Monday, August 19, 2013

My Version of the Next Chapter

There have been quite a few early morning surgeries I have set my alarm and met a member of our congregation at the hospital to have prayer over.  If you are having an early surgery (or even a late one) and are a member of Campbell you usually get me. Please know what an honor it is to be able to step before God on your behalf. Also know that every time I get back in my car to drive to the office I realize I am going back to my routine, but those I prayed over are not. Their life has experienced a change. No matter how small or how serious the reason for the surgery, their lives are thrown a curve.

My alarm is set and I will pray for a Campbell member tomorrow. However, I will not get back in my car and drive to the office. I will take a seat in the waiting room while my mom gives cancer its first punch. Or in her case a right and left double punch.  I will admit that this has been a difficult place to set. I am a pastor, but I am also a daughter. I could spend a hundred paragraphs attempting to explain who this woman I will pray for tomorrow is to me. However, it would come up empty.

There is a lot I am learning from this experience and I am guessing that God has a few more lessons in store. First and foremost is that I believe everything I pray in those hospital rooms for others, I also believe for my mom. God is God and God is good even when the situation is not.

Second, sometimes people don’t know what to say so they don’t say anything. That is not good. I promise from now on that if I am aware of something in your life, you are going to receive a word from me or the least a pat on the back or a brush of your hand. This is really important for pastors to hear. It may not be our comfort zone, but in that moment we are seen as God’s agent and God wouldn’t ignore the situation.

Third, we don’t have a clue what the story is going to be, don’t attempt to write it for the person. Maybe you have been through something similar, the best words are “I have am here” not a rundown of the details of the situation. In other words and in reference to my second lesson, fewer words are often the best. I am sorry to anyone that I have spoken more words than were God given in your moment.

Fourth, for all the diet cokes I have taken people in waiting rooms…yea, those will continue. No one really knows what to say or do, so do what you know. For me, it is diet cokes and prayer.

I don’t know what the next chapter holds for my family, but I do know that God is making me a better daughter and a better pastor through it all. And so tomorrow I will get up and do what I have done a hundred times in ministry, call upon God to carry us through.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

45 Life Lessons

I have been thinking about birthdays a lot lately. Not quite sure why, but I am feeling the need to mark the upcoming day with something besides scheduling a birthday lunch. So, I am following the trend from bloggers I read and coming up with 45 (to represent the upcoming year) Life Lessons.
Some of these come from journal entries written 25+ years ago, other bloggers and one comes from a recent Costco trip.

1. Life is to be unwrapped slowly, be sure to cherish even the smallest moments. 1/18/1986
2. Each day someone's life may be changed because you are in it. 12/7/1986
3. Someday something big is going to happen to you and you will want to be around when it does. (1986)
4. We can all exist, it is the living part that takes some effort. 2/2/1988
5. No reason to have a pity party if you cannot get a good caterer. 1988
6. Crap happens, but my Lord carries a pooper scooper 3/27/1989 (give me a break, I was in college).
7. No matter how much family and friends harass you, take pictures of all the moments, especially the simplest ones (and your food).
8. Don't underestimate the power of comfort food.
9. Strive to write a good story with your life. Borrowed from Donald Miller
10. Do something completely pointless every once in awhile, especially if it makes you laugh.
11. Worry less about what people think and more about making a difference in someone's life.
12. There will be people in your life that probably shouldn't be. Quit giving them a lead role in your storyline.
13. Those that started this journey with you - family, are always worthy of forgiveness when they request it.
14. Have a pet, treat it well.
15. Being "there" for someone is always more important than the need to complete a task.
16. Laugh really hard as much as possible. If you have people that make you laugh that hard, keep them in your life.
17. Be the kind of person babies and dogs trust.
18. Meaning in life always beats out success as a goal.
19. Realize you are not always going to get it right. Accept that fact so you can apologize when needed.
20. Be a better person today than you were yesterday...every day.
21. Allow someone to speak honestly into your life and let them speak on a regular basis.
22. Get a passport, just in case.
23. Always say yes to adventure even if it scares you speechless.
24. Take opportunities to be kind at random moments for random reasons.
25. Budget money and time so you have a little extra of both to be impulsive with both every once in awhile.
26. Journal.
27. If you have a choice between right and popular, always choose right especially when it is hard.
28. Don't be afraid to be the first person to reach out. Even if you are rejected, you were brave and that is great.
29. Make your grandmother's orange rolls...or angel food cake...or whatever tradition your family holds.
30. Don't let your past fears define your future experiences.
31. Leave a job with your employer willing to hire you back in a second.
32. Sometime in your life visit a third world country.
33. Hold the door open for people coming behind you (literally and metaphorically).
34. Recycle.
35. Avoid "hand wash only" clothes.
36. Take care of your teeth.
37. If you have a choice between pouring into a job or pouring into a person, always pour into a person.
38. Every once in awhile unplug from technology.
39. We are not meant to be perfect, just real.
40. Count blessings before disappointments. Borrowed from Ann Voskamp.
41. Life is uncertain, however God is certain.
42. Don't "throw others under the bus" to save yourself.
43. Never turn down an opportunity to laugh with family or friends, especially if you think you are too busy.
44. Authenticity is not easy, but in the end being honest is always better.
45. Be the kind of person that no one is surprised by your life lesson list.