Sunday, January 10, 2016

Self Care

I am terrible at blogging.....obviously. But this year, I think I need to share more of my personal journey in ministry and life - I don't know who will read this. Perhaps it's just for me to write it out - kind of like a self-care kind of activity. So here goes....

I read this tonight after coming home from church, and I needed to read it.  This church planting thing is stinking hard. I have never cried so hard - fought so deeply - lost so much - loved so fearlessly - been so poor - received so much - revealed with transparency - bled profusely - been scarred deeply - challenged so obviously - begged so often - hoped each second - than I have in church planting. I needed to read this tonight.

Manifesto of the brave and brokenhearted
by Brene Brown
"There is no greater threat to the critics and cynics and fearmongers
Than those of us who are willing to fall
Because we have learned how to rise
With skinned knees and bruised hearts;
We choose owning our stories of struggle,
Over hiding, over hustling, over pretending.
When we deny our stories, they define us.
When we run from struggle, we are never free.
So we turn toward truth and look it in the eye.
We will not be characters in our stories.
Not villains, not victims, not even heroes.
We are the authors of our lives.
We write our own daring endings.
We craft love from heartbreak,
Compassion from shame,
Grace from disappointment,
Courage from failure.
Showing up is our power.
Story is our way home.
Truth is our song.
We are the brave and brokenhearted.
We are rising strong."

I needed to read this. My King has asked me to follow Him, and you better believe there have been countless moments where I asked Him to clarify His call in my life - because I would LOVE a touch more security.....a bit more "normal living". Not that I have a clue as to what "normal" looks like - because I'm pretty sure everyone in this life wishes for more of something and less of something else.

I had a conversation recently with my sister-in-law that hit me directly in the gut - she's good for me like that - she listed off a HUGE list of things that were expected of me as a women pastor or wife of a pastor, from discipling women and leading bible studies all the way down to a clean house ready for any and all activities as well as groomed and well-behaved children who are well versed in scripture and are brave and compassionate examples to friends around them. I was exhausted after she named off everything, but I couldn't stop nodding my head - because I felt and knew every single one of those expectation.......requirements........rules. Ugh.

I am exhausted. I love Jesus with all my heart. But is ministry really supposed to be like this. Everywhere I look from big churches to church plants every single woman in leadership is exhausted! Every. Single. One.

Okay, so hold on with me for a second.

Can I be deeply honest for a minute? I have grieved every single person who has left our church for one reason or another - GRIEVED. It is personal - always is. I have lamented and sorrowed and thought I should have done more - some of them even told me I should have done more. (The ugly cry happens here). I go back and forth in my head about why I am responsible......knowing that my responsible nature doesn't help at all in the conversation.

But here's where I feel like I'm beginning to grow.......tomorrow may be two steps back, but let's just keep it positive for a second. I feel like I need to LET GO of responsibility (cue "Let It Go" Frozen theme song). In scripture where Cain and Abel have fought and one kills the other - the living brother is asked where the dead brother is and he responds, "Am I my brother's keeper?"......well, we all know the answer! YES, yes you are. But here's where I've had the definition of being "my brother's keeper" incorrect. I have previously believed that definition to mean complete responsibility - for everything. Every choice and response and conversation and misunderstanding. But!!! I am only responsible for this - to LOVE them. This means I am to make sure they are seen, heard, welcomed and embraced. I cannot own their reaction to me, their reception of my welcome and embrace, or their choice to share their hearts or not. I cannot own whether they feel connected or not. I can only invite them in and love them the best I can.

People, I am a mom of three little hearts (9, 7, and 5). I am a wife of a church planter - people, that's tough enough right there - that's it's own blogpost. I am a worship leader - again, tough stuff. I teach piano lessons to 6 children every week, get up at 4am to be at work at Starbucks by 4:30am so I can work 5-6 hours and still be home in time for my kindergartner to get out of school at 11:30am. I have to figure out bills and dinner and make sure laundry is done and that the dog doesn't have worms. I have to take the dead fish from my daughter's fishtanks back to the store WITH the receipt and get it replaced. I need to help the kids with homework every night and make sure they practice their piano every day and get to soccer practice on time. I have to remember to put my youngest's feet braces on so the doctor will continue to see improvement. I SHOULD make time for the gym in the midst of all of this. I have to be creative to make every dollar stretch and remind my husband that he's appreciated because he works a FULL-TIME job outside of being a pastor FULL-TIME. And then some people think I didn't love them well enough. Ugh.

Sorry, that just all came out. No editing.

Ministry is hard but I know its where I'm supposed to be.

"We craft love from heartbreak,
Compassion from shame,
Grace from disappointment,
Courage from failure.
Showing up is our power.
Story is our way home.
Truth is our song.
We are the brave and brokenhearted.
We are rising strong."

Today I needed to read that.


Jamie Taylor said...

I hear you. Don't be ashamed of anything you have shared. The truth you have shared is important. You are loved and prayed for today, Cherie. May God give you the strength you need at this moment, and in each of the moments to come.

Nancy Brewer said...

Keep blogging when you can, your voice is strong and all od us need to be reminded that life is what it is: hard, overwhelm, a struggle AND that it is good, rewarding and filed with hope when we are obedient to what Christ asks if us. I covenant to circle you in prayer every day. You ARE brave, and the truth about being our brothers keeper is powerful. I am too be obedient to what God asks of me, I an not responsible beyond that. How I treasure you! Big hugs!

Whitney said...

And I needed to read this. Thank you for sharing your heart, you have no clue how much mine needed your vulnerability today. I haven't even been on FB, but logged on for about 2 minutes and saw your post. Thank you! Praying for you.