Over the past couple of years there has been a shifting taking place in my life. My church is in a season of transition. Our pastor, with longevity of service, retired a little over a year ago. Now we have an interim pastor. Soon we will be ready to call a new pastor. I am in the thick of it as a member of our church Transition Team whose purpose is to represent the church members while we prepare for a new pastor. It is quite a process; we wade through past, present, and future structures; actions, problems, and solutions; and accountability cross-hairs. When a pastor leaves, people are all over the place. Some people are sad and others are glad; some are mad, others are conflicted or confused. A few are greatly impacted. They feel abandoned. He was their spiritual father, and they loved him and depended on his counsel and care. Grief and loss is their experience. Pastoral change is not devoid of emotion. For me, I was in the conflicted group. I also felt a deep sadness, a form of grief that settled in. This period has been personally challenging in subtle and not so subtle ways.
Our “transition” pastor is part of Interim Pastor Ministries, an organization which comes alongside a church that is in the middle of a pastoral transition. IPM pastors give fresh insight and a wealth of knowledge combined with constructive guidance. As a group, we look at materials and structures, read and talk about the development of a healthy church body. Boy, have I learned a lot. We pray about all of it; past, present, and future; we pray on a personal level, in small groups, and as a corporate entity. We have pulled together. There is a side benefit found within all of this; our love for each other, in the church as a whole, is growing and blossoming.
I am more convinced than ever that love is the key to everything; on a personal, interpersonal, and corporate level (and even national and international). We won’t get far without love.
Late one evening I noticed a short post on social media. It stopped me cold. The young woman sounded like she was in trouble. Is she suicidal? I wondered. The tone of the brief comment was despondent.
JUST PLAIN SCARED: CONVERSATIONS WITH “EMILY” (1)
She and I were in a newly formed social media group but not yet acquainted. I sent her a brief private message. She acknowledged it but didn’t invite further discussion. I responded with a sentence to let her know that I was there and willing to listen.
It was a pretty rough December. It was one of those months I would not wish to repeat. It felt as if I was all alone, fighting an invisible enemy. I found myself crying crocodile tears on Christmas morning. There was no stopping the emotions. They had collected and squeezed the life out of me. I didn’t have time to recharge nor regroup.
Out of necessity, my Christmas plans to be with with my grandchildren and kids had derailed. Three separate issues, none of them easy (unrelated to family), were causing a drain on my emotional energy. And both my folks were in and out of hospitals and rehab centers throughout the holiday season. We celebrated Christmas at the rehab hospital by taking one parent from his facility to be with my other parent in her facility, which was unique and special in its own way and not a bad way to celebrate Christ’s birth truth be told.
I guess I had reason to be a bit off. But I didn’t like it, and I didn’t feel like myself. Everything seemed out of focus and gray. It felt as if a dark cloud was hovering over me and robbing me of my happiness, and I know where that leads.
The Daniel Fast is a partial fast based on plant foods. The foods allowed on the Daniel Fast consist of vegetables, fruits and grains. The beverage is water.
These foods are described in the biblical story found in Daniel 1, where the Jewish boys in Babylon requested vegetables and water, pulse, to eat in keeping with their spiritual beliefs in order to not defile their bodies. The term “pulse” refers to plant based foods.
A fast is not a diet. Fasting differs from weight loss diets in that it is undertaken for a spiritual purpose. A person may choose to fast for a variety of spiritual reasons. These spiritually-based goals may be individual (with a personal goal) or collectively (with a shared common purpose).