So, apparently my blogging self dropped off the face of the earth, and all I’m good for is posting videos. Or so they say.
When I started blogging a while ago, the idea was to use it as an outlet for all the narration and writing already happening in my head on a daily basis. I haven’t been doing that lately at all. So, what’s been going on? I still have half-imagined blog entries filed away on each of these topics, but the reality is that I’ll never have the time to get them all out. So, in the absence of what would surely be the finest writing of our time, I give you, simply, a list. Oh, and a disclaimer that goes something like this: I know that what has been causing me stress pales in comparison to the suffering going on around the world, or even next door to me. This is just what’s been going on. And what’s been on my mind. And might explain why I’ve not been writing.
– my dad had shoulder surgery a month ago, which was successful. However, shortly thereafter, he was diagnosed with pneumonia and hospitalized while my mom was out-of-state. I was honored to spend part of a weekend with him as he recovered. Later, as his symptoms worsened, it was determined that he had blood clots in his lungs. That very frightening diagnosis resulted in two things (1) an extremely active and healthy man taking his doctor’s precautions seriously, and (2) one of the most amazing prayer groups I’ve ever been a part of. A few people from my parents’ church gathered to pray for them. It was awe-inspiring. Everyone who receives scary news should be prayed for like that. We are very thankful that my dad’s treatments have been successful, and he is currently working toward a normal activity level.
– My job responsibilities grew a few months ago. Our kids’ school schedules changed this fall. Those two factors began to pull on my work schedule in very opposite directions in September. The deficiencies and ramifications of this reality are beginning to show up with a vengeance in things like, you know, groceries and cleaning and margins to help my daughter handle curve-ball homework assignments. I feel as though I’m doing nothing well and not getting anywhere close to being intentional about the things that I really think are important.
– Speaking of things that are important, we made the decision for my husband to take a break from his seminary classes this fall, purely to offer a moment of relief to our entire little family. It has been awesome to have Neil around more, as he is not having to hide away and study every evening and every weekend. Now, we have sporadic conversations about the whole idea of seminary, and of Neil’s future in ministry vs. his love for his current media job, and of the larger floating-out-there questions of our hopes for a different kind of expression of church, etc. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Well, see, that’s because I’ve been too overwhelmed to write about it.
– My husband’s grandfather passed away last week. He was 98 years old. His death was not a surprise, as his health had been declining for several weeks. We had the great blessing of being a part of a funeral celebration, and spent lots of time with family. Neil was asked to have a speaking role at the funeral, and did an amazing job. I listened to him and spun a bit on the questions listed on the above point.
– I’m speaking and leading worship this weekend at a conference for a group of churches who are part of the Church of the Brethren denomination. Because of some of the family events listed above, I have not been able to spend as much time as I had hoped preparing to speak. But because of some similar things I’ve done in the past, I haven’t had to start from zero. Still, I want to treat the topic with thoughtfulness and clarity. I know nothing to do than to do what I can, pray, and walk confidently forward. My topic: The Biblical Context for Worship. Which is, you know, pretty light stuff.
– Aaaaaand the reality part….. no matter what the events of any particular week or weekend, I continue to be in the position of planning and leading 2 different worship services every Sunday at our church. I have become increasingly aware of the development needed within our worship ministry so that (a) more people can be involved in planning and leading, and (b) I don’t burn out. Our church is growing, and it is healthy, and there is much to be said about how God is at work. But I need to redefine how I do my job, and I’m not good at redefining. Give me some fences, and I’ll work like a crazy person within them. Tell me to decide where the fences go, and I’ll just mumble to myself and spin around for a week.
I’m pretty sure this is rapidly disintegrating into pure whine-ery. Again, I do not claim to be suffering. I only claim to be overwhelmed and under-inspired. The prayers coming out of my husband and I have to do with clarity about our family’s purpose and vision…. about our heart’s desires for our kids….. our church….. our own ministry outlets. And this weekend, they’ll be heavily slanted toward the conference I’m participating in. What I know is that God is always good and right and true and that in the simplest of all terms, we represent him poorly when we get consumed with ourselves. And I know I’m falling into that. So forgive me for that, and for this deluge of honest appraisal that you’ve stumbled upon.
If you’re facing big life questions, feel free to dump them here.