A Year in Retrospect – Arizona, Year 1, almost

Perhaps I am feeling introspective because a friend from another period in life was passing through as she prepares to move overseas and I wanted to see her before I lost that chance for some time. We talked about life, and where old friends are now, and how quickly time moves.

It was good.

As I was driving home, I listened to Andrew Peterson and delighted in the early morning sunlight dancing through the tall pines on the southern end of the Colorado Plateau.

Five years ago, July 6 (I think, it may have been the 7th or the 5th) was my ordination as a presbyter. It’s hard to believe that five years have gone by already. If you had told me then that I would be delighting in learning to call Arizona home, my reaction would have been laughter. If you told me I would live in California, and North Carolina, I would have been doubtful.

Yet, here I am, and my heart is glad.

I told my friend that I was so thankful that my biotech career had tanked. Looking back, I had stopped laughing, the sweetness to life was gone. I laugh now. I laugh loudly, probably obnoxiously at times and life is sweet.

I remember, a little over a year ago, thinking, “I don’t want to move to Arizona!” Looking back, I now realize I visited in the driest, hottest, and brownest part of the year. I’ve learned a ton about Arizona, and come to see its incredible beauty.

I remember confessing to a friend in Asheville a fear of moving to an older church, in an entirely new city and not having friends. I am richly blessed with a warm church community and friends. Friends that love me as a part of their own family, friends that challenge me to grow in Christ. I can say, honestly, that I am loved.

I am enjoying the deep delight in seeing people grow in Christ. At times, I can’t believe that I get paid to talk to people about Jesus, to write about Jesus, and even to continue to learn and grow in my knowledge of Him. I do!

The year hasn’t been perfect, there have been days of profound struggle, days of withering insecurity, days where I see my sin splayed out like a shameful rug. Even in that, the Lord has reminded me – again, and again, and again to trust in Him, to dwell richly in His grace.

Lent, in particular, was tough, as Lent often is. It is, after all, a season in which we ask to be sanctified, and I suppose I shouldn’t expect anything else. It was good though; it forced me to learn to trust the friends that the Lord has brought into my life, to expose the wounds of my heart to them that I might grow.

I have long struggled with looking at relationships, friendships, work, and projects as short-term efforts. With every day I am here, I find myself thinking in terms of years over days, decades over years, and making plans for a lifetime.

The longer I contemplate where my life heads – the more convinced that if I spend a lifetime doing just one thing well, it’ll be a very good life.

So here I am, in a little over a week I’ll mark the five year anniversary of my ordination to the priesthood, in a little over a month, I will have been in Prescott for a year. I am far from perfect, but how deeply I am learning to enjoy the grace of God, and how good this life is.

I will end with this thought. I have been thinking a lot about my blog lately, and how best to use it. What would people be interested in?

  1. Book reviews (I read a fair amount, and this would force me to read more diligently).
  2. Random, strange personal narratives like this
  3. Cultural commentaries
  4. Devotional writing
  5. Something else?

I can’t promise I’ll be writing more, but I really want to try. Thank you to all who pray regularly for me, and for all who pray for the ministry of All Saints – Prescott. Please keep it up; I think it is how I have made it through this year.

Comments

3 comments on “A Year in Retrospect – Arizona, Year 1, almost”
  1. Lise says:

    Nice Ian! I would be especially interested in 1 2 and 3 since I consider your sermons the devotional part. Can’t wait to see you! Happy you’re happy. Love, Mom

  2. portwatson says:

    Congratulations on five amazing, God-given years! I remember that day so well. Wasn’t it hot out!?! Lol.
    You are such a good writer, I look forward to all you compose. I’d saw 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 !
    I’m so glad you like Arizona. It’s sort of magical and healing for me.
    I continue to pray for for you, your ministry, and All Saints Church, among others. My prayer life is the high point of each day and you add to it with your writings.
    I like reading too and so, yes, book lists.
    Joyce

  3. Jay says:

    Enjoyed this immensely and am truly honored to call you my friend. Looking forward to another year of Seminary together!!

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