A Letter to my Church

Matthew 25:23 

 “The master said, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’

When I applied to my job at ZPC in 2008, I made a promise to my best friend that I would be there for at least one year. She was on staff and gave me the lead that eventually led to me being hired. Little did I know that one year would turn into fifteen wonderful years. Resigning my position last month to accept a new call was bittersweet to say the least. This was not a decision made lightly. Prayer, wise counsel and discernment played a critical role in helping me make the choice to move to my local Presbyterian Church and begin to serve the community in my backyard….and (pray for me y’all) work with teenagers!

I wear lots of hats at church. I coordinate volunteers, develop curriculum, encourage families, dream with my team, plan with my peers…and so on. But if I strip away all of that, what I am at my core is a teacher. The hundreds of Sundays that I’ve spent in my beloved Tree House teaching the children and sharing the good news of Jesus Christ has been my passion and the calling on my life. I’m proud of the job I’ve done. “Well done good and faithful servant” is the verse that runs on repeat in my brain right now. I’ve worked hard, loved hard and given my best for 15 years. 

It’s been a two-way street though. For as much as I’ve given, I have also received. This is the church that loved me through a painful divorce. Brought me kicking and screaming to the Great Banquet and now I totally drink that Kool aid! They have rejoiced with me and celebrated when I remarried. Gathered around me and stepped up through illness, embraced my children, brought me meals…the list is long. ZPC has always been there through the good and the bad for the last 15 years.

I don’t think my experience is unique in the church…or at least it shouldn’t be. As Christians, we are called to be the body of Christ. We are called to invest in that body and be present, willing to serve and invest in those that we worship with on Sunday morning. We live life together. I’ve been so blessed to experience this this type of love in my church. At first, my resignation felt like death and I mourned it like a death. As I approach my final two weeks on staff, I realize that it’s not death. It’s a new beginning, a new journey and opportunity to continue to advance the kingdom of God. Accepting a new position where I can grow and build and share what I’ve learned is exciting to me. It’s my next step where I still get to be “teacher” which other than “wife “and” mom” is my favorite hat to wear….my most authentic me.

I love you ZPC. Just because I won’t be on staff doesn’t mean I not invested in you, your children and your life. I will continue to be around but just as a “civilian” Christian in the community. Thank you for teaching me about agape love, the opportunity to witness service, sacrifice, laughter, tenacity in hardship, absolute joy and light! I take with me lifelong friendships, lessons learned and so much gratitude.

Lessons from my Grandma

My grandma always said “growing old isn’t for sissies.” As a child, I didn’t give much thought to that statement. As I grew up, I thought maybe she was referring to laugh lines, or the need to color the gray hair that started to pop (God forbid). Or maybe she was referring to the need for reading glasses or “peepers” as she fondly referred to them.

I grew up in Indiana and my grandparents lived in a suburb of Chicago. I was fortunate enough to be able to spend a week at their home every summer by myself…no siblings…just me! It was such a special time and I look back on it with such wonderful feelings of love for my grandparents. My grandma and I would shop, visit my great-grandparents, and play a lot of Gin Rummy. Through the years, I would hear her utter “growing old isn’t for sissies” and shrug it off and move on to the next thing. Now in my 40’s, I look back and think my grandma was so smart and dolling out words of wisdom like King Solomon!

The older I get, I start to understand that grandma wasn’t just referring to the pesky annoyances of physical beauty. Although, in full disclosure, I’m quick to have my roots done, just had my first experience with microblading for my thinning eyebrows (OUCH and yes, that will be another post), and am indeed, typing this wearing glasses that are now, regularly, close at hand. I’m beginning to understand that as I age, time has started to speed up. There are aches and pains I didn’t have before, my children are growing up at a pace much faster than I would like and the days turn to weeks turn to years in the blink of an eye. I now realize that you have to be tough to grow old. It’s not for the faint of heart! I have such respect and admiration for those who have walked this earth longer than I have. I’m no longer the school girl casually listening while waiting for something else to come along. I am upright and standing at attention. What can I learn from you? What words do you impart on me to make this journey in life matter? No! It is NOT for sissies!! It is hard and unfair at times and also wonderful and beautiful.

My grandma is no longer here. She is in Heaven watching over me. I would give a lot to have one more day with her and ask her to share her wisdom with me. I would sit at her feet and listen with such close attention. I would be present and acutely aware of the moments that we share. I would be intentional and not take a second for granted. And that’s her lesson to me…her final gift in all of this. Slow down. Be present. Laugh with your children. Enjoy your husband, family and friends. Growing old isn’t for sissies, so go for it! The gray hair is going to pop and the eyesight is going to fade. Love who you are now, today, in this very moment and enjoy every second.

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