Mixed Feelings

two-businessmen-shaking-hands-photo-FIt has been a really weird two weeks.  Two weeks ago tomorrow I announced my resignation as a pastor from Lord of Life Lutheran Church to take a new call as the senior pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church in Owatonna.  So the emotional whirlwind from that announcement is swirling.

I have been overwhelmed and touched, sometimes to the point of tears, by the response.  People are so glad for our family, and tell me that they are so sad at the same time.  This mirrors my thoughts.

I am excited about the possibilities.  The congregation I am stepping into is strong, and is poised to do great ministry.  I really believe that.  But the congregation I’m stepping out of, where I have served for almost 27 years, is a tremendous place.  It formed me as a pastor.  And the colleagues I leave behind are more than co-workers; they are friends.

So I have heard (about a thousand times) the word “congratulations!”  and I know exactly what these people mean.  And I am grateful.  But I am also grieving the slow change that will unfold over the next six weeks.  I’ve never experienced this strong a blend of feelings.  Because when I hear the word “congratulations!” sometimes I will smile and my eyes will light up.  Other times, I will smile, but my eyes might water just a bit.

I believe this is the Holy Spirit working within me; preparing my heart for change.

Like the transition we make from Good Friday to Easter, I’m looking forward to the time when I look ahead with excitement and back with thankfulness; when grief gives way to joy.

It will come.  I have faith.


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