…On Beginnings and Endings


Well…when you ask for God to reveal His plan…you better be ready for an answer! In Don’t Take the Boat to Tarshish, I expressed anxiety over what God had in plan for our family. And in Leaning In, I shared more fears about the unknown. I reminded myself that fear is not from God. Instead, he asks us to put our hope in Him…leaning in and seeking His strength.  Easier said than done.

Our family of six, (formerly known as the ‘CO McMonagles’ and most recently known as the ‘NM McMonagles’) is becoming the ‘CA McMonagles’. We are moving to San Diego. I’ll be honest; I’m very sad to leave our life and dearest friends and family here in Santa Fe. I do believe, though, that San Diego is not going to be rough. I started praying for a miracle last fall…a miracle to keep us here in Santa Fe. My friend, Lois, tells me that miracles don’t always look like you think they will. Throughout the last year, I have slowly stopped digging my heels into Santa Fe and honestly started asking God to make me open to His plan. That’s a miracle in itself. So God gave me hope in the meantime. Hope is one of those fuzzy/hard-to-define words. But hope is worth grabbing and holding onto. Hope lends sanity to the everyday.

“…in a big, loud world – we hold on to Hope. Hope for the impossible, hope for the unlikely, hope for the unexpected, hope for the improbable — because hope is nothing else but the spine of faith…for Hope in [God] is the anchor of our soul.” –Ann Voskamp

An anchor to our souls…how awesome is this little nugget of truth from the Book of Hebrews?! It is in great hope that I am trusting that God has heard my prayers and is showing us miracles, no matter how unexpected the form. I have real hope that God has our family in his hands as we launch off on this great new adventure.  Saying goodbye to our friends in Santa Fe is going to be difficult. But a new start doesn’t demand closure.

“Everyone now wishes for ‘closure’. This word is unfortunate; it is not faithful to the open-ended rhythm of experience.” John O’Donohue, An Abundance of Blessings

For a girl who thought she would live in Georgia her whole life, it’s kind of surreal to think that I’m moving on to my fifth state since I left my childhood home. I’ve learned that with a move, real closure isn’t necessary. I have taken a part of each city and my dear friends in each place with me. Life truly is an open-ended experience.  Rather than an ending in Santa Fe, I’m focusing on a new beginning for the CA McMonagles. In his meditations on endings and beginnings, O’Donohue continues,

“A beginning is ultimately an invitation to open toward the gifts and growth that are stored up for us.”

Lois also recently shared with me a beautiful song that I might have listened to three hundred times in the last few weeks – Hillsong United’s, Oceans. It’s worth a listen and pretty fitting for our move to the Golden Coast.

“You call me out upon the waters. The great unknown where feet may fail. And there I find you in the mystery…For I am Yours and You are mine. Your grace abounds in deepest waters. Your sovereign hand will be my guide…”

Uncertainty is, no doubt, unsettling. Answered prayers and miracles rarely look like what we would have expected. But it’s in the deepest waters, deep in the mystery, where grace abounds. Are there places in your life where you can ask God to make you more open to His plan?  Some areas of life where allowing more hope will give you more peace in your days? I encourage you to seek the mystery in the deep.  Because the grace is so sweet.

So here’s to new beginnings…especially when they don’t have to dictate an ending. Santa Fe will always be a part of our lives. Watch out – the McMonagles, in all our chaos, are about to take SoCal by storm. There is part of me that thinks my Toyota Sienna mini-van is going to instantly turn into a jeep without a top the minute we cross the California state line. And speaking of songs…I’m trusting Katy Perry and Snoop Dog that like the California Gurls in their song, I’ll instantly become fine, fresh, fierce, tone, tan, fit, and ready – and basically just lay under palm trees sipping gin and juice all day. Who’s gonna watch the kids?!  I’m in.


“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” –Hebrews 6:19

12 thoughts on “…On Beginnings and Endings

    • Since we followed you to NM, I think it’s only fair that y’all follow us out to CA:) But we’ll at least settle for visits:) …And at least we can get a Smashburger there too!

  1. Well, I’m all about faith and hope and new beginnings. But reading about the move in hard print still made me cry. Great post. Love you, sister!

  2. And you are so rooted in His love and faithfulness that you all will blossom wherever He takes you. It is a wonderful witness to see how you live leaning on Him. And having just left your house how did you ever have time to think these deep thoughts and do this wonderful post??!! You are amazing !!
    Love to you all,

  3. Really loved this post La. First, I loved how you opened your heart and spoke candidly. Refreshing.

    I also found a couple of points you made very interesting. 2 points in particular were:
    1. Why do you refer to G-d as male? I never thought of G-d as having a human gender.
    2. I never thought that G-d has a “plan” for my human life. I find it very interesting that you believe that.

    To be clear, there is obviously no right or wrong. Just different beliefs. But those two points stuck out to me. Would love to discuss in detail over a beer/wine sometime. Would be enlightening.

    Good luck on the move. If you have to leave, San Diego is a pretty awesome place to go!

  4. Thanks for taking the time to read it and reply, Steven. I’ve enjoyed having this blog as a way to share my heart as we navigate through life. I love following your thoughts and considerations on Facebook and think the topics you get people thinking about are awesome. It’s so fun to hear perspectives that aren’t our own. And I love your questions, here. You certainly make me think more about the why in what I believe. In regards to your questions:

    1- Good question. To your point, I don’t necessarily think that God has a human gender. I do believe in the Trinity – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – all together as one God. The son being Jesus. The Holy Spirit being what moves me in my heart. And the Father…I think of as the ‘the big guy in heaven’. Sure sounds confusing when I write it out, but it works well in my heart. I think God is happy to be referred to in any way that gives us comfort. To be the figure of a father is comforting to me.

    2- I do believe that God has a plan for my life. Scripture is a great source of comfort and encouragement for me. I think that even though it was written by men, it was inspired by God. I love Jeremiah 29:11 – “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” And Proverbs 3:5-6 give me comfort – “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” In the event that I’m wrong about all of this, it was worth it. The peace beyond understanding that I get from trusting in God’s plan for my life is unlike anything else I encounter. Of course, the issue of free will is a whole long topic on its own. I think God allows me to make day to day decisions, but they all ultimately fall in line with the plan He has for me.

    How about a Cohn family trip to SoCal?! We could certainly have some fun exhausting the kids at Legoland, then enjoy great conversation and lots of laughs over some drinks. Ryan still mixes them up just as tasty as in the good old HBS days. Give my love to the fam.

    • Very interesting. I will respond with my beliefs, but I want to first clarify that I don’t suggest one view is right or wrong. Just different. So please read it as such.
      1. Certain sects of Judism have started to change scripture to be gender neutral. I support this change. I personally believe that women and men are equal, but women will never be recognized as such so long as we perpetuate the steriotype of male role as the true leader. And referring to G-d as a male perpetuates this steriotype IMO. I also believe that G-d has zero human qualities. I believe G-d is a spirit. A spirit that lives within all of us. Not one that sits in the clouds and makes plans.
      2. The fact that you take comfort in your belief of a “plan” means that it is the right view for you. I believe organized religion’s purpose is to provide that comfort and sense of community in this crazy world. Personally, I take comfort in the opposite. I take comfort in believing that I set my own destiny. No one (including G-d) sets it for me. I make individual decisions that determine my path and I alone own the responsibility for the outcomes. I find this belief to help me when times are tough. That’s when I push harder. I never expect G-d to help me out of a man made challenge.

      Again, these are just my beliefs. While different then your’s, I don’t believe one is right or wrong. I believe our situations and experiences are different and that has shaped our views. But both have equal merit. And I know you will view this post with the intillectual curiosity that’s needed.

      Keep writing La! I love your posts.

      • Thanks for your response, Steven! I certainly appreciate the fact that we can have different views that provide us each with comfort and ultimately, the same values. I have the utmost of respect for your desire and reasons to consider God as gender neutral. And I also appreciate your perspective on your destiny. I probably agree with your view more than I came across in my last explanation. I guess I fall in some fuzzy area between God’s plan for me and how the decisions I make determine my destiny and bear responsibility on the outcome in my life and the lives of others. Thanks again for reading my entries, friend. It’s fun to have this opportunity to interact with friends on such a deep level, even from thousands of miles away. I appreciate your encouragement more than you know!

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