For you to understand the gravity of what 2011 means, you have to understand what happened in 2008-2010. Now, most of you reading this were with me through this crazy couple of years and I am incredibly thankful for you. However, you are about to be very bored by this next bit so feel free to jump down to the good stuff.
For those of you just joining me, let me give you a quick run down of the last couple of years. In 2008, I took a new Call to a new city (Chicago) and a new congregation. Things were good. Chicago is awesome. Looking at starting a Master’s Degree. Pastor resigned. Ministry got stressful! (There are not enough exclamation points to describe this level of stress.) Put aside school and pretty much everything else but eating and sleeping for work. Church money was tight and there were staff cutbacks. Ministry got more stressful! I tried dating which turned out to be an epic failure. I tried dieting which turned out to be an epic failure. I didn’t budget well so that was pretty much an epic failure. Life got really hard and more than once I considered a life of monastic hermit-ism.
Through all of this, my mantra was just keep being faithful until it gets better. My sole focus was being faithful to my Call and to the community with which God had blessed me. The people here were amazing and we worked together through it all. But I did not plan for the future or think about what as going to happen once I got through that time. I was in a holding pattern of hanging on and making it work until…frankly, I wasn’t entirely sure what was at the other end of this thing, but it was better, healthier, something else.
In 2011, unexpectedly and beautifully life and ministry found their footing and turned around. I bought my first new (to me) car that is safe to drive to the people I love. My church got our new permanent pastor who is an amazing teammate and the kind of shepherd I could have only dreamed of having for our community. I got crafty and made a bunch of new stuff in new ways to fill my need to do something else. I went back to school to study something I love even though I have no idea what I’m going to do with this degree when I get it. I cut my hair and everyone seems to think it looks great. Our church combined our school with three other Lutheran churches and I got way more kids to love now.
2011 was the year that I stopped having to wait for something better to finally happen. Something shifted and I realized that I wasn’t waiting for things to change anymore. It was here and I could just take the leap and go. I don’t regret a minute of how God grew me in those difficult years, because it made the blessing of this year so much sweeter.
2011 jump started my heart and my mind to do even more in 2012. The way life changed and grew in 2011 means that 2012 is going to hold what I hope is going to be some more amazing change. (There is a plan for 2012 in progress which I will reveal soon. Going to be Great!)
But 2011 was a year full of new stuff, a year full of change. It was a turning point year and I have never felt more grateful for the life and the blessings God has so richly poured out to me. And that includes all of you. Thank you and Happy New Year!
This blog is also posted on my blog Senseless Proportion where I write other things that amuse me.