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Today (assuming you’re reading this on Thursday) is the ninth anniversary of my ordination. My ordiversary as us pastor-types have come to call it.

Nine years ago, in the chapel of Whitworth University, surrounded by my family, friends, and a few mentors, I started a new journey called ordained ministry. But that day was also the culmination of a journey that started long before that September day in Spokane, WA.

Some might say the journey started when I officially entered the ordination process of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). And in some sense, that would be correct, because on that day I, for the first time, made a public claim that God was calling me, a woman, to ordained ministry, something I wasn’t sure was possible even a few years before.

Or as my friend and mentor, Terry McGonigal, reflected on in his sermon that day, maybe the journey started when I began to wrestle with the possibility of such a call. Or maybe the journey began long before that when I first made a decision to follow and obey Jesus Christ.

I’m not sure knowing the exact beginning matters, as much as who was responsible for the journey.

Because, surely, it hasn’t been me.

The journey to ordination and since ordination is nothing short of a call from God. I would have never reached ordination, and I would have never reached this ordiversary had I not been sent by God.

That’s how story after story in the Bible begins. God calls a person, or a group of people, to begin a journey. Sometimes the destination is known, but often it’s not. Sometimes the way to the destination is clear, but often it’s not. Sometimes the journey is easy, but often it’s not. And yet, God is always present on the journey. (Hey, that sounds like a good idea for a sermon series! Good thing a new one starts on Sunday!)

My journey, this journey, hasn’t always been easy. It hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows. But when I look back, since hindsight is 20/20, I can God’s work in every moment, in every season, and in every year. And I am thankful the journey, for where it has taken me and where it will take me in the years to come.

And it is my hope and prayer that I continue to fulfill the final words of the charge given to me at my ordination, “So I charge you, Kimmy, be a faithful witness, stand with your congregation, point to Jesus and declare, ‘Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.’ And be a minister of whom your congregation will say, ‘There was a woman…sent from God whose name was Kimmy Sarah Stokesbary.”

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