After devotional, flute practice, and breakfast this morning, I went outside. I’d budgeted thirty minutes for yard work, since I had other chores to do before starting the laundry and writing this post. It’s Monday, and I wanted to get a jump on the day in case our church needed an extra pair of hands this afternoon. Bethany Lutheran Church and Early Childhood Education Center is moving to a new, soon-to-be-completed building.
In the yard, I swept the walkways and decks, peppered with acorns. Then, in preparation for tomorrow’s leaf-blowing, I raked layers of dry-to-wet leaves and sticks, which matted the stone rip-wrap that drains from the driveway into a ravine. Oh, the joy of being outside, weeding, trimming, and watering. Ninety minutes passed, one hour more than I’d budgeted.
And yet, somehow, everything got done.
The same phenomenon happened several years ago when I began to attend church on a regular basis. Where would I find the time for choir practice or Sunday morning service, I wondered? No worries. God made time, because I made fellowship and community a priority. And everything got done.
An internet search on the topic of moving yields the word “stress.” Moving is change, and change is stressful. When Keith and I moved to Vanaprastha, we left family, neighbors, friends, church, and colleagues. We started growing a new life: new neighbors, new friends, new church, new colleagues—and new missions.
Stressful? Yes, and in good ways. Change tested us to do what the Lord requires of us, according to Micah 6:8—To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. And change tested our church-community.
The process of building a new church and moving has not been without challenges. Sometimes it’s been hard for the community to be positive. But our leadership planned for the expected—and the unexpected. That’s what it means to walk humbly with God: trust that all will be well.
Unsurprisingly, much effort has been spent on practicalities, which always provide opportunities to act justly. Like climbing a mountain road in the heat (last week’s post), we paced ourselves to avoid exhaustion, which certainly would have been an injustice. Probably the biggest challenge has been Martha-and-Mary balancing, that is, accomplishing where-what-how without losing who and why.
Who and why—loving mercy, being patient as we grow and change. Even in the midst of upheaval, church members have been kind, mourning losses and celebrating the blessing of new lives in our community. Soon we’ll celebrate in our new building, re-starting church and school. Once we’re settled, we’ll think about new opportunities for growth and change.
This past Mother’s Day, our Life-Stage Minister handed out paper hearts embedded with flower seeds—a lovely kindness. While outside this morning, I noticed my planted “heart” had grown a zinnia, which isn’t blooming yet, and what looks like blooming-phlox.
Tomorrow morning, I’ll be outside in the yard again, blowing leaves and walking humbly with God. On Wednesday, I’ll be visiting my mother and loving that mercy. If our church gets the go-ahead on Thursday, I’ll be helping with the move-in and acting justly—at least that’s my hope.
And everything will get done.
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First, I love your observation that when we put God first, there’s always time for what He wants us to do.
I really love the paper hearts idea and think that your little hollowed out log is a perfect planter. I bet it will be fun to see what color the zinnia will be when it blooms.
Thank you for your comment. One of my mountain neighbors, who lives alone, made the log planter. We give him whatever our vegetable garden produces in excess, occasional meals, and time, and he gives us time and lovely garden additions. Even trade.
Thanks for sharing your experiences Carole. God makes a way for everything to fit together as our lives experience change.
Once again you have opened my eyes to see things from a different perspective Carole and I thank you. I know that moving is stressful having moved to a new home almost a year ago. Now I’ve encountered a different type of move; from being independent to recovering from major surgery and being totally dependent on others for basic needs. It’s not easy to have to depend on someone for me. I feel guilty that I can’t do it all myself. However our church community has made contingencies for this too. Amid all that needs to be accomplished in the next few weeks they have found time to take care of one of the flock who can’t do it “all by herself “.
Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and experiences, Martha. In community, accepting help is the same as providing help—we’re loving others as ourselves.
See you soon! -C.D.
Love the post and the pic to