I rejoice in the Lord greatly that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned for me, but had no opportunity to show it. Not that I am referring to being in need; for I have learned to be content with whatever I have. I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me…. And my God will fully satisfy every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen. (Philippians 4:10-13, 19-20)
As I read the above passage from today’s Daily Office Lectionary, my first thought was how many people I would love to say these words to – to the folks at my home parish, to my family, to my friends at school … the list goes on. Not that any have had to “revive” their concern for me – it has been never ending, but to let people know how grateful I am for all they do for me, just as Paul is thanking the church in Philippi for their care and concern and gifts to him. I do try to say it as often as I can.
Last weekend while I was at our diocesan council, I was standing in the reception area when a dear friend walked over and to say hello asked how I was. I went to answer and tears began to flow, she immediately responded with “what’s wrong” and I just as quickly said nothing, everything is great, I’m just feeling overwhelmed by God’s abundance. When I first found out about my assignment to St. John’s in McAllen, I have to admit, I was scared. I was going somewhere not only where I don’t know anyone but somewhere far from my family and my closest friends. Being alone frightens me, not that I feel emotionally alone – there’s the phone and the internet for keeping in touch with those I love on a daily basis – but being physically alone. As the end of school approaches it has dawned on me that for the first time in my life I will be living by myself. Yes, I’m almost 45 and I went from living at home to living in the dorm at college to being married to being a divorced single mom with my son to being re-married to being widowed and moving back into the dorm for my M.Div.
While at Council, I was able to meet a good bunch of folks from St. John’s and they were amazingly welcoming and warm and I know that I’ll feel at home there in no time at all. I am blessed and privileged to continue to learn how to lead a parish under the guidance of Fr. Jim. And, God placed another gift in my lap while there – a lovely little house that fits all my needs to make it my home, a home that I hope I will be able to make warm and welcoming to all who enter its doors. It’s funny how just having a picture of the place I will be living is helping me to wrap my head around living by myself. God knew what I needed to turn my fear into excitement, and he gave it in abundance.
Standing in the lobby of the conference center, I said to my friend, Judy, “I wonder if I’ll ever get used to the abundance of God’s answers.” She replied, “I hope not.” I hope not, as well.
And may God meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. Amen.