It’s been awhile since I have sat down at my old farm table to reflect on all the beautiful God moments I stumble upon in my daily walk as an accidental country pastor.
It’s been awhile because since taking a giant leap of faith last fall to move back home to Vermont—without a job and no clear sense of what God was calling me to do—I have been on a spiritual rollercoaster of sorts, strapped in for a ride that would take me slowly up and up and up to dizzying views of what can be only to have that view blurred by the sickening descent down to the realities of how exactly will my life play out.
Up and down. Down and up. Left turn. Right turn. Stop. Wait. Proceed. Not now. Go.
God, what are you up to?
I found myself taking refuge in my garden, quilting (my husband is wondering just how many quilts we need!) and going on daily prayer walks. I found myself being put in a place of retreat, withdrawing from not only the world, but myself. I found myself not eager to write, for I didn’t want to hear what it was my heart and soul was saying. The words—harsh or honest or inspiring and comforting—it didn’t matter, I just wanted all noise to be silenced.
As for my prayers on those solitary walks on overgrown paths of wildflowers, cat tails and a rabbit or two, they were not eloquent nor were they poetically rich with meaning. They were simplicity at its best. The prayers were just one name I shouted in my heart repeatedly. A name of a friend I couldn’t find anymore; a friend I felt I had lost.
“God. God. God…”
Early morning August 1. I sat in the vintage Queen Anne wing chair (made vintage by the claws of my cats) feeling anxious. I had one more dentist appointment scheduled to finally put an end to the summer-long saga of my root canal. I wasn’t anxious, though, of the crown I was about to get. If anything, that would be a piece of cake. I was anxious because the first time since leaping in faith into the unknown, I had no work lined up for the month. No freelance stories due. No preaching gigs. I was feeling lost. I was scared.
God, what are you up to?
I was about to do what I do best. Jump into something out of fear without thinking it through. I was going to see what part-time retail jobs were available in the nearest town to our little fledgling farm.
My husband, though, talked me out of it throwing back words I have thrown at him many times.
“Wait. Be still. Trust God.”
And so, I did.
I continued my search for my friend only to discover—once again—that God was always right there with me. God was never lost in my life. I was lost from God. My anxiousness to know the future and my fear of it, stole me away from my faithful friend.
I’m back now. Back at my farm table writing. I’m still a wee bit hesitant as to what my heart and soul will say to me in the words that will be pieced together into sentences. But this I know.
The God moments—those filled with divine light and those shrouded in holy darkness—are just too beautiful not to embrace, celebrate and share.
I’m back. The calendar is full, praise God. But beyond the scheduled days is a lesson I hope never to forget. That is, never fear and be anxious when life seems empty. Just wait. Be still. Retreat a little if you must. And trust with all your might. God is at work.
On August 21, I was named the new interim editor of my denomination’s magazine, Presbyterians Today. Great is God’s faithfulness for my prayer since coming home to Vermont was to return to my editorial roots, while still serving God. And so, I am working in my 18th century home here in Vermont, sharing the amazing ways God is at work in our congregations and communities. I also continue to preach in the rural churches in the area. Thank you all for being on this journey with me.
The only sad news to report is that I might have to put getting goats on hold. Not enough time for now.
Pastor Donna – you will be great at your new endeavor. Looking forward to a visit from you soon!
Hello Pastor Donna! We’re so glad your back! Love to read your writings / sermons.
Our Grandson started pre-k, so since I’m out of a babysitting gig, I’ve reentered the work force working part time at the Rising Sun high school as a custodian (still sewing too) and Keith is driving a dump truck.
Congratulations for you on your new job! Ahh to be still and know….
Blessings to you all…I think tonight I am going to make that cheeseburger soup that I so very much enjoyed the last time we broke bread together. 🙂
Missed you. The new job sounds great for you. Marlene Quinn
Sent from my iPhone
Thank you, Marlene! The videos from Stone Well Farm will be returning soon too…I hope. Lots on my plate.
And if you have any interesting stories from the lives of Presbyterians, let me know. Lining up the next few issues.
Blessings to you!