Hello to the three of you who read my blog! 2015 has been an unexpected, sort of wild ride. I’m not really into New Years resolutions since they rarely pan out, but I prefer setting goals and going after them no matter what time of year it is. That being said, it is almost the new year and a crap ton of changes have been happening, which will make everything that I’m doing look like “new years resolutions.” Not really so. I’ve already started. Anyway, no matter what it’s called, “goals,” “changes,” “resolutions,” etc., things are in motion.

I think I’m going to break this into 2 parts. There’s a lot of stuff that’s been going on that I haven’t been able to express.  There have been plenty of times that I’ve wanted to sit down and process through, but never had the time or energy. There’s also been this fear of adding to all of the noise out there. Everyone has an opinion about everything and I have a hard time believing that my opinion matters much. I often wish that fewer people would express their opinions, so I feel a bit hypocritical writing about things. There have been crazy things, traumatic things that have happened this year. There was a terrible church shooting in Charleston, an unimaginable massacre fueled by racist hate. From that brought outrage over a flag and it finally came down from the State House. Then we were flooded by more rain than we’ve ever seen. Familiar places were covered by water and others were swept away. We went times without clean water and feared for family, friends, and ourselves.

For me, it meant going into flood relief mode since I worked for a Baptist ministry. The week after the flood was one of the most frustrating ones. Service men and women were working over time. There was a huge urge to get in and help, but, for me, a concern about jumping in and getting in the way. People were running around all over the place, much was miscommunicated, resources were being routed here and there, and time was wasted. Eagerness eventually turned to anger (the entire city went through the grieving process) and people began to realize that we weren’t going back to how it was before. Yet through the chaos, love and generosity were shown. Cleaning happened and rebuilding started. The film crews left and life kept moving.

Then I got a new job offer. I wasn’t looking for it, but it showed up. And it wasn’t the first opportunity. But the timing was better and I felt I better pay attention this time. After much more prayer and wrestling through the options, I closed my chapter as paid staff at the BCM (Baptist Collegiate Ministry) and on December 16 joined the staff at First Baptist Church to work on Web site and social media endeavors. While it’s not always easy to say exactly what God is saying to you, I feel He’s been confirming my decision every step of the way. I love the new job. I love the people that I get to work with. Sometimes I come in early and leave late just because I’m excited to be there. The perks are a little perkier and it looks as if I’m going to have opportunity to pursue some other passions as well. The fears or concerns that I had with taking a new job are being assuaged. I didn’t even have first day butterflies or jitters. I just jumped in and it all felt familiar.

Leaving Shandon, my church home for the past seven or eight years, was one of the hardest parts, because I feared losing my friends with the change. Fortunately, that has not been so. It would appear that they’re happy to have me around (for whatever reason, I don’t know) even though I can’t be there on Sundays anymore. For that I am grateful. Truth be told, they put up with me during the collegiate ministry years, so they’re saints among saints with patience abounding.

As I look into this new year, I’m filled with hope and excitement. Things are coming into focus and I’ve found this sense of clarity. More than anything, I’m thankful. I try to be thankful no matter what situation I’m in because finding something to be thankful for is the first step in redeeming even a bad situation. Currently, I don’t have to look hard at all to find things to appreciate. God has been with me, guiding, loving, correcting, and redeeming. He’s given me amazing family and friends and has been opening space for more. I still get to work with college students and I still love them, ministering to them, and getting to live life with them. I have food on my table and a roof over my head. I get to clean under that roof today, so I’m reminding myself how fortunate I am of the opportunity. Ha ha.

So, these are the broad strokes, the general “what’s going on” statements. There’s a lot more to the details, but I’ll try not to bore you. The next installment will have some hopes and plans for 2016. Maybe there will be some “Sandwiches I’ve Eaten” along the way.

I pray that 2016 brings you awe and wonder. Stay tuned for Part 2!