The Bridge to Moving Forward

Lisa Allgood, Executive Presbyter

“When I came to the city of Troas to preach the Good News of Christ, the Lord opened a door of opportunity for me.”     – 2 Corinthians 2:12

One of my favorite doors in Jerusalem

Recently I was part of a conversation about someone following a deep conviction that a door was about to be opened, specifically for a person, but perhaps in general for the fulfillment of a prayer.  It was a much longer conversation than that, but as we close out 2023 and look forward to 2024, whether God was answering a specific prayer or not, it struck me that the turn of the year always represents yet another threshold.  Sometimes with multiple doors to choose from.

And as I often do, I wondered – was there a door in 2024 for me too?  What decisions have I made about doors that were made available to me in the past?  Were the doors offered different now, based on the doors I elected to walk through – or not walk through – in the past? 

I vividly remember one door offered to me while I was at P&G – I was made a job offer to a new role the day before we left on a two-week vacation (in retrospect, not the best time to offer someone a position).  It was a very different role that the science-y ones I’d always held, even as a senior manager, and would have tethered me to the CEO.  And so I spent a few days on the vacation talking about it, thinking about it, praying about it – but the answer became clear when I asked myself the question “would I rather spend the rest of my life wondering if that would have been a really cool job I could have been really good at, or wondering what my daughter was like when she was growing up?”  Meredith was 3 at the time.

Needless to say I politely declined.

I have walked through many doors.  I had an amazing career in the pharma world, and was allowed to do so much else: teaching leadership skills globally and locally for so many years (adults and teens), creating curriculum, mentoring others, encouraging others to grow and emerge into their own beautiful doorways.  I’ve had amazing mentors and sponsors that helped along the way.  Recently I had a conversation with now-30-year-old-doctor-Meredith that I came late to the realization that everything that I had done in my life – all the huge projects I led, all the teaching and certifications, all the study, all the church and non-profit work, even being divorced – have led me to be able to do the job you have called me again to do, the way and with the energy I have, the way I do it today (recognizing as I type that sentence that not everyone loves the way I do this job, of course!). 

I am humbled and honored and amazed to have been asked to choose the door of another 5 years serving each of you and the Presbytery of Cincinnati.  I cannot express deeply enough my gratitude for your confidence in me, and in what we’ve accomplished together. I have been unexpectedly blessed by the past 5 years with you.

I have seen (and heard) the hand and voice of God in my life.  And if I truly believe all of that, then I need to be mindfully, prayerfully, deliberately intentional about what I do today – because it leads me to what I can do tomorrow, and perhaps even what doors will be offered to me – and which I will choose.

So my friends, as we walk together through the door into 2024, I pray God’s righteous Hand, Wisdom, Grace and Love on every person, every church, every leader.  I pray that every door open to you is one you too will mindfully, prayerfully, deliberately, and intentionally consider.  Some will be difficult in the discernment.  But never doubt that the door, no matter what the answer, leads you to tomorrow. A blessed Christmas and Spirit-filled New Year to you all.