During a time of reflection earlier this week, I was listening to some music. The artist happened to be beginning her career when I first moved to Minnesota after spending several years on active duty in the Marine Corps. I remember those early years in Minnesota as strangely formative and very difficult. I encountered this same artist in Manhattan a few years later while I was attending the 50th anniversary celebration of National Teen Challenge in which I was then ministering. My ministry there was very difficult and again, very formative. I am convinced that I would not be a Navy Chaplain were it not for my fruitful ministry at Teen Challenge.
As I reflected earlier this week, it is interesting how life takes its turns, how different people and experiences trigger different memories and how our different seasons of life prepare us for the next season of life. My thoughts as I reflect on transition times of life are that we should always be seeking to grow and learn, and be seeking occasions to increase our skills because we never know what opportunity in the present might be preparing us for future opportunities.
I would not have chosen my previous workplace as a place of ministry formation. The organization was a substance abuse recovery program. I did not have a history of addiction, nor did I have formal training in addiction recovery. But now, looking back, I can see how that season prepared me in unique ways and gave me the requisite experience to pursue the chaplaincy ministry.
No matter the difficulties of the present, we need to be thankful for the formation of our present circumstances, trusting that God is preparing us for the journey that is ahead of us.