January 2012 marks the eighth anniversary of our family's return to Kentucky. I say return because we lived here between 1991 - 1994 while Chip attended Asbury Theological Seminary, then from 1995 - 1997 when our son Jamie was very young. We came back in 2004 because Chip accepted the position of pastor at Stonewall Wesleyan Church. And as we mark another milestone [end a year and begin another], I can't help but think of how much.much.much has changed since that January. There are so many thoughts, so many dreams.plans.ideas that have come and gone, and some that still haunt. Questions are asked, answered, and some left unanswered. Often I try to block things out, tell myself there's enough going on: I have two teenagers, a full time job. I need to focus on improving my marriage today, not think back to what should have been years ago. . . Yet as a new year ushers in a new chapter, I long to get it all out.over.done.
A denomination that proudly exclaims their endorsement of women in ministry. Unless you're the wife of a pastor. Then it's different. Then you can do some, but not everything. And please don't try to do anything someone else might like to do. Even if they're not gifted at it. It's alright to waste your gifts.
We like the family that left. They had kids we love. They were like family to us. We can't get over them leaving. It's not the same. Your family is nice, but just not the same.
It's my fault my husband's not in pastoral ministry any longer. What they said 20+ years ago was correct. "She'll make a terrible pastor's wife." "Don't marry her, Chip. It will be a mistake."
Will my kids have a sour feeling about church? Do they understand this isn't how it's supposed to be?
Why are these people so shallow? Why does walking out the door make a difference?
How could I have been so wrong? I've always been a good judge of character.
I should have been a teacher. That was the plan. Why did I mess it up?
Why does this ministry have to end? Our work is so important.needed.necessary. Who will help these kids?
The calling.desire.urgency to work in abortion ministry is not there anymore. It was so strong before. I was so sure it was my life's work. Will it return?
I went to college. I have a degree. Am I doing what I'm supposed to be doing?
Why do I get these headaches? I should be thankful I'm not seriously ill. Yet there are days every month when I'm not able to fully function.
Why can't I get more accomplished? Am I successful?
I try to change what I need to change. Yet I feel like it's impossible.
We will decide how much money your husband makes. We will watch how you spend it.
What happened to hospitality?
I thought I'd always be involved in women's ministry. Is that chapter closed for good?
I don't understand why things are this way. I tried so hard to do what I was supposed to do. Or so I thought.
I moved across the country. I gave up something, yet you don't seem to mind taking. I made this my home and invited you in. Yet you never opened yours to me.
I tried to help you. You didn't want help.
There's a different set of rules for us.
Manipulation or ministry?
We value your education. We devalue your education. We want you to challenge us. We want you to be like us.
Am I angry? Not really. Sometimes misunderstood. People want us to be what they want us to be. What's convenient for them. And a fact of life is that things change. We change. And we're not perfect. I've made a bunch of mistakes between 2004 and now. And fortunately, I've learned a bunch too. Thank goodness for what I've learned.