Ten years ago today I began serving in full-time ministry at my first church – May 21, 2006. It was a whirwind of a week; I graduated college, signed papers to buy my first home, accepted my first real, full-time job, and moved straight from my dorm room into my new condo.
I served this church for a little over three years, and to this day my heart is warmed when I think about the people there and our ministry together. I was straight out of college, naive and ready to take on the world. I was confident in the education I had received in my field and yet I was totally insecure and unsure of myself.
I learned so much from the people there, from practical skills like tie-dying, to relational skills about the importance of being vulnerable and real with my youth. I can probably write a book about all my experiences there and all the people that inspired and who continue to inspire me. One voice in particular comes to mind, as I write this blog post as the beginning post of a series of posts leading up to my ordination. An incredible woman, strong, proud, highly intelligent – wrote in her reference for my psych eval for my ordination that I needed to learn to use my voice; that it seemed as if I were scared or unsure of myself and that she believed in my potential and prayed that I would find my voice and use it. What a gift those words have been to me over the years.
As I sit here ten years later, I’m seeing on my calendar countdown that it is 28 days until my ordination as a United Methodist Deacon in Full Connection. I started the process just as I was graduating college, just over ten years ago. It’s been a wonderful, frustrating, joyous, unbelievable journey, and I’m so humbled and grateful. Understanding that it’s not an award acceptance speech, I still feel so indebted to so many people who have had patience with me and took time to teach me; so many who have influenced my call and the ministry that I currently do. So in some small way, I hope to bring light to at least some of those people as I write this blog series: Countdown to Ordination.
I picked this song for the blog title because it was the graduation song for 2006, and as I read the lyrics it feels quite perfect. Though I’ve written about 200 pages for the Board of Ordained ministry on my call, theology, disciplined life, etc., I am continually being formed and shaped by the people I meet and the experiences I have. Each day is a blank-page adventure and an invitation to experience the fullness of life that God intended for us…and the rest is still unwritten.
No one else, no one else can speak the words on your lips.
Drench yourself in words unspoken; Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins, The rest is still unwritten – Unwritten, Natasha Bedingfield