Some of you might remember me from a long, long, long, long time ago. I’m the one you might say was “spinning my wheels.” I was born and raised in the Sioux Falls area, beginning on a farm in Hartford. When I first met you, I became a candidate for ministry in 2007, at which time I had just returned from from Decatur, Georgia, where I completed the ThM at Columbia Theological Seminary. I took two swings at the ordination exams, passing three of the five, and decided maybe I wasn’t cut out for parish ministry. I was drawn to music ministry and settled into that role, singing and accompanying worship in various congregations wherever there was a need. Every so often, I would run into one of you and a knot would quickly form in my stomach, my mind scrambling for an explanation for what in the world I was doing. “Still singing and playing piano” (blah, blah), I’d answer. In other words, spinning my wheels.

I don’t have a reasonable explanation for feeling stuck in the last decade of life. However, spinning my wheels, like trying to get out of a deep snow drift, deepened my faith where there was mostly fear; God’s Presence and Power turning, turning, turning.

Sometimes we come around full circle. I’m now the pastor of the church in which I became an inquirer, at Emmanuel Presbyterian Church in Marion. I remember sitting in the Fellowship Hall in the dark waiting to meet with Carolyn Visser and the rest of the committee. Never did I imagine I would someday be the pastor of the church where the ordination process began for me. Looking now in the rearview mirror, I see objects (obstacles) that appeared large at the time, and I was unable to see them through God’s eyes and unwilling to trust God’s driving.

I’m excited to see all of you again. Thank you for your prayers, encouragement, and patience. Should you ever get stuck in a snow drift, spinning your wheels, just think (before your frustration takes over): perhaps the spinning wheels are really deepening your faith!