This year I incorporate book signings, speaking engagements, and prayerfully two writers' conferences. A busy, productive and fun summer ahead. BUT for the next couple weeks, busyness and a lot of change. Change is always a challenge yet I've learned God uses change (especially ones that break our hearts) to grow, strengthen, and mold us into the independent men and women of God He designed us to be, leaning on Him versus the friends, family, and security of jobs and careers we settle our security with.
I spent the past two days with the American Baptist Women as their keynote speaker for their annual June conference. It was held at my favorite escape and get-away ~ the Delta Lake Bible Conference Center.
Their theme this year was "Designed to Serve" and they blessed me with the opportunity to speak on being "Designed to Inspire" and "Designed to Encourage" as fuel for their, no our, serving God. I opened our time together with a confession, "I'm not a Baptist Woman." This brought laughter, smiles, and hearts ready to hear the message God gave me to share with them.
I can't speak for the women in attendance but I know I left inspired, encouraged, and ready to serve God in the capacity He is calling me to. I think the greatest inspiration motivating me on my return home is to start transitioning the notes, drafts, and Bible verses for the sequel to Where's Heidi? One Sister's Journey (now available on Kindle) to an editor-ready manuscript.
I drafted the introduction this morning and other ideas are flooding my brain on ways to mold things together. I went to grab my "Sequel" bin off the shelf but couldn't reach it because there is an old mattress and box spring blocking it. I thought about interrupting Ed's day of rest to move these heavy items out of my way but then decided to take this as a sign to wait.
Do you remember I said there is a lot of change before me? Well, instead wasting time moving things out of my way, I plan to cross items off the list that have time constraints. Two weeks ago our church received bittersweet news. Our pastor and his family are moving to pastor the Amherst Alliance Church near Rochester, New York. This is great news for Amherst but devastating news to our small church. On June twenty-third, our pastor preaches his last message in New Haven, New York and within a couple days will pack the last item and leave to start their new journey.
Not only are we losing our pastor, we say "see you later" to dear friends. The beauty of living and worshipping in a small town is we are all part of one family. Change isn't easy, especially when you say good-bye to those you love. The good news is we have an excuse to take a road trip, and a place to stop for lunch while we're there. I don't know when a new pastor will start at our church or even the process but I know he, and his family, will b welcomed with open arms and hearts for the messages God's given him to share with us.
It's never easy to say good-bye yet with the opportunity to travel and to make new friends on the horizon, life is good. Another change in the near future is my building assignment for school. For a decade I've worked at the New Haven Elementary school, with a couple years split between two buildings but my main stay always New Haven. This coming September I'll work with new people, in a new building, and have the opportunity to listen to audio books while driving. I'm going to miss my New Haven family but know they are only a phone call, email, and a stop away if I need them.
Another change is my attitude towards life. The preparation for this weekend's message, "Designed to Serve, Inspire, and Encourage" reminded me of WHO I am and WHAT I'm gifted and designed to do. One of the breakout speakers talked about how sometimes we have a time of pruning in order to grow. I think this past year school year and these summer months are meant to prune me. God reminded me I don't NEED people, I NEED HIM.
The song during this morning's worship cemented this message in my heart and mind. I pray you are blessed by it to. A side note to the women I met this weekend at the retreat, if you have pictures you would like to share, please "tag me" if you post them on Facebook or feel free to email them to me too at firstname.lastname@example.org. I never thought to ask someone to capture a few pictures with my camera for me. Thank you!