September 12th was my 17th anniversary of ordination. I remember my ordination day so clearly – as one remembers any day that marks something significant. I woke up that morning in my parents’ house, had waffles and coffee with my mom, got dressed in my brown skirt and jacket, tied a scarf in my hair, and went to my home church in Henning for the service. So many friends and family came. We had a little lunch afterward. Within days after that I was driving east with my two cats, heading to my first call in Western New York. I remember it felt a little like stepping off a ledge to leave everything I knew behind to go where nothing was familiar to do work that I had no idea how to do. I got a terrible cold immediately and I was so immensely homesick the first days and weeks.
But friends came to visit and there was much to do. Before I knew it, I made a home there and new friends. Suddenly seventeen years have passed – years plum full of the cycle of the church seasons, weddings, births, and deaths – in my churches and in my own life. From far-flung churches in New York to Colorado to Texas, now my path has led back to only 54 miles from the place I was ordained.
The first day I went to my office at that first church I served in NY, I remember arriving at my office early and looking out the window which had a view of the cemetery. I had no idea what to do next…so I just prayed that God would lead me. Then the phone rang, and seventeen years passed. Still, each day, I pause and look out the window and pray that God will lead me, lead us, to what we are to do next…and the one thing that has not changed in seventeen years, is that I am certain God will. God will lead us. God is leading us. All we need to do is be still and listen and God will guide us in exactly the direction we need to go. Thanks be to God.
In these cool days of autumn, as the leaves change color all around us, I pray you will take time to listen for God. Take time alone to pray, to walk, to sit under a night sky and give thanks. Know that God is near to you in every moment, in your every breath, in your every joy and every need…and that the One who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.