Change – LOL

Change – LOL; July 29, 2020

Mystery. Wonder. Connections. Play. Jesus. ODC. Creativity. Feminist. Worship. Questions. Laughter.

I’m sure you have some amazing friends but you know the one or two that really shine? The select few that you cannot believe you were lucky enough to meet? Today I’m celebrating a friend like that.

This woman rolled into my life about 9 years ago when my boys were little. She was the new Director of Children’s Ministry at church and came in with a bang. At first I remember hearing how amazing she was and how lucky we were to get her! She came with a wonderful reputation. And then she started sending email to the families and we thought “Good Lord! What is she doing?” but it didn’t take long for me to understand that she had joy and energy oozing out of her being and she was so excited to serve our children and us. It was the grace and the wind of the Spirit blowing through.

The creativity and energy she shared with and for the children was spectacular. I was a Sunday School teacher at the time and learned so much about relating to the kids and meeting them where they were. She loved all kiddos, but especially embraced the child who could not sit still, who could not stop talking, who could not really focus on the lesson. (One or more of these kids might have been mine! Ssshhh.) She taught us (the teachers) that the simple lessons are the best. That the wonder and mystery of God and the love of Jesus was what we wanted to impart. It’s okay if they didn’t memorize scripture versus or sit still the whole time. When they left did they feel loved? Did they make a connection? She taught us that it is in relationship where each of us find God.

She led these fabulous local and distant trips with the older elementary kids, one of which was called Outdoor Challenge (ODC). My younger son, Sam, was able to to go twice. On this trip the kids and leaders go hiking, white water rafting, caving, rappelling, high ropes coursing, biking and camping for 7 days. Seven days of wonder in God’s creation, enjoying adventure, enjoying each other, pushing their limits, overcoming fears, building confidence. “That was the best trip of my life, Mom!” Sam told me when they got home. It was definitely the best trip for my kid (Mr. High Energy). Could a mom ask for anything more than to see her child excited, grateful, happy and confident? My friend said great things about him, but what mattered most to me was the relationships he made with her and the other campers. He met God with them and through them. What a gift!

I ended up serving on the Session (volunteer governing body of the church). It was a new experience for me and we were in a difficult chapter of our church. One of my assignments was to be the liaison between the church and my friend (luckily this was not the difficult thing our church was dealing with) because she had enrolled in seminary to finish her ministerial education to become ordained and our church had sponsored her enrollment (or something like that – details, shmetails).  We met for coffee or lunch every few months and it was such a treat! This women’s joy and struggle and calling was so evident (still is). We compared stories about parenting tweens and teens, about faith, about feminism, about politics, and confided in each other accordingly. She ended up with a cancer diagnosis that did not stop her, and later Don received his diagnosis and she was there for me (and us). What was a volunteer assignment became a special friendship for me.

And now the pandemic is here and the church has had to tighten the belt, resulting in a few lay-offs that included my friend. She served our church so beautifully for 9 years and now has to move on. I cannot imagine life at our church without  her, although she has reminded me that we will be fine. (I know we will.) When she told me the news of her departure, she said she woke up the day after getting the news and knew she would be okay. I understand this is a difficult time and difficult decisions have to be made (been there, done that, still doing it). But it’s hard to face this kind of change.

Tonight we gave her a LOL (Love on Lynn) Zoom send-off since we could not gather in person. I’m only one of many people who love and cherish her. But I am so blessed by this woman and her friendship and grateful for how our paths have crossed. Praying they continue to cross some way, some how.

This is us Loving on Lynn.

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