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Monday, October 8, 2007

Transitions of Ministry

I hinted at a few more transitions in my last entry. I have a lot more going on in life than just trying to have a baby, but most of the time it appears to be the most consuming thing.

Over the past 8 or 9 months, I have been through so many new things. I'm excited about many of these new things, but some of the transitions have been rough. I'll try to focus on just one of those transitions today: ministry.

Ministry in a word looks very simple; a three syllable word, yet it contains more depth than any book could hold. Yes my very life has revolved around ministry since shortly after I was married. Ministry, more specifically, youth ministry has changed me, moved me, and projected me into a life that I never thought possible, yet that very life was a dream come true. God has blessed me with an amazing husband who has supported, encouraged and assisted me through some of the craziest times of our lives. I can think back to the many blunders. But it's those moments of sheer joy that I'll always treasure; delicate moments, breakthrough moments, and breakdown moments.

However, when my husband and I heard God's call to leave our church everything that had become the familiar in ministry changed forever. I was no longer the youth pastor of this small group of teens. I was no longer in direct responsibility of or in connection with their individual lives. Ultimately I felt no longer needed. Ministry took new meaning for me; a meaning that I wasn't quite prepared for.

Today 9 months later, I sit in front of my computer just outside my living room. I'm able to have time to sit and write about my feelings. I'm able to come home and make my husband dinner every afternoon. On weekends, my house isn't filled with teenagers nor am I gracing the dance floor at a school dance. My life is drasticly different now. Sometimes those differences are very rewarding, but often times it's only a painful reminder that my life has transitioned to something much different than I had dreamed.

We left our former church in pain. Many things had transpired through the years that had not been properly dealt with; a proverbial sweeping under the rug, if you may. The trials and storms surrounding the church and it's people had been overwhelming for years. I had prayed many times for God to move us out of the situation. I guess I prayed more specifically for God to move in our situation, no matter what the cost. I hadn't guessed that the cost would be a personal cost to me. I hadn't guessed that my life would be so drastically different. And I hadn't guessed that the change would hurt so much. The change did hurt, but the transition continues to hurt.

Remember, I, by definition, am an overachiever. Picking up, packing up, and leaving without looking back was my entire agenda at that point in time. Sure I had to say goodbye properly to 'my kids' and I gave them the full explanation of why we were leaving. But this kind of leaving made me feel like I'd left work undone; unfinished for the rest of my life. Talk about being a failure; yes, that is exactly what I felt like; a failure, with a capital F.

I know that I didn't fail in the task that God had given me. There were some amazing times with this group. We saw God move in miraculous ways. Those teens saw our hearts and understood that we loved them and wanted nothing but God's best for them. I know all those things in my heart. I believe that we had completed our part of that mission. Yet, deep down, I've since wondered if there were other things that I should have done.

Call it what you may, I call it my tragic flaw. I always want to do more; to be more; to live more. That's my life as an overachiever.

BTW: I have transitioned into a new ministry. I'm still working in youth ministry, just in a completely different capacity, with a completely different group. I'm not quite sure how to define it, as I'm still transitioning into it. When I figure it out, I'll let you know. ;-)

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