I have had this post title on my mind for a good month by now. I have so much I feel like I want to share. But I find myself at a road block as to how to share it. Where to start. What to say or what not to say. Will I be misunderstood? Will people know my heart? Will people judge? Will they speculate more?
I know people mean well. In general, I think people are good. After all my family has only known ministry-life together. So when people see our new normal I imagine it sparks curiosity. Can I really blame you for being curious? Not really...
So, where to begin.
For the first time in my and Jeremy's existence as "Laura & Jeremy" we are not in full time ministry. We have taken a little 'hiatus' one could say. It's weird. It's awesome. It's scary. It's sad. It's exciting. It feels a little naked. It's freeing. It's awkward. It's a blessing. And for some reason causes great emotion to rise as I type this. Sometimes I want to cry at the drop of a hat. Sometimes I want to shout "FREE AT LAST, FREE AT LAST, THANK GOD ALMIGHTY I AM FREE AT LAST"! One thing that's not changed is we have never doubted our Jesus. We have not feared what we lack. God is good, all of the stinking time. We trust Him wholeheartedly. Only He knows the story He is writing for our lives and I am happy for the role we get to play and the ways He has used us, continues to use us, and will use us in new ways.
Life is interesting to say the least. I mean, it can definitely throw you some unexpected curve balls. I, personally want answers to life's mysteries. But I've learned through this, that sometimes you just aren't going to get all of the how's or why's; the reasons, or the missing pieces. And we really just need to be okay with that. If I can learn to be okay with it in my own life, surely you who wonder or speculate can be okay not knowing and just love us for us.
I'd be lying if I didn't often allow my mind to wander off to far away places of what -ifs and maybe we should have. But the would've, should've, could'ves are in the past. Why dwell on what was, what isn't, what could have been, what should have been, etc. when it just flat out ISN'T. But it's easy to think staying in "this place"....doing "this thing or that" would make all of the difference. Really, this is apart of the story God is writing. So while it's a heck of a lot different than we planned or thought, it's all apart of God's big picture. And He is in control.
In the process of embracing this new normal, I find both positives and negatives, as we can about any situation. I shouldn't really say negatives, because honestly, our life is great. Our family is thriving. We have time on our hands. We get to be normal people. Like, a normal, real family.
No magnifying glass. No scrutiny over our every whim. I get to be 100% totally & truly me, without inhibition. No one to put me in a box. NO MORE BOX! I love living outside of the box. And this has shown me that there is soooo much more we can do! There are so many opportunities that await us! Ministry 100% totally GOD's way! And no one to tell us when to sit, how to sit, what to sit on, etc. NO. MORE. BOX. :) :) :)
Don't get me wrong though, I miss pastoring too. I miss it a lot. It's all I have known as an adult. As a wife. And as a mother. How do I do life as a non-active pastors wife? Do I still fit in the little pastoral circle? Am I a part of the club? Or do I not fit in? Because I kinda feel like I'm not fitting in. I'm a little on the outside. But where do I fit in?
And there is something I have noticed that makes me sad. Quite sad, is the way christians treat normal people vs pastors wives/families. I feel a little like a heathen when I meet a new christian now. Where when someone knew I was a pastor's wife an instant "respect" was often bestowed upon me. An instant kindness offered. Sad, but true. I don't mean it pridefully, it's just something I have noticed lately. It makes a person's self esteem waver. It causes insecurities to rise. Because now, people need to get to know me for me. Not Pastor Jeremy's wife. Me. Just, plain old Laura. And I tell you, I am a confident person in general. But a drastic, somewhat traumatic change can cause a lot of 'feel sorry for yourself' feelings to rise. Right or wrong, they happen.
This new normal allows a new insight into BOTH sides. Where before when I was on one side, I was young, single, etc. Now I have been on the "IN"side for so long...being back over here on the 'out'side causes a whole new perspective. I know my Jesus is going to use this perspective and new insight. Even though it stinks sometimes, I am excited!
New insight = New opportunity
I have had to remind myself that those who truly know us know our character and what is in it and what is out of it. So true friends can just know there's more to things sometimes. But it's not worth knowing it all. If I'm content with not having all of the answers, so can anyone be.
Life is great. We've learned so much wherever God has taken us. We are grateful for every church we have been a part of and the relationships made and lifelong friendships we get to carry wherever we go. Since being married we have been true to ourselves, our principles, kept our priorities straight and for that I am proud of my sweet little family.
I consider this hiatus a time of refreshing, healing, strengthening and rest.
We are blessed.
We like where God has us.
We are embracing our new normal.
We know we are where God wants us right now.
Ministry just looks different than it ever has before for us.