Today marks my seventh anniversary on staff at a local church. After growing up in Chicago and living in the Dallas/Fort Worth area for 24 years, I packed up and moved with my family to Temple, TX. As a minister with the First Baptist Church, I have been blessed in so many ways. So today I spent a little time reflecting on the past seven years, the events and the work that have been part of the journey.
1. This growing town of almost 70,000 is the smallest community I have ever lived in that I remember. Temple is considered Central Texas and I have learned why. It’s definitely in the middle of this great state in respect to its location to Dallas, San Antonio, Austin and Houston. I have appreciated the ability to travel to these great cities and make it back quickly. Except the time I took a wrong turn going to San Antonio and it took us four hours to get there. Now I know the way. I have it down to two. And after seven years, Temple has become home.
2. Defining moments often come when you least expect them. A crisis can happen at any moment. In those moments, character is not developed but revealed.
3. For the first three years of my life in Temple, life rolled along as I anticipated. For the last four years it has been anything but what I anticipated. For me, however, life is not about anticipation but about seeing how to serve and make a difference in the situation in which I find myself. It has been an interesting part of the journey, these last four years!
4. Music has been an outlet, a way to deal with life’s challenges when words were inadequate. Music allows us to express emotion and connection and it has been a lifesaver for me. It has been a lifeline that has held together so much. I am grateful for this life that I have been given and the ability to express and lead and grow through the gift of music. It has sustained me when the days have been the darkest.
5. The building of new relationships takes time. In our culture where everything and everyone wants to be done quickly, some things can’t be on the fast track. The building of meaningful relationships is one of these. There is no way to cut corners in growing together. It takes time. It takes space. It takes energy. And it even takes moments to sit quietly and simply be together. Over the past seven years I have met many people. Many of these have become great friends, creating a deep bond that will last a lifetime. This didn’t happen in the first year. It didn’t even happen the second year. But as I look back on the past seven, it has happened. And I am grateful.
6. It is in these relationships that life is lived together. Through these friendships come support and care when those moments of crises come. I have been blessed beyond measure just in these past few days as so many have prayed for family during an illness and surgery. They are the ones that lift me up.
7. Just as crises come when you least expect them, blessings flow in abundance when you least expect them as well. I have been blessed beyond measure. I have been blessed by music and the outpouring of sound mixed with message. I have been blessed by love and support from friends and family. I have especially been blessed by the overwhelming evidence of God’s hand during these years. It is humbling to see what He has done. It was an answer to my specific prayer as I moved to Temple, to see the hand of God at work.
The past seven years have flown by. And some days it’s felt like an eternity. As I have been saying a lot, it’s just part of the journey we are all on called life. I have learned we really don’t know what tomorrow will bring but we can firmly place our faith in the One who is there already.
Grateful and blessed for the past seven years!