I’m late. As usual.
According to my mother, the last time I was punctual for something was my birth. She married my dad on Oct. 16, 1969. I was born nine months later, to the day, on July 16, 1970. Since then, arriving “on time” for school, for work, for church, for just about anything, has been an ongoing challenge for me.
My friends and loved ones have been known to tell me to arrive 15 minutes before an event is actually scheduled to start, in hopes that I’ll be there on time. *sigh*
So here’s my belated “J” post for the A2Z Take 2 meme…
Why June, you ask, since it’s still only March?
Because in June 2012 we will be moving. After spending 14 years in the rural community where we planted a church in 1998, we’re heading home. No, really. HOME. back to the Colorado ranch we shared with my parents before we accepted God’s assignment and set out as church planters. We’ll return to the home church that “grew us up” in the knowledge of the Lord.
We leave behind a church plant that, although small, is alive. New pastors, who have a fresh vision and a passion and connection to this particular place and community, took the helm last July.
In June, my third child will graduate from high school. He’ll be the first of my four to graduate from a traditional public school, and the first to pack off to live in a dorm and be a full-time on-campus college student. I’m thrilled for him because I know he’s going to thrive and succeed in that environment, and I weep because it’s a transition to adulthood that means yet another degree of separation between us.
And yet, with so many changes afoot, I am jubilant.
The 14 years we’ve spent here are filled with notes of joy as well as jaunts of pain, depression, doubt, and fear. We’ve learned things about ourselves, about our faith and about our beliefs, that we will carry with us forever.
We’ve grown to despise small-town politics, the prejudice that comes from generational pride, and the clannishness bred by isolation and insecurity.
We’ve learned to value the things of life that have eternal value, not the things valued by men (even religious men). We’ve come to know that we know beyond the shadow of a doubt that God loves US, not what we do for Him, not what we succeed or fail at. We’ve learned, by virtue of tests and trials, the triumph of mercy over judgment and the power that is released when we yield ourselves to compassion instead of condemnation.
In June, we have a blessed opportunity to begin anew. Relationships that were strained have been refreshed and restored. Dreams that have been set aside in the face of financial restraints will be reopened to the light.
Perhaps most important, my family will be together, three generations in one place, on property my parents have sown their time, their sweat, their finances and effort into for the sake of their descendants. I am humbled by their faith in so doing, year after year, never knowing if their child (me) or their grandchildren would come back to receive that for which they have labored.
Thanks, Mom and Dad.