Happy New Year, everyone!

2018 was quite the year! In the last 12 months, we changed jobs, changed cities, changed homes, changed faith communities, and changed day cares.

I also completed my participation in CCDA’s leadership cohort 7, participated in the Ruby Woo Pilgrimage, visited a migrant shelter in Tijuana, and spoke at 2 different women’s retreats. I completed a 6 week health boot camp and found a new love for weight training, and got my body (somewhat) back into shape after having a baby. I continued to watch Amara grow into a delightful, joy-filled, curious child. I discerned a call to pastoral ministry, found a renewed sense of vision for the local church, and felt (somewhat) released from my feelings of spiritual homelessness.

A lot changed- both circumstantially as well as internally. All major areas of our life became “new” in the past year.

All along the way, God undeniably reminded us that God is the author of our story. In every transition, there were moments of miraculous provision that made it clear that God was making the path for us to walk into.

  • While Michael and I were in job transition, discerning a call to work in the local church, we talked to about 6 different churches about working on their teams, trusting our gut about why each one was not quite right for us. FirstPres was the 7th church we talked to, and they provided us with roles so perfectly suited for our passions that we knew it was where God was leading us.
  • We were in housing transition and unsure of where we would live, when we were generously offered a place to live- where Amara could have her own room/crib already set up and our dog could also have a canine companion- as long as we needed. This couple welcomed us not only into their home but into their family, and we are forever grateful.
  • We transitioned under the assumption that we would get a spot at our day care, only to find out about a really long (like 18 month long!) waitlist, and were scrambling for care when somebody dropped out suddenly, opening up a spot for us to attend.
  • While house hunting, we realized that we realistically were about 50k short of being able to afford most things we were looking at, and God provided us a very generous loan to cover the gap. Moreover, when we put an offer on our house, we knew it would be a stretch and that our offer was not the most competitive. But somehow, we beat out an all-cash offer AND a higher offer to get our house.

In the midst of all these transitions, I’ve also felt exposed. My own compulsions, addictions, unhealthy patterns, and sin have definitely come out in the face of transition. They’ve led to a lot of conflict in marriage, as well as some difficulties with parenting, and have pushed me to a place of realizing how powerless I am to change myself.

But somehow, through the ups and downs, I’ve rediscovered that I cannot change myself, by myself. I cannot become the person I want and need to be without God’s help. So I’m hoping that 2019 brings a renewed engagement in my spiritual life, and a daily sense of dependence upon God in all areas of my life.

Consequently, I am letting go of my tradition of choosing a word for the new year, which I’ve done the last few years. In many ways, it was my way of trying to determine what the year would hold for me, a way for me to set my own fate. But this year, I’m convicted that God will continue to author my story, and am hoping to grow in surrender. I’m open to the surprises that will come and curious to see what this year will bring!

A prayer for 2019:

Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty
my memory, my understanding,

and my entire will
All I have and call my own.

You have given all to me.
To you, Lord, I return it.

Everything is yours; do with it what you will.
Give me only your love and your grace,
that is enough for me.

-St. Ignatius of Loyola

Co-Pastor @bethelcommunitysl | Director of Advocacy @fphayward | pastor, activist, writer | married to @eubanksme | co-author of @lentenlament | she/her

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