The truth is, when I came to work at Covenant I came with deep wounds. I had left my previous job under unexpected circumstances that were quite painful. There were (and still are) folks from that community that loved me well and rallied around me. Still, I left a Christian community feeling bruised, beaten up and betrayed.
The six months before I was hired at Covenant were difficult and anxiety-ridden months. It was the first time I had personally experienced such deep hurt within a group of professing Christians. It made me question my worth, my identity, and I started wondering if what I had believed in since the age of five was actually real. I began to wrestle with my faith in a really intense way. It was scary and sad and yet hopeful, too. I had a wonderful husband who listened to my questions and comforted me as I grieved the sudden loss of something I loved. I had a church and pastors who didn't shy away from my questions or my need to be absent from places in which I had previously been serving. I had friends and family who faithfully prayed for me. Their actions reminded me through those long months just how sweet and true the community of believers can be.
I was thrilled to be hired at Covenant. Folks I trusted and respected had worked or were currently working there, so I felt confident about stepping into my new role. I love it from day one. Anytime someone asked me how I liked my new job, I would grin and start raving about my boss, my coworkers, the Covenant community at large.
It was about two months in when it hit me why I could unreservedly say the things I was saying. I realized that everyone who works at Covenant truly loves working there. They believe wholeheartedly in the work, mission and ministry of Covenant College. Is it a perfect place? No. Nothing this side of heaven ever is. Yet, when you serve each day with folks who have a common vision and goal? Well, that's a sweet, sweet thing.
I celebrated my one year anniversary of working at Covenant this past summer. I think the second year at a job is a lot like your sophomore year of high school or college. You know what you're doing, it's not so scary and (hopefully) you are known in a deeper way by the folks around you. I feel known and valued at Covenant. I love being around the students. I love serving them, my boss, my coworkers, the guests who visit our campus. It is a joy to labor each day in my role. This is a gift that I do not take for granted anymore, trust me!
The inauguration and the events surrounding it this past week were a gift as well. The inaugural concert featured Fernando Ortega and, while I sadly wasn't too familiar with exactly who he was before, I can't stop listen to him now. Listening to him lead worship and taking in the voices around me as we worshipped together was overwhelming. I'm still processing that evening and I have more to say about it, I think. It just needs to stew for a bit longer...
Being a complete sucker for tradition and ceremony, the inauguration ceremony itself had me teary and proud and grateful for our new president. Grateful for his willingness to lead and serve the Covenant community with his God-given gifts. I stood in the lobby as the faculty, board and delegates from other academic institutions processed in. With the bagpipes and drums leading the processional, goosebumps were inevitable. I watched the faculty that I've gotten to know better in the last year, all dressed in their academic regalia. I said a passing prayer of thanks for them and how they, too, serve the college as they teach and help shape the minds of our students.
I count it a privilege to be at this place. I'm so grateful for how God has used it as a channel to heal my wounds and remind me of his faithfulness. It's not a coincidence that I had to wait for six months, had to endure countless "no's," had to experience the disappointment of a "no" from what I thought was a sure thing. As former students from my beloved Trinity School start heading off to college, some of them are finding their way to Chattanooga and even Covenant. The full circle of that brings me to tears every time! I'm reminded that my God, my Father, works all things for good. He's always been faithful...