From sunny Florida to the brisk and beautiful Pacific Northwest, 2018 was quite a journey for me personally! It was not without many moments of worry and sadness as my family made big decisions. But the overarching theme of the year was one of fresh starts and new beginnings. And one of joy.
To my Woodinville teens: thank you for welcoming me into your lives. I look ahead to a year of deep spiritual and emotional growth and also lots of fun. I want you to remember that my door is open if you need a listening ear. I want to be an active part of your life. Tell me about your activities and I’ll try to be there. Tell me about your struggles and I’ll pray with you and for you. Tell me about your accomplishments and I’ll be quick to cheer for you. Let’s glow together in 2019.
To my Woodinville parents: Thank you for your warm welcome of my family into your congregation and into your homes. Lea and I look forward to developing closer relationships with each family this year. It is my sincere desire to get to know each family and also to learn the spiritual and interpersonal goals you have for your children. I’ll be contacting each parent as the year begins to sit down for a planning session as I contemplate the learning, activities, and service of 2019. I want to remind each parent that I am here to minister to families as a whole… I am YOUR minister as much as I’m your child’s. My door is open when I can be of assistance in any way.
I pray that we will all grow and glow together in 2019, shining our lights bright in Woodinville and beyond!
The Mayos have never been hikers. It’s way too hot in Florida. We “hiked” around Disney World when the weather was nice… even summiting Everest several times at Animal Kingdom. But actual hiking is just not something we’ve really experienced.
Now, living in a cooler climate with so much natural beauty to nearby, we’re making outdoor exploration more of a priority. Last week we hiked up to Big Four Ice Caves. Windsor’s wheelchair couldn’t make it all the way to the cave view, but Tobah and I went ahead to see it while Lea and Windsor rested. I was amazed by the number of people who left the trail and went out under the ice into the cave itself. Despite posted warnings that the cave is unstable and avalanche is a possibility, these hikers blithely entered the danger zone. Having good sense (and knowing Lea would take us down if the avalanche didn’t) Tobah and I kept a safe distance.
There are many times in life when we can look ahead into a risky situation. Maybe it’s a relationship that would be unhealthy, an invitation from a hardcore party crowd, or the chance to bend your ethical standards for gain… sometimes the view is tempting. It’s far better to heed the warnings around you and keep your feet on stable ground.
You’re blessed when you stay on course, walking steadily on the road revealed by God. You’re blessed when you follow his directions, doing your best to find him. That’s right – you don’t go off on your own; you walk straight along the road he set. You, God, prescribed the right way to live; now you expect us to live it. Oh, that my steps might be steady, keeping to the course you set…
Dear church family at Woodinville,
We don’t even know how to begin to thank every individual properly for our homecoming. There have been so many gestures of welcome from so many, we decided a group thanks might be the best we could ever do. When we arrived at our new apartment, tired from the journey, it had already been made to feel like home. From towels on the bathroom racks, to our favorite foods in the fridge… flowers, Goldfish crackers, homemade jelly and other goodies… everything was designed to make us feel at home. We even had homemade chicken pot pie for dinner that night! And all the surprises, gift cards, sweet words, and prayers. We can’t thank you enough for the outpouring of love and welcome. We’re so happy to call this home and to call each of you family.
Dear church family at Jupiter Tequesta,
We can never begin to thank you enough for our beautiful farewell party. The meal, the cake, the gifts… we are so grateful for all your kindness. We miss each and every one of you and pray God’s blessing on the congregation and each individual. Thank you for being our family, not only for the twelve years we were with you, but for eternity.
Anyone who knows the Mayo family knows we’ve become progressively more minimal over the last 8 years. Cutting down on our belongings has been freeing in so many ways, especially now that we are packing to move across the country! When our shipping POD arrived, I honestly felt like it would be too big for our stuff. I’m sure once we begin moving boxes and furniture though, it will fill up fast. As more-minimal people, we don’t “collect” many things. In the past, I had my collection of Transformers and Lea had her Eiffel-tower-everything. And books! We’ve both been hoarders of books. But over time, we’ve let things go… even books! While we have minimized in so many areas, we still collect patches. This was a trendy collectible among our peer group during our university summer abroad. We all bought patches to represent the different places we visited and then we would sit around reminiscing and showing off our patches. Some of our friends sewed them on their backpacks, some glued them in albums. Lea and I just kept ours in an envelope. Recently, she bought a flat display box and started layering our patches in it. Europe, our various stateside adventures, Mexico, Canada. All our many adventures are represented in that box and we can take them out anytime to look at them and reminisce.
I wonder if our treasures in heaven are like our collection of patches. I don’t have such a low opinion of God to think that our heavenly treasures are silver or gold or even a “mansion over the hilltop.” I wonder if the treasures we lay up for ourselves in heaven are the memories of every good deed, every beloved friend, every beautiful adventure. If they are, then I know that each year I’ve spent at this congregation, and each one of you loved ones, will be a treasure to cherish for eternity.
Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys…
Selling a house is hard work! And I don’t just mean painting, and packing, and repairs… It’s hard work because it feels like we are continually on display. I guess we are. At any moment, our realtor can say she’s bringing absolute strangers to come analyze every room of our house. Even the closets are open to view! It feels so vulnerable knowing everyone can see everything you own. “Did he stack the dishwasher like his wife asked?” “He left his towel on the bathroom floor!” So when our realtor calls, it’s a dash to make everything perfect. Every flaw matters.
We live our lives like this too sometimes, don’t we? On the outside, or in any aspect people can see, we try to be perfect. Or at least “fine.” We don’t want anyone prying in to the broken parts of us. We don’t anyone peeking in at the hurt, angry, flawed parts of us.
This isn’t the abundant life Christ promised! We should be living lives of authenticity… lives where we share the brokenness and are accepted as we work to live in wholeness… lives where we share the hurt and ask for help to heal it.
Our realtor is at my house for an “open house” today. She invited every random stranger to wander through every room. And it’s hard because we are protective of our privacy. As you make changes to your life to be open, transparent, authentic, and to truly “do life” together as Jesus did with his disciples… It will be strange and uncomfortable, too. But it is a necessary part of the Christian walk. It’s one I’ve not always excelled at.
Tell your sins to each other. And pray for each other so you may be healed. The prayer from the heart of a man right with God has much power. James 5:16
Cleaning is not fun. Packing – also not fun. Hiring roofers, painters, electricians. Definitely not fun. The last few weeks have been a flurry of not-fun activity at the Mayo house. After each task is completed, Lea and I stand back and marvel over it. Why didn’t we do this years ago? Why did we keep procrastinating? Sure, completely emptying the utility room, repairing the damaged drywall, painting, and putting down new baseboard was a LOT of work… the results are clearly worth it!
The hard work is worth it.
This is our mantra through packing, selling our home, driving across the country, and starting a new ministry in a new place. The hard work is worth it.
It’s a mantra I encourage each of you here to adopt as well. You are in God’s steady hands. And you ARE God’s steady hands as well. Yours are the hands to build the kingdom, to serve the poor, to minister to the lost. Yours are hands ready for hard work. And the hard work is worth it.
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord… Colossians 3:23