Another year has come and gone. (That's kind of a lame way to start, isn't it?) It seems like the older I get the faster the years seem to pass, and 2009 was no exception. I've heard that the only thing that remains constant is change, and that has certainly been true this year.
As the year opened, Jan and I began going to a house church on Sunday evenings. The friend who I was going to help plant a church invited us to join him one night. There were about four or five couples there, as well as some children. We enjoyed the fellowship and continued to go every week. As time went on, my friend and his family never came back. Other folks came and went, and through this fellowship we began to help at a local camp that was getting started that summer. Now the house church has faded away, as an organized gathering, but we still get together with the host couple on a regular basis, sharing food, discussing spiritual things (sometimes), and serving some of the less fortunate together.
In June, we went out to California to visit Jennie. Josh had already driven out there, and he was out tour guide during the day. We saw where Jennie works and even "helped" during the filming of a short film. When we returned home, I finished my duties at the church we had been a part of for fourteen years, and we began to look around for a community of faith that would better fit what we thought "church" should be. At the same time the discussion about planting a church came up again, and within a couple of months, St. Thomas Community Church came into existence, meeting in a local bagel shop on Sunday mornings. God is working in our little community as we gather to explore God's story and our part in it, and how we can follow Jesus in our day-to-day.
As the summer went on, the school where Jan was teaching closed. As you well know, this is not a good time to be looking for work. Jan ended up getting a part-time position in an assisted living facility. God has continued to be faithful and provide for us, although things certainly are tighter.
My duties at the school where I work changed again. I'm now in a class for emotionally disabled students. It is more challenging than what I was doing before, and I realize more and more how dependent I am on God's grace. I'm still coaching basketball, and that is a highlight in my day.
In October, Jan's mom went to be with Jesus. All of the family came in during the days before she passed, and it was good to see folks we hadn't seen in a couple of years. It has not been an easy holiday season for us.
As I look back on the past year, I can see many things God taught me. Things about trusting him, about grace, about living in the moment. A couple of my paradigms have shifted, and a couple have been completely dismantled. (Someday, I'll write a post about those things) I think the biggest change is that I have learned even more that my schedule, and my plans, are not mine. I need to hold everything with an open hand, and allow the Father to do what he sees needs to be done. So, as one year ends and another begins, I continue to try and follow Jesus on this winding road he has called me to.
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