Peace in my Heart

I’ve been spending the last few days at a Gathering of ELCA Diaconal Ministers. My cup absolutely overflows when I’m with these dear brothers and sisters in “Diakonia.”

This morning we did the business part of our gathering where we elected a new leadership/transition team. Ever since entering this community, I’ve loved (and still love) our prayerful way of listening to where God is leading us. And I along with many of us have been open to that call.

Three years ago my name appeared on the list of potential names. However God did not lead me to that call. This morning I again said I was open to that call. My name once again appeared. And we prayerfully narrowed 5 names down to 2 names. At the end, my name was not one of those names. And to be honest, I felt and still feel complete peace.

Peace that our community elected two beautiful strongly gifted women. There is peace in my heart that God led us to elect these two individuals. Peace that God sensed I wasn’t the right person at this time and peace that God will lead and new life will emerge!

Thank you dear brothers and sisters for bringing forth my name. I’m honored that you would even feel God leading you to write down my name.

Continued Prayers and blessings to our new leadership/transition team!

“That They All May Be One”

Anytime I drive from Moorhead into Fargo or go home to Ashley for a holiday or vacation, I see a “Welcome to MN” sign as I take the first exit into Moorhead and to my apartment. For the most part, it is something that I know is there but don’t really pay that close of attention to it. However it was different this afternoon. Right as I was leaving work to go to Zumba, I saw that Minnesota passed the Freedom to Marry bill.(I’ll be honest I was ecstatic. I know not everyone feels that way but that was how I was feeling.) On my way home from Zumba, I came to my exit and saw that sign again. Yet today it was different. Today my heart was happy. Today I knew that those words were true…..more true than they had been an hour ago or even 24 hours or 6 years ago.

I felt tears welling up in my eyes as I turned onto that exit leading me home. Tears welling up for my dear friend L and her wife M and their beautiful son L. He has always been both of theirs and always will be. However because their marriage wasn’t legal, they could run into all sorts of obstacles. Because L didn’t carry their son, she had to legally adopt him. Today though they are and will truly be a family in the eyes of the law. What a beautiful step. I think of the members of their church family who stood with them today at the Capitol grounds. For them, there is and never will be a line between who is and who is out!

I think of my friend J who is going to marry his sweetheart next month in R’s home state. I met J after he graduated seminary and through mutual aquantances of both of ours. I’ve always respected and admired J for being honest with who he is. I mean that in the best possible light. What has saddened me throughout this whole journey is that J has been able to marry many others but has never been able to legally marry himself. There is just something totally not right with that picture. He deserves to marry as much as you and I do. Today J and R can now both get married in their home states.

I think of the many others who now will be able to legally be a family. I don’t know what Jesus will say when we all get to heaven, but what I do know is Jesus always chose love. Jesus was always the one crossing the line onto the other side. Yet I know there are people hurting tonight because of this decision…people who don’t understand. I keep coming back to Jesus’ words to his disciples that night in the upper room…”that they all may be one.” Jesus spoke these words to his disciples that last night in the upper room even though they were far from being one themselves. Today I’m proud to be a Minnesotan but I know that there are those who do not agree with this decision. In the end and despite our disagreements, may peace prevail…

So tonight as we lay our heads down for the night, may we pray for all….for all God’s people…for the people on both sides of the line…may we pray that peace; God’s peace will always prevail!

2012 in Review

2012 has been a great year! It really hasnt been filled with many huge milestones etc. Just the great wonderful every day stuff. Here is a quick little recap…

January-Rang in the New Year with my Dad. Had Prime Rib and shrimp from the local restaurant in my hometown. I know so exciting!

February-My uncle got married!!! Its crazy. He has been single most of his life and now hes married! So happy for them and love her!!

March-A visit from one of my favorite people and her girls on their way back home from visiting family in NE!

April-Celebrated my 6th anniversary as a Diaconal Minister in the ELCA! Going to awedding and spending time with a dear Diaconal sister and WTS friends! Volunteering at an Adoption benefit for a college friend and her family!

May-My colleague went on Sabbatical…a well deserved one! A great Sabbatical pastor filled in and spent the summer serving alongside and with us!

June-Lutheran Academy of the Rockies! LOVE this Continuing Education event! 10 days of wonderfulness. Great time with great friends and meeting new friends. So blessed by LAR and the people it has brought into my life!

July-ELCA National Youth Gathering in New Orleans. 6 youth and another adult from the church I serve at. We went with our local Bible camp and it was awesome. We did lots of tourist fun..6 Flags in Missiouri, The Arch, Day on the Beach, National Civil Rights Museum. Wonderful speakers and fun at the Gathering! Finally meeting a wonderful lady who has become one of my BEST friends!

August-Colleague back from Sabbatical, Day Camp/Vacation Bible School, and a little vacation time!

September-My 34th Birthday. And a little trip to visit Mama!

October-WTS fun! Road trip for a seminary friends wedding. I went with one of my best friends from seminary days. It was awesome. So fun to catch up. We even got a little stop in at the Castle which was sooo good for my soul!

November-Jr High Youth Gathering. Receiving the MN Care Providers Community Partnership Award on behalf of DLC. The youth and homes of DLC received this award for their partnership with Serenity Assisted Living and DLC!

December-Advent and Christmas! I love this time of year. Reminds me of the importance of the season. Wonderful family time! Love spending time with my family! Now ready to ring in 2013 and see what the New Year will bring! Whatever the New Year brings, I know God is always there. Hope the New Year brings you, my readers, peace, hope, joy, and love!!

For All To See…

It’s late and I SHOULD be sleeping but tonight is one of those nights were my brain doesn’t want to shut off! (Don’t you sometimes wish your brain had a shut off switch?!?) So since I can’t sleep, I thought I’d blog! Silly I know…but as a writer, sometimes that’s just what I need to do…..spill it out for everyone to see, hear, read…blemishes and all!! I’m probably not always the most elegant speaker but it’s what I do! It’s the one gift I really feel God has given me to share with the world! In a lot of ways, blogging is like leaving my journal open for all to see…which is an extremely scary place to be but at the same time, it is also freeing!!

So tonight because I can’t sleep and because the good ol’ brain won’t shut off, I guess I’m just going to attempt to put words on a page! Sorry if it isn’t Noble Peace prize winning or even noteworthy!!

Life is grand! I’m happy to be in a wonderful place that God has called me to! I love the people I serve!! They have blessed me! I have wonderful family and friends!! I’m blessed to have them in my life too!! Yet despite all this wonderfulness, there are still times when I feel restless; feel the Holy Spirit moving in my life! ( No reason in particular; just how I feel somedays!) And I wonder what that might mean?

This week my mind has been on the people of New Orleans and Hurricane Isaac! It was just over a month ago that I was there for the ELCA National Youth Gathering with 33,000 of my closest friends! :p So many of them are still recovering from Katrina! My prayers go out to them!

The ParaOlympics just started too! What inspiration!! And yet so many are focused on politics! Whose right? Whose wrong? Who should we elect? The ads are awful and demeaning and just plain ugly!! Why can’t we focus on what really needs to be done? Prayer and Thanksgiving! Perhaps we need to reread the book of Ephesians so we can be reminded that we are to be reconciled in Christ!!

Well that’s my journal page from this week out in the open for all to see! Hopefully I won’t regret leaving this page open later…

Authenticity

Authenticity is something that I strive for every day. Every day I try to be completely and wholey who God created me to be. All admit that I screw up. I’m not perfect! I am definetely a Lutheran…simultaneously both saint and sinner. Recently at the ELCA National Youth Gathering, the youth heard some phenomenal speakers (at least in my opinion)! However there are many who were and have been concerned about these speakers. It makes me sad because I think our youth (and even our adults) need to hear these stories. Yes, Pastor Nadia used to be big into drugs and alcohol BUT the truth is that by the grace of GOd and other believers, she has gotten out of the depths of those darknesses. I dont believe that her story teachs our youth that its ok to take drugs. I think it does quite the opposite; it teachs them what happens when you get into drugs and alcohol. My hope and prayer is that they take Nadia’s and all the speakers messages and makes a change in the world. I may be wrong..I may get to heaven one day and God may tell me something else…But what I do know is that Jesus was a radical. Jesus sat and ate with tax collectors, sinners and the outcasts!

NOLA and Back!

Well we made it to NOLA and then the Gathering kept us super busy so I didnt have a chance to update the blog. Wed night we gathered with 33,000 plus of our friends in the LutherDome. Rachel Kurtz sang her song “Make a Difference” which is also the Gathering theme song. On Thurs, we spent time with 800 of our friends from the NW MN synod. So good to spend time together as a synod! Then in the afternoon we went out on our discipleship lab which was so much fun—basically a scavenger hunt. Friday we learned how to practice peacemaking. Youth had opportunities to give blood, donate hair etc. Saturday was our service day. Our service project was about experiencing the culture. We went to the New Orleans School of Cooking where Chef Kevin cooked for us. Then we talked about our perceptions and misconceptions of hunger in the world. Sunday we loaded the buses back up, worshipped one last time and then begin the journey home. We stopped at the Civil Rights Museum in Memphis TN and then on to Lamberts; the home of throwed roll. Yep they really do toss/throw rolls at you! So much fun and the food was awesome! Finally made it home around 6 pm on Tuesday night. The Gathering was fun and had great speakers that the youth really identified with but we all were ready to be home!

Roadtrippin' to NOLA Highlights!

Some trip snippets:

-Buses rolled on out of Moorhead!

-Stopped at a rest stop and already ran into another group from EaND!

-Landed in KC for the night!

-Six Flags! The Boss was a big hit!! Kept my friend Mel company since she couldn’t go on any rides! We did ride the train a few times!

-Up in the Arch! So cool!

-Lunch at the Hard Rock in Union Station!

-Landed in Meridian Mississippi for the night!

-On to Gulfport! Spent time at the beach! Such a great day!!

-Supper at the Cajun Crawfish Hut! Catfish, Shrimp, Chicken!

-Cool worship on the beach! I got to help bless everyone!

-Lots and lots of time on the bus watching movies, playing camp games etc!

-Onto NOLA tomorrow!!

More to come later!
Goodnight friends!!

A Blessed Day

It’s a day that will always hold a special place in my heart…the day I was consecrated into the ministry of Word and Service; the day I was consecrated as a Diaconal Minister in the ELCA! I can hardly believe that tomorrow April 23 will be the 6th anniversary of my consecration. It was such a blessed day; filled with family and friends. I am so glad that my friends Liz and Carrie drove through the night so they could be a part of this special day! The previous camp director of the camp I worked at preached a rockin’ sermon! A day that forever is a part of me and reminds me of my call to ministry! I remember so many laying their hands on me…what a powerful moment!

A Simple Reminder

“How beautiful are the voices; how beautiful are the hands; How beautiful are the feet of those who bring Good News to the world!” These words caught me off guard tonight! I closed my sermon with them and found myself fighting back tears! I think it was all the faces looking back at me! I try to be a servant but Im also human! I don’t always think the best or nicest or act that way towards my neighbor ! I’m a sinner too but that’s the beauty Jesus doesn’t pass over anyone! He washes everyone’s feet! Tonight instead of a foot washing we did a blessing of our hands! So cool as I washed! Then one of my fave people saw me, grabbed my hands and washed them! I had to fight back the tears! Then I looked up and she was drying one hand while one of our elderly ladies was drying the other hand! A simple reminder to me and all of us!

Proud To Be An ELCA Lutheran!

I am so proud to be an ELCA Lutheran!

It is hard to believe that two years ago today the ELCA passed its implementing resolutions on their Human Sexuality Social Statement. I know that it hasn’t been an easy road at all for the church but it is totally worth celebrating. Some of my favorite people who definetely have the gifts for ministry are now able to serve in the church! PRaise be to God! And because of that I am proud to be an ELCA Lutheran!

This week as I watched the churchwide assembly online, I was saddened to learn that approximately 500 congregations have left the ELCA but then I was even more heartened to hear that of the 10,000 congregations in the ELCA their giving is up. And because of that giving, I am proud to say I am an ELCA Lutheran!

Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson asked the gathered body on the first day of the assembly if they were ready to be moved by the power of the spirit. He didnt answer the question but promised that it would be answered by the end of the week. On Friday, he asked the gathered body to get out their voting machines. He gave them three choices: 1. Are we ready to move? 2. ARe we stuck and not going anywhere? 3. Are we already moving? The cool thing was that over 600 people said that the church was already moving! The other 400 were split between the other choices. And because we are already moving, I am proud to be an ELCA Lutheran!

I am proud to be an ELCA Lutheran because we are a place where everyone is welcomed. There is a place for you here!

I am proud to be an ELCA Lutheran because it realizes that we all have been freed in Christ to serve.

I am proud to be an ELCA Lutheran because we understand what it means to share God’s love, grace, and mercy with the world even when it isnt the easiest thing in the world to do!

I am proud to be an ELCA Lutheran because they reach out beyond not just the church walsl but into other countries. I am proud that we continue to walk with Haiti, Japan, the people in Minot ND and the people in Joplin Missouri.

Because of these and so many other reasons, I am more proud than ever to be an ELCA Lutheran! Praise be to God!