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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Bends in the Road

Bends in the road of life. How do you handle them? Me, I'm still figuring it out. I'd say for the most part that I handle them fairly well. But I am finding out that the bigger the turn, the more difficult the handling.

Case in point...For those of you that haven't heard, it seems as though the calling I sensed so strongly almost 17 years ago from God is being shifted in a slightly different direction. It looks as though I'll be going back to school - what's a guy supposed to do with just one Master's degree these days?! I am applying to the University of Dayton and their Master's program in Education and School Counseling. It's a two year program that will set me on track to be a licensed school counselor for K-12 grades. It would involve a move to Dayton, Ohio so that we could get some help from family with the kids as I hit the books full time (and hopefully a graduate assistant position) and Kelly gets a significant part-time or full-time job.

This is pretty big turn right now for me. I am almost done with the application process (apps are due in January) so that's good. But two emotional things are at work (and sometimes at war) in my heart and soul. One is that I have not had this much hope or excitement about future vocational opportunities in a long, long time. That is awesome! But two, there is a great sense of grief and loss as I move away from full-time vocational ministry. I truly have loved serving and leading God's church, his people (both near and far away from Him), and students for well over a decade. And with that comes a deep sadness almost like a relational breakup or separation. That's how my brother-in-law put it and it's right on. One day I'll be totally stoked about the new direction God is taking me and the next I'll be bumming big time about letting God, Kelly and the kids, and people I have pastored in the past down (even though in my head I know I haven't). It's nuts - talk about your roller coaster ride sometimes.

But you know what? I am so grateful that I am not alone in this. Jesus is leading me through it as I keep my eyes on Him because He is gracious, compassionate and His love endures forever. I've been keeping company with God by reading and praying through the Psalms over the past few months and Psalm 121 has been water to my soul. Here it is:

1 I lift up my eyes to the hills—
where does my help come from?

2 My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

3 He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;

4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

5 The LORD watches over you—
the LORD is your shade at your right hand;

6 the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.

7 The LORD will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;

8 the LORD will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.

That's how I'm managing this stretch of bends in the road. How about you?


Bret Rings said...

I love you Budz. Wish I could pull you around the bend to show what God has in store but you've got to paddle at your own pace. What ever it is I am confident that it will be what the Lord intends... may be a place to hang out, or a place to enjoy, or may be just another bend. May be its not so much the destination as it is the journey. Hang in there Budzo.


Dr. Matt Rings said...

Agree wholeheartedly with Bret... it's the journey. Everyday you depend upon the Lord for your joy, and nothing else, that is your soul's destination.
So much vying for competition, and so many distractions...but that is life, and just as God desires it to be, so we lean into him during the storms just a little harder.


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