Pastor's Letter - October
Grace and Peace to you from our Lord Jesus Christ!
Have you ever had the experience where you reunited with someone you were close with years ago and it turned out to be a less than great experience? Maybe it felt awkward. Maybe your lives went on two completely divergent paths and neither of you are the same people you were years ago, and now you have little in common. It can be disappointing, but it's really nobody's fault. Things happen, people change, and none of us are the same people we were 20 or 30 years ago.
I just found a notebook of songs that I wrote in college, and that passage of time is evident. I read through the words of some of the songs, and they were absolutely cringeworthy. It reads like a guy who had some painful things happen and felt like he was the only one who had ever gone through those things. Things like heartbreak, loneliness, and questioning one's place in life- things that we all at some point in time go through. The funny thing is that I really remember my college experience as a worthwhile and fulfilling time where I discovered a lot of things about both myself and my relationship with God, and that just doesn't come through in these songs at all.
I read these lyrics and they simply make me cringe. I would like to go back in time to my past self and shake him! And if you're curious about the lyrics, well, I hate to disappoint you, but I'm not going to share them here. It's frankly a little too embarrassing.
So, I invite you to think about yourself twenty, thirty, or more years ago. Think about how you have changed. Think about the experiences that you have gone through.
Isn't it amazing the places and feelings that God has brought us through? Isn't it amazing that while God remains God, he guides us through experiences that mold and shape us?
And that's just it. We are being molded and shaped constantly, no matter how young or old we are. Perhaps I needed to be a super touchy guy in my early twenties. Do I still take things personally too much? Yeah, probably. But hopefully I'm better at managing it.
I want to celebrate your journeys as well. I know that your lives haven't always been easy, and that there have been growing pains and struggles and serious questions. And through it all, God has held you in the palm of his hand, and perhaps the person you grew into is exactly who you need to be in this time and place. Those experiences are wise teachers and they give us gifts that we may not have had otherwise.
We have all faced our mortality in some form, perhaps in the death of a loved one or in a sobering medical reality that happened to us personally. While I don't think that God caused those things, I do think that God can use those experiences to make us gifted in reaching out to others around us who are going through similar things. The heartbreak and isolation that we have sometimes felt can make us realize that nobody should go through those painful feelings alone, so we can show people through our presence and through our words that they, like we, are loved more than we can possibly know.
We are an ever changing work in progress. My prayer for you is that you celebrate what God has done, and how God has formed you, and how God continues to form you.
Peace to you along the Way,