that with age I would “outgrow” it, but nope! Still there.
Pastor Ben and I have had a lot of conversations around this, as well as other ministry opportunities, and he shares in my excitement about this decision. We have an outstanding student ministry staff. We’ve already had an opportunity to meet and talk a little bit about next steps. Working together with them to bring healing and wholeness to students and families through the grace of Jesus keeps me awake at night with excitement and anticipation. Most importantly, this really feels like faithfulness to me, it feels like believing the truth that Jesus has for me and my ministry and moving forward with trust and boldness.
Years ago, I received a birthday card that read; "The key to finding happiness in life is just picking your favorite age and then staying there.” I can’t really tell you that 13 - 18 were my favorite years, but they were, without doubt, the years I most needed to hear that I was not alone in this life. I most needed to hear that I was valued by God. I most needed people who had walked where I was walking who could love me and assure me of the truths and promises of God that I now believe and hold so dear. I am a precious child of God and I pray I never miss a single opportunity that God gives me to share that truth for and with others, most especially students and people who are navigating unchartered waters.
Recognizing changing seasons is important in this life and being faithful to where God is calling you in those different seasons may be difficult (it has been for me), but I do believe blessings are found and shared in that space. I love being a pastor and I continue to feel deeply called to serve in that role in whatever way best supports the ministries of the Church. I will continue to serve as one of your pastors. I will continue to preach by being included in the preaching rotation. Sometimes in Traditional and sometimes in Modern. I will still be available for weddings, memorial services, and here to share in life’s events with you. In this season, my heart is called to have more time to dedicate to the practice of empathy through relational connection with the people of University and this community, preaching when and where needed, teaching classes throughout the week, sharing life with students and their families, and walking closely with people in this crazy beautiful thing called life.
Thank you for all the prayers and all the love and all the support that I have felt and received from so many of you. You are so precious to me!
With much love,
“Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:30 | The Message