Monday, February 8, 2010

The Hat I Wear

A symbol of my destiny arrived in the mail recently. It’s not the only one, just the latest.

The first is on a shelf in my closet, a corduroy hat. I like this hat. More than just fashionable, it’s perfect for cold winter nights when I walk the dog. By itself, that would not be remarkable—but when I bought it I didn’t live where there were cold winter nights, and I never walked the dog.

In fact, I bought the hat—actually I bought two—for no apparent reason. I walked into the clothing store where my college-age daughter was working and browsed while I waited for her. This wasn’t the kind of store where I normally shopped. Catering to a young market, the music blared loud and proud, and I was eager to get out of there. But, meanwhile, there were hats to try on. I bought not just one, but two. I took them home and modeled one for my husband.

“Nice hat,” he said. “Where are you going to wear it?” At the time, we lived in Alabama, and prior to that we had lived in Arizona and Florida. I had no reason to collect winter clothes, especially cold-weather hats. Even during brisk weather, I didn’t take long walks with the dog. Our house had a big back yard with a fence, and our dog got plenty of exercise without me.

“I have a feeling,” I said as I tucked the hat into the closet, “that we’ll live in cold weather one of these days.” I had a feeling because I had a calling.

As a freelance writer and pastor’s wife, I had received several assignments to write about the need for new churches in northern states. The Bible belt got its name for a reason; I had not only become convinced of that but was getting the feeling when the next call came from a church, it would be further north.

It came from an established church outside of Dayton, Ohio. We moved north, and I started wearing my hat, a lot, mostly while walking the dog on cold winter nights because we ended up at a house without a fenced-in yard.

Meanwhile, as we ministered in this established church, I continued accepting assignments about church planting. Previous to our move I had written several magazine articles featuring new churches; now the assignments were getting bigger and more in-depth: I interviewed several church planters and contributed to books published by the North American Mission Board. One book, entitled Ready? Preparing for the Pressures of Church Planting, arrived in the mail just the other day, confirmation of my own destiny.

For when the opportunity came along for my husband to help start New Day Church in Dayton, Ohio, I realized God had been preparing and training me. If I had doubts—and I didn’t—I also had the hat, the articles, the books—and the faith—to dispel them.

For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God planned in advance for us to do.~Ephesians 2:10 NIV