Reflections From The Dining Room Table: First Hand Experiential Learning

Well, here we go again.  I was just getting through the transition back from Germany and now I am facing another one which may be the biggest yet.  I seem to be continually immersed in a personal transition process that is teaching me a great deal.

It was 2007 when I began  Pivot Point Ministries.  The focus of the  ministry was and is “to support those in transition.”    God’s call was to be with people as they face pivot points in life, to walk with them as they moved from one place to another, and to help them see the presence of a loving God along the way.

God was not going to let me get away with this being solely an academic or intellectual experience.  I have come to realize that I can read all the books and articles I want, but that in order to do what God was calling me to do, I had to live it as well.  Thus began a God-directed experiential learning process that goes on even today.

Since starting Pivot Point Ministries, I have been in one transition after another.  In the past six years, I have come to realize that God does not cause the transitions,  but God walks with me and helps me gain meaning from the transitions.  I have had major health transitions, family transitions, cultural transitions, career transitions, relational transitions, and on it goes.  Yes, and at times I have felt myself to be in transition overload.

I have learned that transitions are emotionally and physically draining.  God gives the strength for each step, but transitions are deep and require resilience. I have learned that when going through transition, it is very important to engage in self care.  Self care involves proper diet, getting plenty of rest, exercising on a regular basis, meditation, and most important, being attentive to the presence of God in the Word and Sacraments.  Self care involves prayerful reflection as one ruminates on the Word of God, listening to God’s voice speak through the text and through God’s people.  I have learned the importance of having a trusting team of sisters and brothers in Christ who ask the hard questions and who speak the truth in love.

The latest transition began for me on Friday, November 8, when I received official confirmation of a diagnosis of cancer.  I felt like I had been flattened against a wall and punched in the gut.  Millions of others have  received this diagnosis, but now it was mine.  Surgery was scheduled for the next Wednesday.  In one brief moment, everything changed.  In a human sense, the future is quite uncertain.  As one in whom God lives, the future is quite certain.

In a note to some friends, I wrote that I was reminded of the words of Martin Luther, “Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.”  As I told them, I didn’t plant the tree that day, but I did make some pretty good apple crisp.

So, those who know me and have been following my blogs, have suggested that I blog on this latest experience with transition as well.  I don’t want to make it the subject of every blog that I write, but I think it will be good for me to write about it.  Hopefully it will be a blessing to those who read it. 

Right now, I have incredible peace.  For someone who  is often nervous, it is a blessing to have this peace.   There may be a fine line between denial and acceptance – one that leads to true peace and one that leads to a false peace.  I will be attentive to discern which is which. Thus far, I have had  virtually every emotion known to humankind, but when all is said and done, God is in God’s heavens and one is called to rest in that assurance.

I love this prayer, and, once again, it applies:

Lord God, You have called Your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown. Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go, but only that Your hand is leading us and Your love supporting us. Through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

That is all for now…………

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