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Ignite the Journey: Hope

Ignite the Journey Introduction

As the pages of the new year sit before us, fresh and untouched, we have the opportunity to embark on a journey of faith, a journey of intentional living. This journey looks different for each one of us. Even so, regardless of the path we are taking through life, through the new year, God is coming along with us. 


God shows up for each one of us in a way that is unique to us. God speaks our language, and allows us to draw near to God at the deepest places within ourselves, if we just take the time to pause and notice. That’s pretty amazing! 


For the next few weeks we will be sharing the journey of faith from the perspective of a variety of different people. These writers, many of whom are or have been regulars for The Dented Fender blog, will share the testimonies of their faith from vastly different perspectives.


Not only will we be sharing our call to faith, we will also be telling how we have been able to live out that faith in our day to day lives. It’s pretty humbling to realize that each and every one of us is called to serve in the name of God as we walk through the challenges and joys of life. 


We hope that you will be able to articulate God’s call on your life as you read about the many ways God has spoken to others. And our prayer for you, as your call comes into focus, is that you will be able to actively live out your faith, share it with others and see your faith grow.  

-Blessings to you all, Jenny Seylar, Blog Editor and The DF Team





I love to travel, and while choosing a destination is exciting, the journey towards getting there is where the real fun is. Planning the plane ride or route to travel by car lends well toward heading out on journeys. Exploring new possibilities is so worth the effort!


I guess that is why when God called me to serve, I said, "Yes!" Still, all these years later, I am not sure I have actually arrived at the destination God had in mind. While I can easily pinpoint my call to ministry (it was at an administrative council meeting at my church), I am sure it started much earlier in my life in less tangible ways.


My mother likes to share the story of how I woke up early every Sunday to go to church. I was often up and dressed, ready to go long before the rest of the family. One Sunday morning, at the young age of 3, I set out on my own to go to church. When mom discovered I was missing, of course she panicked. Relief came when I returned home, realizing I did not have my quarter for the offering plate. 


Growing up I regularly attended worship services, Sunday school, and youth group. This strong foundation continued as I went away to college, always returning in the summers to my home church to lead Vacation Bible School. I guess that’s why I chose to become a teacher. Loving kids, and serving others is a central part of my DNA.


So back to the administrative council meeting…. I believe this moment began the transformation for me from classroom teacher to serving as a pastor in the local church. It was a slow process, but a meaningful journey. Coursework at the seminary, while concurrently serving in the local church, provided the foundation for preaching and teaching in the church. This education served me well as I lead churches as a pastor.


Yet it was the journey and not the destination that offered the richest meaning for me. Even as I served God working through the liturgical calendar of Christmas, Lent, Easter, and summer ministries, it seemed I continued to discern God’s call for my life, and how that might look. 


The journey eventually led me to hospital chaplaincy. While that is where I am currently living out my faith and call, I also know it is not the final destination. I continue to seek my spiritual purpose for this life. 


There have been many bumps and detours along the way.  Relocating the family. My husband’s unexpected death. Health concerns of family, friends, and church folks. Yet through it all, God has been with me showing me the HOPE that still exists wherever I am on this journey. 


The current condition of things feels like I am on ever-shifting sand. Many changes permeate my work as a chaplain. The national and global political climate is toxic. The earth is hurting as resources are being taken for granted. 


I often wonder where I fit into this climate of unrest. It’s far too easy to get bogged down by the troubles of the world, both locally and beyond. Then I pause, pray, listen and wait. And as I allow God to speak into the silence, God’s message for me is there is always HOPE.


HOPE is such a simple word, yet it evokes so many images for me. As uncertainty swirls around me, HOPE is what sustains me. HOPE in the never-ending presence of God. HOPE is the glimmer of light shining through the darkest of times. HOPE sends people into my life at just the right time to come alongside me offering assistance on the journey. 


Perhaps my ultimate role in God’s kingdom is to be the HOPE bringer. The one who provides comfort and assistance for others. One who seeks to lessen the suffering of a hurting world. That suits me well, I think. It's a journey worth taking!




FOR FURTHER THOUGHT

We invite you to set the intention of reflecting on these blogs as you ignite YOUR journey of faith. Perhaps it is time to begin journaling. Or maybe you prefer index cards or sticky notes with key thoughts to guide you along your journey. Is there notes app on your phone that would serve you well to jot down your thoughts, hopes, dreams and prayers? Whatever will help you be more intentional in your time with God, please give it a try.


Questions for your quiet time with God:

Where are you in your journey of faith? How does God impact your day to day living?  In what ways does it add meaning to your life?


What brings you HOPE amid all the challenges you might be facing? 


How can you share HOPE with others in your life?


PRAYER

God of Hope, thank You for always showing up for me when I need You. Please continue to guide my thoughts and actions, that they will be a reflection of Your amazing care and love. Help me to keep to my intention of looking for the hope and love that permeates even the darkest places in my life. I love You, Lord. Amen.



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