Someone asked me recently what’s the biggest lesson I’ve learned since being diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. Which is a bit like asking a parent which child they love the best (a reckless undertaking). Any parent would be incapable of naming just one.

The lessons are so many, and they have taught me so much. Like becoming a parent did, cancer has made me re-prioritize my entire way of being in the world, which is funny because aside from my newfound flair with a headscarf most people wouldn’t know it to look at me. Disease and healing both happen deep within. My surgeon reminded me recently to take it easy because I’ve had some major remodeling done inside. She has no idea. 

Last week I went on a scheduled retreat to reflect and plan for the year ahead. I had so much I wanted to accomplish in a few brief days, but it turns out I was wiped. I kept reading the same passages over and over again in one of the dozen or so books I’d lugged with me. I stared off into space. I napped. I sat by the river. I picked fresh peaches and tomatoes. Which, as lovely as all that sounds, it didn’t exactly meet my definition of “planning time.” I actually thought I might get a jump on the Christmas Eve sermon. And by Christmas Eve I mean Lent and Easter too. Welcome to my brain.

So I arrived home a little frustrated with my work output, though no worse for the wear thanks to fall colors and glorious sunshine, and opened up a little book of devotionals I keep on my coffee table. I swear to you this is the first thing I read:  

You will not find God’s peace in excessive planning: attempting to control what will happen in your future….Just when you think you have prepared for all possibilities, something unexpected pops up and throws things into confusion. Turn from the path of planning, to the path of Peace.1

One lesson I’m learning is that when it comes to plans and the future, just trust. God’s timing is impeccable. 

When the Chapel’s Board of Trustees approached me this summer with the offer to become your new senior pastor upon Robert’s retirement, every single one, including and especially Robert, was concerned first and foremost with my well-being. I made the decision to say yes (more like “YESSSSSS!!!!!”) partly based on what my oncology team was telling me about my own particular progress, and whole-heartedly based on this sense of peace that of course this was how it all would go. I hadn’t planned it or scheduled into my tidy calendar, which is usually a sign something good is about to happen if I can just get out of my own way.

For the past 13 years, Robert has modeled the importance of relying heavily on God, following the Holy Spirit’s lead through prayerful discernment and a posture of faithfulness in all things. I have felt God’s presence before me, behind me and beside me through this cancer journey and the decision to accept the call to senior pastor. I know Robert has felt the same in his own discernment to retire, and I pray the same for you in whatever season you may be in right now. That deep well of trust in God’s perfect timing and provision is what gives me the confidence to say this is the EXACT right timing for the pastoral transition at the Chapel, and I could not be more excited. 

As I more and more lean into planning less and trusting more, I would love it if you would join me! Let’s together find out just what glorious plans God has for us: you, me, Robert, and our entire community. Let’s get out of the way and trust that everything will unfold better than we could ever imagine because God works all things together for good for those who love him. 

You thought the past six months were interesting? Look out, Snowmass! The Holy Spirit is at work in this place – and it is a powerful force to be reckoned with. Buckle up. 


1 From Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young