Friday, May 13, 2011


Over at Faith Barista, Bonnie Gray is asking the question, “Is there something new that God is preparing you for?”

My first thought was, “At my age, I hope not.”

Actually, we’re always being prepared for something new.

Both of our children are grown and out of the nest, gainfully employed. Our oldest is married and the father of our one-year-old grandson (Cameron! Yes!). Our youngest graduated from college last year and is working in Kansas City. We’ve discovered that there’s something to be said for the empty nest.

Our expectations were that we would now have the freedom to do things we didn’t have before – perhaps some travel, short trips to places like Chicago, museums, and so forth. Things looked like they were going to be settling down. And some of what we expected is happening. But a lot is not.

Simple things upended the routine. That’s OK, of course, routines can be bad. But they all happened at the same time.

The local YMCA changed its Sunday hours, opening an hour earlier and closing two hours earlier. If you don’t go to church, it’s not a problem. If you do go to church, you have to rearrange your Sunday to accommodate the hours. A small thing, but done in the usual “clong people over the head with it” style that most organizations seem to employ when they’re going to make change that will likely upset and offend some people (“We’re the experts! Trust us!”).

Then our church, with no advance warning, cancelled adult Sunday School classes during the “third hour,” which is when we had ours. If you prefer a traditional worship service, you suddenly had no choices for an adult Sunday School class. We’ve now become part of the “show up for worship service and then leave” brigade. And then things related to work got a little unsettled. And some good friends are moving to Texas.

So we started looking back at the past several months and longer and realized that the familiar routine was unraveling. Some of the big things and some of the small things that anchored our lives were changing or disappearing.

What we don’t know yet is where this is leading. I’ll survive the change in hours at the Y; it’s not one of life’s major catastrophes. I worry about the church, though. It’s not intentional, but it seems like we’re being encouraged out the door.

I’ve been a Christian long enough to know that these are usually the signs of preparation. Preparation for what is the question. Nothing seems very clear. It’s not that things usually seem clear; it’s more that, right now, they seem particuarly muddled.

I wonder about St. Paul. The Bible is generally silent on what he did for the 12 years or so between his conversion and Barnabas showing up with a plan. Given his bias for action, he must have felt sorely tested to sit and wait. And sit and wait. And sit and wait some more. I suspect he studied the scriptures, prayed, and worked at making tents, suspecting that he was being prepared for something but not really knowing what.

So we wait. Pray. Continue our lives. Study. Play with the grandson. Write. Pray some more. Be patient.

To see more posts on “is there something new god is preparing you for,” please visit Faith Barista.

Photograph: Seagulls waiting for fog to lift by Andrew Schmidt via Public Domain Pictures. Used with permission.


Louise Gallagher said...

Nice post Glynn.

Like it's rhythm and its direction.


Bill (cycleguy) said...

Seems strange-sad at times but joyful at others-that the empty nest is not what we think. Ours is different in that it has been empty for many years. And yet, my job as a pastor, and our finances have dictated less freedom than we would like. That is now changing again with my wife's loss of job. But God is preparing us for something...I just don't know what. Then again, do i want to? I will trust Him. Good thoughts today Glynn.

Karen Kyle Ericson said...

Change is exciting, perplexing, and hard to figure out. But you'll be settled again one day, God's always got new adventures for us.

HisFireFly said...

I know right where you are Glynn, the waiting, and waiting, and knowing that we need to trust Him with ALL of the details, large and small.

He spoke to me today about changes in His church.. i will be blogging it in a bit...

Anonymous said...

Glynn, gotta admit that when I hovered over your link at Bonnie's and saw that your title was "Waiting," I avoided your post and clicked on another link instead. (I'm not the best at any kind of waiting.) But of course I came here eventually, and your words are good. I'm still learning that the not-knowing part of waiting is God-intended.

Anonymous said...

we are always being prepared...and that happens in the waiting as well as in the routine or in changes.

mr. rogers use to sing his song called "let's think of something to do while we're waiting." kind of a strange song, but, it does turn waiting into something else all together.

i was thinking that one of my daughters would be out of the house by now. but, she is back home. and that has taken some different kind of thinking for me to wait and consider my opinions on this after living with it for awhile. and a lot of my opinions have changed.

interesting post, glynn.

S. Etole said...

He is doing a new thing ... always.

Duane Scott said...

Great post! :)

"encouraged out the door"

I heard the term once, that we were switching to a social gospel in the world today. Maybe I'm wrong, but it seems like they might know what they're talking about.

Lisa notes... said...

I’m one year away from the empty nest. Definitely parts of it I’m looking forward to! Life is always changing...

Christine said...

I nearly laughed out loud at this line, because I resonate with it so much:

My first thought was, “At my age, I hope not.”

I also hadn't ever really thought about what Paul did while waiting (unknowingly) for Barnabas to show up with a plan. I wonder if he was grieving over what he had done before he met the Lord.

Anyway, I look forward to hearing what all this preparation is for.

H. Gillham said...

Yay! I can comment -- those Blogger issues were annoying. I get so impatient when technology takes a day off.


I too am in a similar place, Glynn. Friends moved. Church changes. Family members becoming adults.

I do a little of what you do.

I wish I had a grandson. :)

signed...bkm said...

It is always uneasy when change occurs as it always does and the familar routines of comfort are shaken up...Prayer is all that seems to comfort until a light shows a clear path to is forever changing...and that is as you know why faith is so vital...bkm