It is now roughly two weeks until I will be throwing my belongings into a U-Haul trailer and haulin' it to North Battleford Saskatchewan, where I will be soon settling in as the Associate Pastor (or as I like to call it, the Ass. Pastor) of the Alliance Church there. This move comes with mixed emotions, sort of. If I had been asked to make such a decision and go there 6 months ago, the decision would have been packaged with much greater sadness and difficulty but at this point in time I feel the draw and release of one of those moments in life that I believe God grants us with a little more peace than we might otherwise feel.
I'm rambled on with my musings of life, love, and the American Way (what? that's not right). Ok about life and godliness, that I certainly have expressed my innermost thoughts on. At this point, I'm rediscovering how much I despise moving, not everything that goes with it, just the physical act of moving belongings from one place to another, it's annoying. I don't enjoy packing in the least, usually because for me that entails a lot of cleaning up of piles of paper that I've strategically hidden so that I don't have deal with them right away. However, today proved to be a positive experience in packing as I shuffled through some papers and cards I found $30 that I thought I had long spent on something, but much to my surprise I became $30 richer again today.
There is, however, certain difficult emotions to wade through as one packs up and prepares for a new adventure. I feel it's the right time for me to go, mainly because I feel God's calling me elsewhere, but my time is coming to a close on my life in Calgary, at least for this stage, I'm not the one to say whether or not I'll end up back here again. It's interesting how life changes, relationships change, but there are certainly some people you know you will always remain in contact with and keep up that friendship built so long ago. For me there are a few from before I reached my Bible college years that I know I will remain in contact with and I certainly look forward to hearing the stories of their adventures. Jon and Fran are two of those people, although we don't work extremely hard and regular contact, whenever we cross paths there's a great story of life to be shared. Jon and myself go back a long time, to early childhood, though our friendship didn't grow to any depth until our high school years. Steve is another that I will remain good friends with, I'm sure for quite some time, although across a country from each other, we still throw each other the occasional phone call or e-mail of encouragement and news.
Matt and Mike are two others who have more recently (by more recently I mean since I started college) found themselves at a depth of friendship with me, and I expect that the three of us will maintain our wildly hilarious and very "iron sharpens iron" sort of relationships for our lifetimes.
I feel that period of my life coming to a close, I know I will continue grow relationships with people that will be godly and beneficial and long lasting, but there's something about those friendships, especially those of the same sex, that you make in your highly formative college years that remains for a long time. The most interesting part is that I can think of numerous stories of betrayal or "dirtbaggin'" as we've affectionately named it, and stories of great laughs all mixed in with some major growth experiences with those guys. That's something to hold on to. I won't go into any details of those stories, I'm sure that those who are privy to my thoughts will gather at least a couple of those anecdotes and find some humour in them again.
I feel God is preparing me for this next step in life and in service to Him. He has wildly expanded my perception of Himself over the last short time and has grown my heart for ministry and passion for life ever more than I've experienced.
The sovereignty of God completely astounds me as I recall the hills and valleys of life. Take away one or the other and life is boring, or so I'm learning. We make mistakes and although redemption lies in wait for us from the Father himself, we still experience the fallenness and the consequence of this world. Newton's laws of physics can come into play in this idea, at least the one that speaks of every action having an equal and opposite reaction. If we look at that in a different light we can see how that may ring true on some levels in life itself. Truth or consequence it could be called. The fact is, what we do directly affects what happens later on. It may take years, it may only take seconds, but we feel the consequences of our actions, whether good or bad.
The much brighter side of this story is that God does redeem. He takes those horrible situations that we are either placed in or place ourselves in and He uses them for His glory and sometimes our own. Not to say that's a vain glory for us, that's a God-given glory handed to us from the Father. Every good and perfect gift is from above, don't forget that. I'm learning to see many things as gifts from the Father. Life, love, relationship, breath, to name a few, all come from the Creator of everything. It is through our twisted eyes from our fallen nature that skews the good in those things and causes us pain at times. Life was not meant to end, love was not meant to hurt, relationship was not meant to destroy, these were all meant for the good and enjoyment of His creation. Wow does it take a lot for someone like me to realize that. My heart is stubborn, I know that well, and unfortunately probably not as well as I will know it in 25 years. I, like Jacob, wrestle with God on many occasions, and God wins, every time and I usually walk away with a "limp" or a scar to prove it. But what do those scars do for me? They soften that stubbornness a little for the next time I decide to go head to head with God. It can be likened to a chi-hua-hua trying to pick a fight with an elephant, it's a given who'll come out on top, but I tend to jump in the ring and give it a go anyway.
With all these things occuring in a very short period of time for me recently, I know I am no where near being on the other side of that valley, but the worst of the trip is over, at least until I reach the top of the hill and see the vast mountain ranges that lie ahead of me.
God prepares us for adventure, He prepares us for the right battles that He knows we're going to be entering, and he's right there to remove the arrows and sear the wounds that we endure in the midst of those battles. He does this because He loves us, and He wants us to join in to fight the greater battle, for the hearts of the world. The battle has been won, but the war is far from over because the opposition isn't going down without a fight, so I'm suiting up and running into the crowd with armour on and sword ready.
The things that have happened in recent days have played major roles in bringing me to where I am now, God has used certain people and certain events to humble me and to ready me for the next part. And in the rest of the night, I will have people to recline and relate with, that I've been fighting alongside in the same war.
So the people that I am leaving behind, they will hold a place in my heart and mind, I will remember the days of my time here in Calgary, and I will look fondly on those people who have played a part in my life's story and have helped me (more than they know) turn to God and become more of the man that God is making me to be. But I won't live in one place while my heart still waits in another. I will carry on and I will maintain the relationships I hold here because they have all meant something to me, but my heart will lie where my Father is, and the rest will remain as an ally to a greater cause.