January first I changed jobs, something I thought I would never do again. In 2012 when I joined the ministry team at Hesston UMC I had no intentions of leaving, I intended to make that my church home. And I did. I started there as a single young woman in youth ministry. They saw me through dating, engagement, marriage, and my first child. To say that I fell in love with the congregation and the town is an understatement. There have been so many times over the past year that I have looked around and thought I am so blessed to raise my daughter here, I want her to always know these people, I am so blessed to call this my home. So when it became evident to my soul that God was turning the page on my Hesston chapter of life, I was hurt and angry. Not really angry at God but at the people in Hesston who were not holding on to me but were letting me go. I was mad because there is this incredible group of students that call Hesston UMC home and they have challenged me, encouraged me, and enriched my soul in so many ways over the past 5 years. The current group of high schoolers are so near and dear to my heart and my husbands that even editing my resume to move on was heartbreaking and done through so many tears. The idea of not raising Adah to be a Swather was so overwhelming at times I couldn't help but break down. How was it that I was so loudly called to go to Hesston and yet when it came time to leave my heart wasn't ready to go? The past couple of months I have lived in between being excited about what God is leading me to and so incredibly sad that all I can do is cry.
Well I have been in Derby now for 20 days. This has flown by, so fast. The first week I would drive down and be incredibly excited to be here and have an awesome day and then I would drive home and by the time I got back to Hesston the tears were flowing and the heartache was all I could see again. That first week I had to go back to the church in Hesston to a dinner so the church could have a chance to tell me bye. This was the most awkward, rewarding, heartbreaking thing I have ever done. I was angry with this congregation for not fighting for me, and then someone said, "I'm mad at you for leaving," I wanted to scream, "YOU'RE MAD????" Then I turned around and someone would embrace me in tears with a thank you and you're such a blessing and I bit my tongue and my cheeks because I was NOT going to cry again. Then I turned around again as Adah giggled and ran around chasing and playing with the kids and youth that have become her normal. And I would let out a sigh through tear filled eyes, and make eye contact with my husband who gave a reassuring hand squeeze, and we pushed through the night. I got home, put Adah to bed, and then I cried. I mean I wept. My soul screamed out to God in pain and anger and sadness. Then I fell asleep and woke up the next day basically a shell of who I have been and I went to a youth worker meeting. By the time I got home, I was breaking down again. But somewhere in all the tears on Wednesday and Thursday, I went from being the Youth & Discipleship Minister at Hesston UMC to being the Director of Youth Ministries at Woodlawn UMC in Derby.
I never wanted to leave, but I am so incredibly happy to be here. Here in Derby I have found a new home for my wounded soul. I have healed and am already falling in love with this church and the souls who call it home. I am greeted each day with excited faces to see what God is going to do with me and the youth ministry here. Adah is one, she will fall in love with the people here faster than I am, and her little soul will be nurtured here in ways that Hesston couldn't provide. Through all of this experience (so this school year) there is one verse that has become my new mantra.
"We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure." - Hebrews 6:19a
I am forever grateful for my time in Hesston and all the beautiful souls that will always be near and dear to my heart. I am also thankful to them for letting me go and find a new home. I am thankful for Derby for welcoming me in so openly and kindly that part of me feels like I have always been here. I'm so excited for the things that God is doing here.
Our lives here on Earth may always be changing but no matter what Jesus is here as our anchor holding us in place, through the winds and rains and the waves we can't see past. We have to remember that an anchor does it's best work when it is under the water where we cannot see it. If you find yourself today in the middle of a storm hold on, if your hope is in the Lord and your Faith is in Him then your anchor is right where it needs to be. Even if you can't see past the waves, God can!
Through All of It - Colton Dixon
I Will Rise - Chris Tomlin
As long as Jesus is my anchor, it will always be well with my soul! How goes it with Your soul?