"Part of the journey is the end." Tony Stark speaks into the broken, war-torn helmet of his Iron Man suit as he floats through space on the Guardians ship, the Benatar, early in the film. At this moment, ten years of investment, time, energy, and character development bring such a crushing sequence of emotion to the opening of Avengers: Endgame.
Ironically, Tony's words are entirely accurate. Part of the journey is the end. And as such, all good things must come to an end.
In September of 2011, I was hired at Minooka Bible Church and began an eight-year journey through ministry as the Children's Pastor for four years, and in the last four years, I've been the Junior High Pastor. Each of these roles inside MBC has fantastic stories of encouragement, hope, restoration, and laughter. There have been hardships and challenges along the way, true, but the longevity of service has brought me to a place where I have seen more of God's goodness at work than not.
In March of 2019, through prayer and supplication, Joy and I agreed that it was time to accept where God had been leading us for the last several years in our hearts. It was time to say goodbye to Minooka Bible Church and enter this new frontier before us. So I began to talk with our Lead Pastor, the Deacon board, and in June of 2019, I officially presented to the church, that I would be leaving. It was time to step out in faith.
Stepping out in faith requires nothing more than trusting God with what is in front of you. Sometimes, you have the luxury of seeing the route ahead like it's marked out on a map. Other times, you have very little of the route lit before you, and it feels like you're stepping into the darkness with just a bit of the way known.
I wish I could say I know the plan, that I know with complete certainty that it will all work out in the end. The truth, however, is that I feel like I can only see a few feet in front of me. I am terrified and excited about where God is leading, but I also know that he knows what I don't. So I trust him with what comes next.
What's coming next?
Well, I am hopeful that in some ways, the journey continues with education. I love teaching, learning, and exploring new ideas as a creative communicator. Ideally, I will continue to pursue my education in English/Creative Writing, so I can then teach in a University and work in more creative fields than before. I have no guarantees of this working out exactly as I envision, but I am working hard on the necessary prep work to gain entry into several schools I would like to attend.
One of my favorite verses in scripture comes from 1 Thessalonians 5:24, "Faithful is he who has called you, and so shall he make it come to pass."
This verse is written in ink on my arm, where it's promptly been a reminder for over ten years of God's faithfulness. He is faithful to bring you where he wants you as it seems fit for your life, often right as we need it, and when we least expect it. So I will continue to trust in God's faithfulness.
Part of the journey is the end, and while one part of my journey is coming to a close at MBC, another one is just beginning. The unknown, the mystery, the faith steps are all a part of the changes.
The rock theologian David Bowie sang, "Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes. Turn and face the strange."
There is something wildly strange about what I am doing; there are no two ways about it. I am leaving something so good, so safe and comfortable, and I am entering the strange unknown.
So I am going to lean into the strange, lean into the wild, and lean into God as I enter into what's next.