Saturday, January 29, 2011

unexpected moments of grace

I don't know if you've ever moved into the state of's a true joy, don't get me's just, well, it took a while to get the new license and get the truck registered. 

After a few trips to PennDot, I got the I'm official. 

Yesterday, I decided to get the truck in order...I had all the necessary paperwork for the new title and plates and with them in hand I had 10 days to get it inspected.  I thought to myself, 'Self, you should just do it right now.' So I did...the truck passed inspection just needing a new fuse and a few new bulbs in a third tail light, but nothing major. 

Then the service fellow comes out and says, have you had trouble with your battery? Problems with it holding a charge?  No, I said, well, there was this one time back in October when the cables needed to be adjusted, but I've been good since.  He said, 'Oh, the testing drained it and it's not taking a charge like it should.'  Okay I thought....he said, we'll leave it running for a while and your drive home should charge it.  Okay. 

I pay my bill, hop in the truck, put it in drive and it stalls. 
My heart dropped. 
I headed back into the shop and explained and they said, we'll put in a new battery right away.  They did...and I made it home safely and it started right up this morning :)

I was slightly saddened that most my afternoon was at the inspection station....waiting....but then I counted my blessings...I was truly thankful that it hadn't stalled at a stoplight somewhere on my way home and thankful that they could take care of it right away...and thankful it was just a new battery that was needed. 

It seems like my truck is something I know absolutely nothing about...when it doesn't start, I don't know what to check.  When it starts making noises, I often turn the stereo up (I know not the best car care).  And honestly, when I get into the truck I expect it to start.  In fact I come to rely on it starting.  So when something goes wrong with it, I get flummoxed...thrown into a tizzy, because it is something that is out of my control, something I don't know how to fix, and I will need to find someone I trust to repair it. 

So that's what it boils down to...that I struggle with not being the one who can handle everything all of the time...I'm learning how to let go, but it's not an easy thing. 

I breathed as deeply as I could when I walked back into that inspection station...and I just realized it was out of my was not the end of the world, I may not have had the chance to make the dinner I was hoping to make, but oh well, life goes on.  This is just an example of a time I let go rather easily, sometimes I'm much more stubborn. (Is that my German heritage creeping in?)

I guess it's a one day at a time thing...learning to give thanks for God's grace in unexpected places, like my truck stalling in the inspection lot, and continuing to recognize that our lives are in God's hands...and it's perfectly okay to let go and let God.  (Even if we have to remind ourselves of it everyday.)


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

after the quake . . .

I am happy to say that my first weekend at Trinity was ah.may.zing. 
The uber-cool part about that has to do with the fact that I spent my first weekend at the Harrisburg YouthQuake with 418 middle school youth....30+ being from Trinity. 

On Friday evening as youth and their parents congregated at the church, I thought to myself, "Woah, self, what is going on here...all these parents are trusting that you are a responsible adult and you are ready to journey with this motley crew for the weekend. Can this really be happening?!?"

I asked two of the youth at the start if they would help me out.  I said, "I'm new here and here we are in a group of hundreds of youth that I've never met before.  Please let me know if I accidentally sit with the wrong church group.  You can point at me and laugh for a bit, but then, please come rescue me."  They said, okay...and kept a good eye on me all weekend.  I should add, that they said if I did end up in the wrong group that they would point and laugh just for a bit before coming to my rescue...

Luckily for me, the rest of the youth did the same.  I tried my hardest to learn names (thankfully there are several Katies) of both the youth and adults with us for the weekend.  I danced my heart out, ate like a middleschooler, prayed, and laughed so hard that I cried. 

One of the many highlights from the weekend included our first 'celebration' or big group gathering.  As the music was rockin, we began to sing and dance, and one youth looked at me and said, 'You look happy.' I smiled back and said, 'I am happy!'  And that's when I realized what was actually happening...God's love, joy and grace must have been emanating from me and I hadn't even noticed.  I was purely happy realizing I was singing and dancing and celebrating God's presence in the lives of every youth and adult in that room.  I though to myself, "Self, God has called you to this place.  God has gifted you to be present with youth in their faith journey.  God has prepared you for this place and brought you here."  As those thoughts swirled around in my head, I thought too, about my call to ordained ministry.  While I completely love spending time with youth, I feel called to preach and preside at Holy Communion.  I thought about how to share/transform/express the energy in this place back in the sanctuary at Trinity.  And not in a separate youth service sort of way....but in the presence of the services that are already in place. 

Sometimes I feel that I am gifted with energy and passion and I'm not afraid to use it...but in my previous call, even as people complemented me on that energy, when it wasn't being reciprocated (especially in the worship setting) I began to get drained...I think it was easy for the energy, for God's love and joy and grace to flow this past weekend, because it was flowing in and out of people all around me. 

My mom and I talked (when I was home a week ago) about passion and energy in worship.  It is definitely there, but how do you capture/encourage/express it in a way that welcomes others to do so as well? 

Food for thought, I guess....and speaking of food, I am quite looking forward to the Chocolate Festival on Saturday.  A great community event, with a side of chocolate.  As the cows would say at Chocolate World, "It's the milk chocolate!"