Today is my niece Brittany’s birthday. I still remember the day she arrived. My sister’s due date was the first week in June. So, she planned to have the baby shower during Memorial Day weekend, and afterward, she and her husband would get all the items that were not gifted at the party. Well, my niece had other ideas.
At the time I was living in Memphis. My mom called me at 5:30 am to share that my sister had gone into labor. After the phone conversation, I headed back to bed, but couldn’t stop laughing as I realized my sister and brother-in-law had nothing for their first child. No crib, as I had purchased it and it was still somewhere between Memphis and Cleveland. No diapers because they hadn’t started to stockpile them. No clothes because my sister hoped to get that first month’s wardrobe at the shower.
Maybe that’s when I began using the phrase which is the title of this Puzzler’s Corner. Brittany reminded all of us that life is unpredictable. And that’s what I love about the journey we are on. Growing up, all I thought I wanted to be was an Audiologist. And yet, I knew I was called to do something different, something more.
When I answered the call to be a pastor, I believed I could turn my experience as a Counselor for those with hearing loss and related disorders into a career in pastoral care. I focused on becoming a hospital chaplain until I discovered that the Emergency Room adrenalin rush was not for me. During my last semester of Seminary, just before Annual Conference, I received the call describing where my first appointment would be. Flint? Cross-Cultural? Associate Pastor? None of those were how I had imagined beginning my journey as a pastor.
Becoming a pastor and being a pastor are very different. My call has been affirmed nearly every day. I have been blessed by the people I visit, seeking to bring them comfort and lift their spirits, discovering that during our time together, I too am touched and moved by what we share. I am constantly learning how to reach out to others, bringing the Good News of Jesus to those who have heard it before and for those who are eager to hear it for the first time.
I have found the right people to journey with, to create or continue vital ministry, only to learn that they are called to heaven or need to move away. I have brought ideas of how to bring the church to people, rather than invite people to come to the church, only to find out that the places I’ve considered are unable or unwilling to host a meeting, a dinner or a conversation. I have planted seeds in the hearts and minds of the people I have served….never knowing if they have taken root or grown.
And then I remember life interferes with plans. Our Lord has a way of making the impossible possible. God takes my ideas and shapes them to reach more people than I imagined. Though I may never see how the seeds I planted bear fruit, I have faith that God is changing lives through me.
As we begin to think of life after Covid, know that what we do and how we continue to serve our Lord is still unpredictable. Life, or shall I say, God will interfere with our plans, not to frustrate us, but to help us fulfill His mission for all of God’s children. And Amen.