“Enjoy the Ride”

“I came that they might have life, and have it abundantly.”
John 10:10

A few weeks ago, my head of staff asked the leaders of the church to think about what their theme or motto would be for the New Year. What would your bumper sticker say for 2013?

I’ve been thinking about this for the last couple of weeks—what would my motto or bumper sticker say?

I’m currently on a church Snow Retreat at Zephyr Point at Lake Tahoe, and instead of filling today with activities, I decided I would take the time to walk, enjoy the beautiful creation, read, and write. This was the morning view I awoke to, taken from my room:


Yes. It was that amazing.

I spent a solid 30 minutes later sitting on the pier looking out onto the lake and the mountains—praying and thinking—and my theme/motto came to me.

“Enjoy the ride.”

You see, life is AMAZING right now. One year ago, I found out that I was going to be unemployed and wondering if I would be able to find another call without having to move in with my parents while I waited. I was struggling through a relationship that I cared about deeply, but wasn’t going anywhere. I fell off the fitness and health track that I had taken years to build up to… and although life is nowhere I imagined it to be at 32 years old, life is incredibly good to me right now.

I have officially transitioned into full-time at a new church and a new calling that is different, challenging, and yet growing me into the pastor God has called me to be. My colleague and the leadership are incredibly supportive. I am single and still going through the sometimes agonizing steps of dating, but it doesn’t feel urgent to me anymore—and I realize that a life of singlehood right now is also very fulfilling for me. My health and fitness is back on track and in full force. I am training for my first half-marathon, and the other night, I ran 5 miles like it was something I do regularly. I found a before picture of myself, and was surprised at how I still feel like the same basic person—happy and confident—and yet shocked at how different I look physically. Check it out!

before and after


You know, God has guided me through lots of ups and downs—and I’m not saying there won’t be downs this year…but instead of overthinking everything and wondering why and perhaps at times feeling unworthy of it all—gosh dangit, I’m going to enjoy the ride that I’ve been given this year.

Here’s to 2013—a new year. My opportunity to take enjoy the life that has been given to me, without question.


photo (5)

Last week during my training, two amazing things happened.

One of the days we were to run 3 miles. Believe it or not, in my head, I was RELIEVED to “only” have to run 3 miles! I didn’t realize the oddity of me saying this until my wonderful friend Abby texted me that day for some accountability to run. We were feeling stressed and anxious and I replied to her: “Running will help. I’m freaking out today, which is why I’m going to run now. It’s only 3 miles today. You can do it!”

Her reply: “‘Only’ three miles… look at us!'”

I laughed for a long time. Because she’s right! Just 4-5 months ago, I was training for a 5K (3.2miles) and was panting and out of breath after a minute or two of running. I was nervous about running 3 miles, and here I am now training for a half-marathon! AMAZING.

The next amazing thing that happened was in the same day. I was determined to try and run those 3 miles as hard as I possibly could. After I warmed up, I started running, and I FELT slow…

But guess what?!

I finished 3 miles in just under 30 minutes!!! The first 2 miles I managed to do in 10 minutes and a few seconds, and I think that accomplishment gave me the kick in the pants to run that last mile a bit more quickly than I normally would have done. As I finished the 3 miles and heard the 29 minutes and 40 seconds on my app speak to me, it felt GLORIOUS. AMAZING!

I’m so thankful that my body is able–and I’m ever more thankful that all of this training is side by side for a great cause–for a great woman–and for many more who are determined and relentless to live.

I will be relentless as I continue to train. I’d love your support to help me reach my goal as I continue to train!
I would love your financial support to help me reach my goal! Any amount helps!
You can click on this link to donate: http://pages.teamintraining.org/sj/sntacrzh13/pastorirene


photoAbove all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful.
– Colossians 3:14-15

I would have never believed you if you told me 2012 would end in harmony for me.

The past couple of years on or around Epiphany, a clergy covenant prayer group I am part of randomly draws a star with a word or spiritual gift written on the back of it. This ritual was introduced to us by the brilliant Aimee Moiso.

The word is not supposed to be magical, but it is to “guide” us into the New Year and perhaps help us to be aware of how that word is playing out in our lives. Some of the words include: honesty, love, justice, patience, etc. My word for 2012 was harmony.

I won’t lie, I felt disappointed. Nothing in my life felt harmonious at that time. I had just found out that the church I was then serving was going to have to let me go mid-year because they could no longer sustain the associate pastor position. I was sad about leaving a call before I felt ready to go. I felt nervous and skeptical about how I would find another call in this economy – when so many pastors are seeking positions and not finding them.

My personal life was also a bit shaky as a result, and I could not even see the possibility of harmony happening. My fitness track fell to the wayside. Harmony. I did not even want to hope for it. It felt unrealistic to want that word for my life.

One of my mom’s coined phrases to me growing up was, “Who knows? God knows.”

God truly works in mysterious ways. And just as I was settling into disappointment and living into uncertainty, everything began falling into place … harmoniously. Stone Church (which is in the same presbytery) just happened to be in the beginning stages of looking for an associate pastor.

Someone told someone else about my situation. Interviews happened. And then, not only was it an open position, it genuinely felt like a new calling.


Now that 2012 has come and gone, if you have talked to me or seen me, I hope that I am radiating harmony in my life. In fact, ever since I came to Stone Church, I wake up every day grateful and mystified at how beautifully everything worked out. I just signed up for my first half-marathon benefitting the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and am getting my health back on track. http://pages.teamintraining.org/sj/sntacrzh13/pastorirene#home

I feel content right now being single and enjoying the life and health God has given to me.

I’m not saying my Epiphany star was magical, but now reflecting back on 2012 and looking toward 2013, I give thanks to God for the harmony that is ever so present in my life right now.

I look forward to what 2013 holds; thanks for joining me on the journey.