Life Gives Us Choices

As I type this newsletter, it’s Friday morning, and I’m watching the snow beautifully fall to the ground. I went outside earlier this morning and was amazed at how big the snowflakes are, and how soft the snow is as it hits the ground. It's an absolutely perfect snowball and snowman snow! And so now, I have a choice: do I sit by a fire to read and write, do I go sledding and have a snowball fight with the kids, do I go and shovel driveways of a few needy neighbors around the neighborhood? The options are endless.

Life gives us choices, often when our circumstances change. I’m not sure who originally said it, but I once read, “While you are surviving the storms, don’t forget to dance in the rain.” I like that. Whether it’s rain or snow, storms disrupt our original plans. Storms require us to batten down the hatches and try to keep everything from being blown away, but storms can also be enjoyed, whether you’re staring out the window or making a snow angel. Storms are not unusual, should be expected, and give us choices to make.

I know it is now 2024, but I’ve found myself still spending time looking back on the past year. If I’m honest with you all, our family and friends have weathered a few more storms than normal in the past year. It’s not all been fun, and yet when I ponder the outcomes of this year, I see depth, intimacy, and beauty. (Cue me humming…In every high and stormy gale, My anchor holds within the veil.)

As I reflect on this past year as a church, we’ve also weathered some of the inevitable storms that come during this life. And yet when I ponder the outcomes of our storms, I’m filled with amazement and gratitude. This past year we set Hope attendance, giving, and participation records. It’s been beautiful.

I’m grateful for a church that has made the choice to choose joy and generosity in the midst of the storm-filled world in which we live. I’m grateful for a church that would choose to make a snow angel in the cold instead of pouting that a change of plans has occurred. It’s an honor for me to pastor this rag-tag, joy-filled, snowball-making, Jesus-loving church!

So let’s keep it up! No one is more blessed than we are. In the midst of the storms, let’s keep making Jesus-honoring choices. Keep loving your family and friends and neighbors. Keep loving each other. Keep loving those that think they are unlovable. Keep being a light in a dark world! I am grateful to be a part of this church family, and I look forward to this coming year where we can be assured of more opportunities to keep dancing in the rain!
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus Christ, my righteousness…
…In every high and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil.

I’m off to shovel some neighbors’ driveways, then I’ll make a snowman with the kids, and don’t worry, I’ll end up by the fireplace with a book in hand.