Updated: Oct 24, 2022
As I prepare to step away from my position as College Director at FBC, I am filled with a flurry of feelings. This puts me in great company with the Psalmists because the poems and songs they wrote rarely have one emotion, but many. As I’ve begun to make sense of my emotional mood map, three Psalms come to mind:
Psalm 30:11-12 You have turned for me my mourning into dancing: you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!
I feel a DEEP gratitude of where God has brought me, who he has made me to be and the people he has put in my life. When COVID hit and I graduated, it ruined all my plans. I stood there thinking “What now, God?” I was angry, frustrated, sad, and stuck. When the College Director position opened up, I took the position not knowing what was going to happen… I LOVED it! I loved my coworkers, and I really loved the college students. It was the best thing that happened to me, God truly turned my mourning into dancing.
Psalm 139:9-10 If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.
In my grief over the life I should have had without COVID, God was seemly saying “You’re not done here. I’m not done with you here.” God was leading me the entire time on a path that was the best for me, and he was holding me through the hard times (there were A LOT), even when I couldn’t see it.
Psalm 92:12-15 The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. They are planted in the house of the Lord; they flourish in the courts of our God. They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green, to declare that the Lord is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.
I have grown so much in my faith and God has transformed my heart. Through discipleship groups and mentors, books I have been gifted, the Sermons on Sunday’s, the Sophomore Bible study, the church staff who care deeply for each other’s flourishing, and most of all through my colleague Peter Nittler (the College Pastor) as he let me ask hard questions about Christianity and wonder about the things we couldn’t answer. To Peter my friend, Steve and the entire church staff whom I love, discipleship friends, the college students, and all of you – Thank you for supporting me. My hope for you church family is that you would feel the moments when God turns mourning into dancing (even if they are the smallest of moments) and be thankful for them, that you would deeply know God’s hands are leading and holding you even if it doesn’t feel that way, and my greatest hope for you is that you will grow in faith, love, and hope in this church just as I have and will continue to do. Best, Madeline Peterson