January 2019 marks a significant anniversary for me—15 straights years of pastoring. 15! I had been doing pastoral-y things for a chunk of years before but one of my most significant life shifts came when I went on a big church staff January 1st2004 first as the Associate Care Pastor and Adult Ministry Pastor. Two+ years later we started The Refuge and I entered into the wild and crazy world of Co-Pastoring and nurturing the life of an eclectic incarnational community for the past almost 13 years. The reality that I raised my babies (5 of them!) during the past decade and a half has really struck me. The twins were 4 when I started and my oldest was almost 12; now they are all out of the house.
I never set out to pastor.
In fact, it was the last thing that I would have ever put on my list of where I thought I would be. I was the one in the marriage who had a master’s degree in management and organizational development and was going to make a lot of money in the corporate world and support Jose, ha! We still laugh about it, but it’s also one of the reasons I still follow Jesus and believe in God’s mysterious ways of moving, stirring, calling, catalyzing, disrupting. Each and every day I never think of my life at The Refuge as a job or even a role. It’s my heart and joy, and I will be ever-grateful for all the different twists and turns and amazing people in my life over the years who have supported me despite so much resistance to female pastors and upside-down healing communities.
January 1stof each year also marks my blogging birthday. This year it’s my 11 year of blogging. Weekly writing definitely waned over the past few years with a lot of energy going in new directions; however, I remain thankful for a consistent space to share what’s stirring around inside if I feel like it and for the incredible people I’ve met along the way.
2019 is also the beginning of the first year of my life where I’m not mommying on a daily basis after 26+ years. Last semester we launched our twins out to college and began empty nesting, but all fall we were in huge transition–moving kids all over the country, parents weekends, grieving the loss of my dad, and navigating getting everyone home for the holidays. Now, everyone’s moved, basically situated, and a new year awaits.
My body is still adjusting.
It’s so used to being “on” 24/7 that the omg-I-don’t-actually-have-to-be-home-at-a-certain-time is really still rocking me. This shift is a very strange and wonderful one, and I realize that daily life is a heckuva lot easier without kids at home.
We are going to celebrate this month with an extended time working from the beach with our dog, having space to write, catch our breath, and honor where we’ve been and dream about what this next chapter could be. We know it includes some good stuff with The Refuge and the Justice and Mercy Legal Aid Center where Jose works and a lot of #Waterheals.
Here’s a quick reflection of these three movements of life today:
15 years of pastoring:
- Best part: The people. What a gift to journey with so many beautiful folks in different ways, whether it’s one conversation at The Refuge Café, or years of walking together, or cultivating community or space for healing, learning, and celebrations. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t have a story.
- Hardest part: Never having the resources that match the day-to-day year-after-year work that The Refuge does. It’s sometimes really fun to have to be creative but honestly it’s pretty tiring, too, especially when you see so many other systems (primarily hierarchical, patriarchical) fully-funded.
11 years of blogging:
- Best part: The people I’ve met along the way in real life and online. Kindreds are so good for my soul. I love that our shared story, passions, hearts can somehow be linked together out here.
- Hardest part: Adding it in on top of all the in-real-life things that are far more pressing as a pastor and community cultivator. I am the worst at obeying any good-blogging rules.
A new year of no full-time mommying:
- Best part: No runs to the store to buy milk at 6 am in the snow (oh, and that they are all pretty amazing human beings who we have good relationship with from across the miles. I truly like them.)
- Hardest part: We have to do the dishes, take out the garbage, and I don’t have my movie buddies anymore. But most of all, I miss their laughter and presence so much and it feels like it all went by in a blink of an eye.
In this next month I hope to get up a few posts I wrote last year but never got around to sharing. I also want to invite anyone who wants to join in with others who are finding their way through a deconstructed faith and is on Facebook to join our ongoing Faith Shift: Hope and Healing group and for those who want to have a more intense four week experience, we are offering Walking Wounded: Hope for Those Hurt by Church and Ministry again on February 4th.
Happy new year. I hope it’s a brave one for all of us. Thanks for reading.
ps: This picture is from the start of The Refuge until now. I am not in a place where I can access a picture of 2004 but just think “2 years younger”! Time flies…