Joy: A Celebration
-Rev Melissa Fain-
4 Be glad in the Lord always! Again I say, be glad! 5 Let your gentleness show in your treatment of all people. The Lord is near. 6 Don’t be anxious about anything; rather, bring up all of your requests to God in your prayers and petitions, along with giving thanks. 7 Then the peace of God that exceeds all understanding will keep your hearts and minds safe in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:4-7 CEB
My husband was one of the very first art teachers in Paulding county. When the county made that fateful decision, he had just finished his art education degree. Everything just fell into place.
Let me gush on McGarity Elementary school for a moment. As a parent of alumni and current children, and the spouse of a teacher, there is something special about that school. It's almost like a family. They know me, and not because they must, but because they choose to. These are teachers that understand elementary school kids and give so much of themselves. I love them all.
Then he had to give it up.
I moved to Kentucky to take my ministerial job, and he let go of such an amazing job with amazing people to support me. When everything fell apart, I couldn't help but realize the epic loss. Now we were going back, and that place was lost. But!
Almost like clockwork the job opened up just as we were returning. Was it fate? He applied.
He didn't get it,
But, the previous principle was looking for an art teacher for her school. He applied and was chosen.
Our whole family knew we were in a "meantime" station in life. We weren't doing anything for good. We were getting by. Deep down we still knew he was called to that school. When the job opened up again a few years later we were all anxious. What would happen if it didn't happen twice?
He got the job!
Oh the celebration! Joy filled our home! I can't speak to my husband's welcome, but I can speak to mine. When I walked back into the school, people hugged me! They were glad to see me! They expressed their joy in having him back. I just knew something was right. A piece was replaced. Not everything was a broken mess anymore.
I told my husband I knew exactly what our ornament should be. I got out my baking clay and crafted a Christmas crayon. I asked him to write out the year. True celebratory joy.
I'm not going to promise if you pray all your dreams will come true. That's not how prayer works. Sometimes we pray for things that are not good for us, and thank God doesn't always give us what we ask for. I will say, since coming home, I've prayed for God to lead us on the right path. I prayed for a journey, not a specific destination. When one of those journeying points was a form of restoration, we celebrated.
I think my personal journey is learning God is not asking me to journey alone. The story of God is the story of a family. The moment I said "I do," his journey and mine became our journey. His celebration is our celebration. We are ministers because of those around us, not in spite of them. Sometimes our family is through marriage or blood, and sometimes it's picked up through friends and colleagues. We journey together. My journey is our journey.
Let us pray:
With peace that exceeds all understanding, keep our hearts and minds on you, oh Lord. Amen.