Thursday, September 10, 2015

Thankful Thursday - Things are about to change

I begin seminary in two days.
In two days, I will begin study towards becoming a pastor in the Presbyterian Church.
Me. The former Spanish teacher, track coach, and college admissions counselor.
Me. The former homeschooling mother.
Me?!? Me.

I am excited and nervous and thrilled and concerned and hopeful and joyful and unsure about writing and submitting papers and take home exams and wondering what God will give me to do when these studies are over.

Perhaps I will be the pastor of a congregation - or an associate pastor.
Perhaps I will serve in a non-church ministry.
Perhaps I will become a prison chaplain.
Perhaps I will spend the rest of my life studying and teaching and doing a whole lot of praying.

No matter what God calls me into, I will do it with all my heart,
with joy,
with tears,
with gratitude,
with prayer,
with trepidation,
with hope,
with as much energy as I can muster,
with the help and guidance of the One who created me for good works,
for service,
for involvement,
for sacrifice,
for walking alongside others on their own faith journeys.

I am grateful for the 49 years and nine months that I have lived to get to this point,
to this place, to this new adventure.
I am grateful for the sorrows and the sicknesses,
the doubts and the questions,
the broken bones and sliced fingers,
the betrayals and the losses,
the wrongs I have done and even the ones done to me,
the tears, the buckets of tears I have shed.

I never volunteered for the suffering. I never wished for it. I never sought it.
But I have learned more from the difficulties than from the easy times.
I have seen (and appreciated) more beauty in my scars than in my smooth places.
I have heard (and lived) more stories of victory because I admitted my defeats.
I have tasted (and enjoyed) more sweetness in life because I refuse to deny the truth of my moments of bitterness.

It is my prayer that the scars, the wounds,
the defeats, the bitterness,
the fear, the worries, the questions,
the hopes, the joys,
the laughter, the stories
the journeys, the journals -
that all the stories of my life,
all the people in my life,
all the experiences of my life
are useful in my seminary studies and beyond.

Things are about to change.
I am about to change.
My life is about to change.
In ways I am sure that I cannot yet imagine.

Let the reading begin.
Let the studying begin.
Let the learning begin.
Let the research begin.
Let the conversations begin.
Let the healing begin.

May it all bring glory and honor to God.
May it all bring healing and wholeness and hope to me, to my family and friends,
and also to the hurting, courageous, determined, curious, lonely, questioning, searching,
dreaming, suffering, brave, broken people around me.


KN said...

Hi Gail,

This is Minnesota Monkee again. My name is Kara. I've been following along since you were featured on Glennon's blog. I wanted to let you know again how much I enjoy your writing. I find myself getting goosebumps and also grinning at times when I read your posts. Thank you for sharing! I'll be thinking of you as you start your seminary journey.

Hugs from across the miles~

GailNHB said...

Thank you, Kara, for your ongoing support and encouragement. Thanks for your kind thoughts and attention.

Sending hugs and kisses your way.

Linda K said...

Gail, you are already a pastor/minister/spiritual counselor to those of us who read your blog and to all of those who know you personally! Your stint in seminary will give you the official title, but please know you're doing the work! I wish you well on that journey and look forward to reading about it as well. Hugs to you!
Linda K.
Roanoke, VA said...

I am so thrilled for you and I'm excited to follow your journey via your blog. Sorry it took so long to find it. We miss you in Under Construction Class. Your words were always full of fun or insight or wisdom. Your classmates and those you work with are very lucky to have you join them.
Lisa K said...

Gail, I'm sorry it took me so long to find your blog. I look forward to following your progress as you take on this wonderful journey. We miss your wisdom, wit, and insight in Under Construction and know that you will bless all the new people who get to enjoy your company. I'm so happy for you.
Lisa K

GailNHB said...

Linda K - thank you so much for your kind and encouraging words. I will try to remember your words every time I feel like I'm not "there yet," whatever and wherever "there" is. Just do the work. Listen to people. Love people. Be present. Speak up. Be a woman of peace. Gotta remember that all of that is doing the work - and none of that requires a degree or classwork.

Lisa K - it was great to see you again at Maureen's. I miss that class - the time we spent writing and sharing and the push that it provided to keep working on our projects. It's hard for me to stay as organized and motivated without the weekly discipline of that group. I hope your writing continues to progress towards all that you dream it to become. Thanks for your supportive words here.