It's the time again. Time to fill out the forms, head down the to photo license place, say cheese and get a new license. It happens every four years.
But did you ever stop to look at your old ID? Place the new and old next to each other? Think about how the two people smiling up at you are so different? "They are both me," you think, "they both look like me, they both have my name, eyes, nose..." But who are each of these people, really? Yes, they are both you. But you at different stages in your life, in your journey. Depending on which four years of your life this falls on, these two "yous" could be perfect strangers.
As I was looking at mine from 2009 and 2013, I thought about how much I've changed. My life, my worldview, my friends, my family, my address, my education, my career, my thoughts, my heart.....one was a girl, one is a woman.
The first was taken right after I got married, moved out, and started seminary. I married my soul mate. Marriage taught me how to commit, how to make compromises, how to take care of another, how to be an adult, how to take care of a household. Over the past four years, we've grown together, gained a deeper respect for each other, and fall more in love every day.
Seminary taught me how to view the world in a whole new way. I would need a book to explain how seminary changed me, but even if I had the space to write it, I don't think I could describe how many ways seminary has changed me. How it erased years of what the world taught me, to bring me back to my core knowledge. Seminary taught me how to be compassionate and to fight for justice. It opened my eyes to the problems, sufferings and injustices of the world. It taught me how to love people. All people. It taught me how to be more like Jesus. It wasn't just the classes, it was the community. It was the friends I made, the worship I attended, the knowledge I gained through lectures and through hearing the stories of my classmates. I can put a price tag on my seminary education since I'll be paying it off for a long time, but what I got out of it was truly priceless.
Besides these two major life changes, I moved a few times, traveled, and had two other major changes--I became a mother and a pastor.
In seminary I interned at churches, but interning really only gives you a glimpse into the life of ministry. Even though I am only part-time, being "the pastor" really changes things. It is harder and more rewarding than one can imagine. I am still working this one out, maybe when I've experienced it a bit more, I'll write a follow-up blog. But I can say, this is what I'm called to. I am so passionate about ministry as a pastor.
And finally, the other major life change-- becoming a parent. When people say, "You can't explain it." You really can't. Children change you in ways you didn't know you could be changed. They teach you things you didn't know you didn't know. You find that love goes deeper than you could possibly imagine. They change your views on things that you thought you knew for sure. They turn your world upside-down. They exhaust you more than anything else, make you more scared than anything else, make you worry more than anything else, make you laugh more than anything else, smile more than anything else, and make you want to be a better person. I never realized how strong I was or fully valued my body until I gave birth. I never fully understood the word "sacrifice" until I became a mother. And I wouldn't trade it for the world.
So when I look back to the younger, well-rested, fresher-looking 2009 version of myself, I think, "Girl, you have no idea how your world is about to change." And when I look at my current ID photo, I picture the 2017 version of me holding it and I wonder what she is thinking.