Friday, August 19, 2011

Going or staying

I've spent the last few years doing a lot of thinking, studying and teaching about transitions. Understanding the transitions of our lives, especially those of us who are officers or move often, is so important. Of course, moving isn't the only kind of transition. Perhaps more difficult to work through are the 'stages of life' transitions.

Recently, I've recognized that I need stability in the midst of the transitions. I don't know if it's become so critical for me because of the stage of life I'm in - hit a milestone age, the reality that I will most likely never marry or have children(definitely won't have children), or because I'm in my 4th home in the last 4 years. For whatever reason, I've been seeking stability.

I'm reading a book called "The Wisdom of Stability". The context is a community of believers in an urban setting, who are committed to staying there. But the basic principles, I hope, will help me find what I'm looking for. You will see some of the more thought-provoking and challenging quotes randomly on my Facebook page. That's it for now. I'm not sure where this is going or where it will lead. This I know for sure, God is my foundation and it is and will be all about Him.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A collision of worlds

Being in London this week, has been like a collision of my worlds. I came specifically this week to be at the commissioning as a Salvation Army officer of my friend, Sarah, from Latvia. While here I'm staying with old friends from the US and visiting friends who I've know since training. I also visited my goddaughter and her family who are officers in the UK, who were close friends in Latvia and remain close even though we are a continent apart. At the commissioning meetings I ran into friends from ICO,we were together nearly 12 years ago now. Plus meeting a number of other people who I met during my time in Latvia. All of it has been wonderful but a little crazy, too. It is surreal to pass someone in a hall or meet for a minute at a coffee shop as if I see them regularly rather than once in the last four or more years. I had only a few minutes to connect with people from Latvia who mean so much to me and were part of a life-changing three years. Even spending a couple of days with friends, seems less than ideal when it will be another year, at least, before we meet again. It is a privilege and blessing to have so many friends from different parts of the world. But also sad that we don't see each other or keep in touch. I'd like to commit to doing better at corresponding, but I know once I get home and back at work it won't happen. So, I'm thankful for these brief blessings.

Another thing has just occurred to me while I've been here. It's four years this week since I left Latvia. That means I've been home a year longer than I was there. It seems unbelievable in so many ways. I've had 3 different appointments, lived in 3 different cities. I guess that's why the time has gone so quickly. I'm only just now feeling settled in this appointment. And nothing will ever compare to those 3 years in Latvia. It still comes up often in my thoughts and conversations (probably more than people would like.) I still want to tell the story when someone will listen. And sometimes I still feel like I'm getting used to living in the US. No conclusions to these thoughts. I just wanted to get it out there.

Feeling blessed beyond measure with family, friends and opportunities.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Lessons from Numbers

I'm going to try blogging again. I've missed writing, as these days I rarely write more than an email or a hundred. There are some lessons I've been learning in this new role that I would like to 'process' in this venue. Carefully, of course, as I can't break confidences or let on when I don't know what I'm doing.

This month I started reading the book of Numbers. I'm not sure why I chose it but as I've been reading, I know why the Lord wanted me to read it. There are so many lessons about leadership. Today I was struck with several from Numbers 10. Someday they may become a sermon or a teaching series. For now, they are just some thoughts.

First and most significant, Always be aware of God's presence with me and going before me. This is a truth that is hard for me to understand. It's about God as God. He is here and He is where I will be tomorrow. What comfort I find in that reality.

Then there are the practical lessons, such as Be sure to give clear directions and Be organized. Both so important and not always easy to accomplish.

And finally and for me the most difficult, Have a mentor close by. Moses said to his father-in-law, "Please do not leave...you can be our eyes." We all need someone to help us see where we should go. I certainly do.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Social Butterfly or Introvert

When I was a young officer, my leader called me a social butterfly. He is one of my mentors and friends. He also is an introvert. I was never sure if he meant that as a tease or was in awe of my extroverted nature. Being social and everyone's friend was a priority for me for a long time. That got me into trouble! Now, I still like people. But as I've gotten older, I find myself looking for more time to myself. I've always found that I get energized by people. Now, it seems to be the reverse. I need time alone to have energy for being with people. I don't think there is anything wrong with either personality trait. Maybe I'm learning balance in my maturity and through experience. I certainly don't think I'm a 'social butterfly' anymore. And making sure everyone likes me is not my goal in life. I think it's a good thing to find a balance between being with people and being on my own. It seems to be more like how Jesus lived His life here.

So here's my question for those who read this. What about you? Social butterfly, hermit or mixture? Has your personality changed over the years?

Today the sermon was about the Magi's encounter with Jesus. Matthew 2:12 says after they had seen Jesus they chose another route (my translation.) The preacher said 'we can never go back once we've worshipped Jesus.' I want to live this way every day. First of all, being with Jesus and then going forward to new 'routes'. Happy New Year! Spend time with Jesus and move forward!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

On being an orphan

Just this week, 5 of my friends became orphans. I've been thinking about what it means to be an orphan at 40 something. Actually, for me it was 30 something. I couldn't give my friends any assurance that the lost feeling of being parentless will go away. In fact, nearly 15 years later it hits me every so often and usually when a significant event happens in my life or the life of my family. For instance, when my brother and sister-in-law got married and then had their first child. Both events were cause for great joy in our family, touched with a bit of sadness that my parents weren't there to celebrate with us. And as my niece and nephews grow up, I often think how much my parents would love to be part of their lives. And how much my sister, brother and I want them to be with us and even still, give us their advice. I still miss my mom and dad. I want my niece and nephews to know their grandparents, but they never will. I haven't tried to replace them with 'other' parents. But God has blessed me with important, mature and wise people who I can turn to when I need a little parenting. It's not the same, but I'm grateful for that blessing.

Being parentless brought my siblings and I closer together. I think we are more concerned about each other and check up on each other more, because we don't have parents who do that. I am so grateful that loss didn't separate us. God keeps us connected and we know we need each other.

Yes, being an orphan is sad even as a grown up. Thank God, He puts us in families, both literally and in the church. To my 5 friends, I'm sorry and I pray comfort and peace for you. I also pray that the emptiness will be filled by your amazing physical family and by your spiritual family. God is faithful and He is our Father who knows what we need.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Transitions

I'm starting the process of writing about transitions. This day has been spent reading through my journals which started before I left for Latvia and continued for a few months into my return to St. Louis. I've also sorted through my notes from the Debriefing and Renewal retreat. It's been an emotional day as I've lived through the highs, lows, excitement, hurt, joy and pain of those 3 plus years. But, it's also made me lonely for those days when my walk with the Lord seemed so much more alive and passionate. I long to return to that desire for an deep, intimacy with Jesus, not just a routine, occasionally charged walk. Oh, don't get me wrong. I find the Lord speaking to me and challenging me to grow and mature regularly. It's the need for Him that seems to have changed. That's what happens when I live in America, I think. But, I can't blame it on that. It's me - independent, proud and selfish. And right now, I think the Lord is trying to do a new thing in me. Lord, do it!

I'm back and rambling...your thoughts on transition would be helpful. I'm thinking it might turn into an Officer Magazine article. We'll see...

Thursday, May 28, 2009

In Between Again

I'm considering whether I should shut my blog down or start a new chapter with my move to Chicago? I'm feeling the urge to write again and definitely feel like there will be many new adventures when I get to the College for Officers' Training. But, how many of those can I put down here???!!! I will be learning new things, stretching in new ways and exploring one of my favorite cities once again. I guess that's enough to keep writing about...