January mid-month update

January 2013 has been an interesting month so far. We have just officially entered the second half of the month. I am being selfish and praying that the second half is not as busy or chaotic as the first half.

Each January, people spend time reflecting. They look at the past year(s) and see if they have lived into their goals or accomplished their dreams. They make resolutions for the coming year. They reflect upon where they were, are and want to go.

I am no different (well, except I don’t make resolutions). I look back and around and ahead. I am always amazed at some of the events I live through and people I meet, especially when that part of the journey unexpected.
I don’t make resolutions because I have learned that I’m horrible at trying to start something new in the middle of winter, which does not seem like the time to change. I would rather change when the weather changes from bitter cold to balmy spring.
But that is exactly what is happening this year. The big change is happening as the calendar switches from 2012 to 2013.

Currently, I have the privilege to be the only pastor at Tri-County. Thankfully, that will change again and I will have a partner in ministry in a couple weeks. But until then, I am learning how to do ministry on my own for the first time without a co-pastor.

This change is both terrifying/stressful and exciting/energizing.
I am terrified that I will fail. I am stressed that I don’t have enough time.
But I am also excited. I am energized through the ministry, working with people in the midst of the best and worst life has to offer.

I am learning a lot about balance. I am figuring out how to better use my time and to prioritize.
Part of this is a harsh lesson I learned when I fell ill around Christmas. I have learned the hard way how much I miss out on when I don’t even have enough energy to pick up a phone to talk, let alone to leave my house and visit in person.
Part of this is learning how to be available when people are ill (which is common now during the peak of flu season), when people die and families grieve (which has happened often so far this month), when people can feel lonely or forgotten and want to be remembered.
Part of this is knowing what needs to be done, what can wait, and what I really want to be doing. I have had to learn to be honest with myself regarding my interests, strengths, and energy levels.

But the biggest lesson is realizing yet again that all ministry is truly by the grace of God. If it were simply me bumbling around without God’s help, nothing would matter. But God is in the thick of it, doing God’s thing and transforming lives. I’m the hands, feet and mouth for God.

One thing has really kept me sane this month: support from people.
Many are praying for me, for their churches, for TCM. And I can feel it.
Many have said words of encouragement to me. And I cannot express how much that helps to know that people trust and believe that it will be okay.
And of course, many are stepping up to help. I am always overwhelmed with how God truly does equip the community with more than enough gifts and talents to care for one another. We are never alone, never without. God nudges each of us to contribute what we can. And I appreciate it.

This year I’m choosing to join up with several others to pick one word as our focus for the year. It’s called One Word 365. One word that becomes your focus for 365 days.

My word is PEACE.

Peace in the midst of change and chaos. Peace in the midst of illness and death. Peace in the midst of busyness and running in circles. Peace for us all.

May the peace of Christ rule in our hearts (Col. 3:15).

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