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  • Sonya Leigh Anderson

The Next Thing

Updated: Aug 27, 2019


(Jimmy’s senior photo shoot by

Tuesday was a hard day. Monday I endured bravely the driving away and the change of the seasons. But I still get to enjoy a month of summer. Soccer practice starting this week for Jimmy and school starting Monday, but I’m defiant, hanging on tight to the season I love. It’s a three-hour evening practice, Kyle and me in an empty house, so we go to the lake, and I say it again. One more month before summer ends.

But the next morning is hard and I’m not sure why, with a million reasons. It’s staff meeting and staff prayer, and I’m muddled at one and weepy at the other, and I wonder if maybe I’m losing my mind. I say as much to Kyle, telling him how twice in one morning I’d forgotten names of people I know, and if this continues I should see a doctor. And then later two different people talk about transitions and stress and chances are good this is normal crazy.

Wednesday morning we’re on the porch swing, side-by-side, talking to each other and then to God. Kyle says something about identity, last Sunday’s sermon, and he admits it’s true. There’s a change at school, and he might not be coaching, not sure where he fits in ministry, either. Our nest isn’t empty, yet boys independent –except when they’re not. I tell him, too, about my own work lately, and how I’ve been wondering. A job once new, like giving birth, then years of creating and watching it grow. But just lately it feels a bit like an adulting child, redefining my role.

It’s just a hard season to know who we are.

And then it’s Thursday and my day is full, but I wake early for prayer and a run. I read about angels in bookends of scripture. Genesis and Revelation both in one morning, and I ask it of God, could you give me this, too? A voice from heaven with clear direction. I sure could use it. I tie my shoes and head out for my run.

And that’s when He does it. Answers my prayer through a podcast sermon, and it’s not an angel but it’s close enough. It’s Andy Stanley, Kyle’s download, the first title I see. Pack Your Bags Part Two: Praying Ahead. I hit play because it feels like the Spirit, not even thinking I should start with Part One.

“How do you prepare for the changes ahead?” This podcast preacher asks the question. Then he makes a long list, and everything’s on it. Kids in college and aging parents. Change in address and change in vocation. Grandkids and marriage and empty nest. All of it. There. And he asks it again. “How do you prepare for an uncertain future?” I’m running and listening, intent on his answer. But not at all expecting what he actually says.

Of all the answers he could have given, like a real live visit from an angel prophet. God himself in this podcast message. The one thing needed so you’re sure to be ready…

“Find out every day what it means to love.”

Stunned. I can hardly believe it. This is the answer? Prepare for tomorrow by loving today? I’m laughing and crying as I jog my way home.

There’s no way around it. This holy vocation. For today and tomorrow and into the future. This LOVE commission is my ONLY calling. It’s all He’s giving. This answer. Clear.

I know what to do. For today. I love.

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