Sunday, July 11, 2010


This morning in worship, I felt very unsettled.  I could feel myself preparing internally for the upcoming yearly meetings and strong emotions were going through me.  On Tuesday, I leave for Missoula, Montana for North Pacific Yearly Meeting annual session.  I return the following Monday, spend about a week at home, then go to Newberg, Oregon for Northwest Yearly Meeting annual session as the NPYM visitor.

I did the same thing last year and I don't know whether it was better to not know what I was getting myself into.  Yearly meetings may look like a vacation from the outside, but they are hard work.  Last year, I spent NPYM fighting with God about a message I felt led to give.  And on the last day of my time at NWYM, I wrote in my notes that my heart was broken and that this is "hard work, harder than anything else because it requires everything."

In addition to all of this, I will be moving to Salem a few days after I return from NWYM.  I have been fighting with God a lot about this move lately.  I felt a clear call to move to Salem and I have arranged my life around that call, but at times it feels like too much.  I don't want to give up my home, University Friends Meeting, or my friends here.  I am sad to leave my godson, who just started to be able to pronounce my name.  And I am not thrilled that even though my moving date is less than three weeks away, I still don't know where my new home will be.

Worship this morning gave me time to sit with all of this, and to cry.  Friends on either side of me gave me silent support as I grieved all that I am giving up as I attempt to follow God's leadings.  

I think I sometimes unintentionally give the impression that this faith stuff is easy for me.  It's not.  It is very, very hard.  But I committed to try to make God the center of my life, and I shouldn't be surprised when God moves in and disrupts all of the ideas I have about how my life should go.

A Bible story that I return to frequently is the story of Jacob wrestling with God.  This story speaks to me because that is how I often feel about my relationship with God: I am angry with God and we fight.  At some point, God usually breaks me, but I know God also blesses me.

I probably won't have a lot of time to post here in the next few weeks as I travel and pack.  I will be out doing my best to follow the Spirit, though, and I would appreciate it if you would keep me in your prayers.


  1. Ah wrestling, so much fun. =) For some reason this made me think of a phrase (advice?) I heard years and years ago.
    "God doesn't call the equiped, God equips the called."
    I find that to be very annoying at times, as you may too. I'm not sure if it means anything to you at this point in your journey.
    My hope and prayer for you is that you will be given more than you are giving up.

  2. Friend ashley

    You have written before about how change is hard for you and I absolutely hold you in the Light for all the changes you are going through.

    Has there been any big change in your thinking about the whys of moving back to Salem? Knowing what you will miss in Seattle is not alone a reason to rethink, but I do not think it is the worst thing sometimes to check whether one is just having normal nerves or something bigger.

    What is hardest for you about Yearly Meetings? I agree with you that they ARE work even when the work comes wrapped up with reunions with many dear faces. For me, besides a welter of personal stuff, travel to Missoula encapsulates some of the huge geographical challenges of being Quakers or anything else in this part of the country.

    But is there anything from your last year's work that you expect especially to be talking of in Missoula? Perhaps others connected with some of those projects can particularly hold you in the Light or offer other specific support.

  3. Ashley, How clearly I hear you. May the unfolding of the many events in your life over the next three weeks be as gentle as a flower opening. As I say that I am aware that to our human eyes the opening of a bud may look effortless yet to the flower it may not be without some surrender to a plan not of the flower's doing so perhaps it's not really without some wrestling or at least a little discomfort. I, too, am heading to yearly meeting (NCYM-C). May our prayers for one another be a source of comfort and rest.

  4. Ashley,

    I am glad to see the comments from the Friends who have replied. They speak my mind.

    Mostly, I am glad you are supported locally and that you are willing to share your own wrestling so openly here. It sounds as if you are doing your best to walk the razor's edge between being faithful to and remembering the call you received a while ago, while also experiencing with great authenticity the grief that comes when God calls us to a place we cannot know immediately--a call that takes us away from those who have nurtured and strengthened us up to this point.

    I also find Truth in RantWoman's caution, to continue to test the veracity of the call, even today. Be gentle with yourself.

    Blessings and safe travels,
    Liz Opp, The Good Raised Up

  5. Prayers for your journeys... Rita

  6. Thank you all for your comments! Sorry for the late response, but I just got back from NPYM last night.

    Aimee - The quote is actually quite helpful at the moment. I sometimes feel like if I am actually called to be a minister, I should have everything figured out, which I clearly don't! Thank you for your prayer.

    Rantwoman - I appreciate you holding me in the Light through these changes. I think it is mostly nerves, and me feeling rebellious. The one thing I knew I would be doing at NPYM was meeting with Coordinating Committee to talk about my time traveling in the ministry this past year. That went quite well. I wasn't sure whether I would feel led to give vocal ministry, but that is always a possibility. As it turned out, I did, and I appreciated Friends holding me as I prayed for the yearly meeting.

    Jan - What a lovely image! I hope that your time at NCYM-C was rich and filled with the Spirit.

    Liz - Yes, that is a very good description of how my life feels right now! I appreciate the reflecting back. And it is always good for me to be reminded to be gentle with myself!

    Rita - Thank you for your prayers. I'm looking forward to seeing you and all our other familiar faces in September.


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