Pastor Linda and Anne Lamott

Do you ever wonder if a person was brought into your life for a reason? I’ve never really thought about it until recently, but I have lived a life full of strange coincidences. And some people say there are no coincidences; it’s just God working in your life and I tend to believe that.
Our United Methodist Church was recently appointed a new pastor. She started a few months ago. She’s the first woman pastor in this church, which is a good thing. Our church had begun to become stagnant in the last few years, almost to the point of standstill. Life – and death, and possibly God intervened, and Pastor Linda was transferred to us. Not only the fact that a woman is leading us – a mostly “older” congregation, – has shook up things a bit, but also the changes she’s implementing. It’s shaking us up in mostly a good way. At least those of us who were wanting and needing some shaking up. Even the people who are irritated at least are getting involved and speaking up. Unfortunately, she made some changes with regards to where the coffee pots will be each Sunday morning and that has caused some very bad feelings; threats of some leaving the church completely and others just complaining nonstop. Obviously, you don’t mess with the coffee or the pots!
While I admired and respected our previous pastor, he was never the type of person you could get close to or who made others feel comfortable in confiding in him. He gave great sermons, just excellent messages, but he could never be called a people person. Pastor Linda, on the other hand, is very easy to talk to and is very approachable. It feels good having a pastor lead us whom I can call a friend. We’ve had a few long and good talks, and I hope we have more.
During one of her sermons, she referred and recommended an author, Anne Lamott. A book on prayer. I’m a voracious reader, but was fairly surprised (and just slightly insulted since I consider myself a literary snob) I hadn’t heard of this writer. After church, I went home and Googled Ms. Lamott and read about her and all the books she’s written. I checked one out from the library, one on grace and devoured it in nearly one day. I couldn’t stop reading it and didn’t want it to end. It was fantastic. She wrote a lot about her life, from childhood forward and I could completely relate. In fact at times, I felt like I was reading about my life. I felt someone else somehow knew all the feelings I had about my childhood, about my entire life thus far really, and had written them down and published a great book about all of it! It was like she put my life down on paper, changed a few of the details and embellished others and put her name down as the author. She’s even written a book about writing a book. Maybe, just maybe, it will be the inspiration I need to finally write the book everyone has always said I should write. If you haven’t read any of Ms. Lamott’s books, you should. I ended up purchasing 3 or 4 of her other books on my Kindle and read those in quick succession. And last night, purchased her latest book and have already made a big dent in it. Also a winner. Her books make me realize that there are others out there who didn’t have great beginnings and or thick enough skin and still somehow survived and made a success out of their lives. And there are people who still work through issues that stem from those residual feelings that I think started years ago. And that it’s okay and possible to get those feelings or that story down on paper and you won’t die of mortification or alienate friends or family. And her books are funny and full of faith and wisdom and grace and good characters. I hope she keeps writing because I’m almost done with this latest book and will be looking forward to a new one! I’m trying to read this new one as slowly as I can, which is very very difficult, so it lasts.
If Pastor Linda hadn’t been transferred to our church, our church probably wouldn’t be moving forward at this time, wouldn’t be teeming with new service projects and newly resurrected youth groups (of which I’m very grateful because my two teenage sons are very involved), and possibly wouldn’t have the energy that seems to be running through it now. I wouldn’t have this new pastor who I feel will minister to me and our congregation with love and understanding and compassion. I wouldn’t have this new friend. And I wouldn’t have heard about Anne Lamott and her wonderful stories nor have read her wonderful books. I wouldn’t have this good feeling I have from this connection to this author, or have this motivation to again start trying to write.
Is it a coincidence that Pastor Linda and Ms. Lamott have each come into my life at this time? Call it what you will, I call it a God thing, and I’m very grateful for these blessings.

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