1 year after stepping back

about a year ago i wrote about my decision to step back from the SBR ministry after realizing how terribly burnt out i was.

i haven’t looked back once. i have never second-guessed that decision. it’s crazy to be able to honestly say that.

i was just looking at that entry from 1 year ago, in which i had written about what i hoped to see happen after stepping back, and i wanted to spend a little time reflecting on how those things have or have not turned out the way i imagined or hoped that they would:

  • i am looking forward to learning and mastering the art forms of managing my household well (including cleaning and menu planning and budgeting), and mothering intentionally and creatively. our entire marriage has been spent with both of us in ministry, and the timeline of our shared life has been a whirlwind of events in quick succession (meeting, moving, marriage, transit-leadership, moving again, buying and fixing a house, beginning SBR leadership, having a baby, getting pregnant a second time), and so there hasn’t been that time period in which to really settle down into some of those foundational skills. i want to master them and do them with attention to the presence of God.

yes, i think i’m making some progress. my ambitious “household binder” that was supposed to keep me on a manageable schedule for cleaning the house, budgeting, and menu planning sort of fell by the wayside, but i have learned a great new way to budget and have developed a habit of monthly menu planning and both are working out well and are sustainable! cleaning, however… well, that’s something i’ve yet to really find a happy place with. 🙂 as for mothering “intentionally and creatively,” yes, i think that’s coming, too. but there’s some balance to find there. like, i don’t have to have a zillion hand-made activities and a strict daily schedule in order to count myself as an intentional and creative mother. the standard can be a bit more relaxed.

  • i suspect i’ll actually be a fresher and more positive encourager and helpmeet for tim now.  i had been so tied up in knots of cynicism and criticism about the boiler room ministry because of my own lack of peace about continuing on in it, that i carried that energy into all of our conversations with him, with the end result of often making him feel discouraged or diminished in his life work. now i feel i’ll be more able to see it from his perspective (which is one of confidence and faithfulness and joy) and spur him on.

this has absolutely been true! since stepping down, the Lord has really renewed my joy in living where we live and in being a part of the ministry/work that we’re apart of. i have felt the cynicism melt away miraculously and relatively quickly. i have really been taking delight in being a listening ear and advisor to Tim as he continues in the work. i feel proud of him and am watching him really step up and excel in new ways! it’s been really amazing.

  • i am excited to be able to pour my time and energy into taking hazel on outings and to play dates that will stimulate and bless her, as well as to pursue photography, without feeling like i should be doing 20 other boiler-room related things instead (which just ends up paralyzing me).

yup, it’s been great to spend the “open” hours between meals and naps going on outings with hazel or playing intentionally with her (and gus) rather than feeling like i need to steal moments to work on something for the boiler room. it’s both an actual change in how much time i can give to being a mom, AND a mental load off (those open-ended to-do lists are such a drag). i have managed to keep doing some photo work, and to narrow down precisely what SORT of photo work i want to do. and that’s been joyful and just the right amount of it, most of the time. i’ve gotten some help from mommy helpers to keep the kids for a few hours while i edit, blog, or respond to emails for my business (3 or 4 hours a week).

  • i look forward to seeing how Father will direct my heart, and what divine appointments He will lead me into now that i won’t be moving out of a place of obligation or slavery, but of freedom. i wonder what he’ll do with some of those areas/interests in my life that seem to “have life on them” (as tim would say): photography, the birth community, motherhood, food.

i’ve been having fun stepping into boiler room life and work when i have time and inclination or holy spirit nudges. whether that’s pursuing some quality time with someone who needs some love, redesigning our website, or photo-documenting boiler room events. and i’ve been really enjoying following my Christ-indwelled heart into other things with life, like getting to know the natural birth community in Grand Rapids or joining a mama bible study with a bunch of great women i didn’t know before.

SO. praise you, Jesus, for being the Good Shepherd who truly did lead me into green pastures and give me rest for my soul.

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One thought on “1 year after stepping back

  1. This is so good to read. I relate in lots I ways because shortly after we had our first baby AJ became a youth pastor & I struggled with trying to be a good wife, figuring out how to be mom & trying to balance obligation & desire to be his ministry partner. It’s still something I’m learning but I’ve been given lots of grace and realize AJ & our kids are my first ministry, and there’s more peace when I don’t try to do everything.

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