I dream of (a) Genie (packer)

Back in the day, before I was born, there was a television show called “I Dream of Jeannie.”  The television show starred Barbara Eden (with long flowing locks and a tiny genie costume) and Larry Hagman (aka JR Ewing from Dallas).  So, I’ll save you the details of the program concept (hey, you’ve got Wikipedia if you’re really interested).  But, it should go without saying that whenever JR from Dallas wanted something, Jeannie would blink or nod her head and it appeared or happened.

As I stare at the boxes in my apartment, I cannot tell you the number of times I have wished for the ability to nod or blink (like Jeannie the Genie) and make all of my stuff pack itself.  I’ve also realized that the stages of packing are similar to the stages of grief.

There is denial.  “I don’t have that much stuff.  It won’t take us long to pack up this entire apartment.  We only have 10 years of stuff plus a new baby to pack up….it’ll be fine!”

Then there is anger.  “Seriously?!?  Where did all of this stuff come from?  Why do we need 3 colanders?  How much Pyrex does one person need??  Why can’t this stuff pack itself??”

Then there is bargaining.  “We really don’t need this” whatever it is.  “Okay okay okay, I’ll let you keep your letter jacket from high school if I can keep every love letter you ever sent me.”  Or I’ll bargain with people “If you watch my cute 5 month old while I pack, I’ll make you dinner!”

Depression.  “Why do we have this much stuff??  Why am I surrounded by all this stuff??  What does it all mean?”  In all seriousness, I think the depression state will hit me later.  I’ve been so busy at work and trying to plan for this move and ordination and instillation that I haven’t really gotten a chance to think about the fact that I will be leaving a job and a place that I love.  Yet at the same time, I’ve been called to be pastor to the most amazing people in a fantastic place.

Finally, acceptance.  “Yes, we really do have this much stuff.  Yes, we really need help packing.  Yes, we really are moving.”

The thing is, we are so blessed to be moving into a parsonage.  In the (almost) ten years that husband and I have been married, we’ve never lived in a house.  Now, we get to move into a beautifully renovated farmhouse.  It is the perfect place for us and our baby. We move in less than a week.  Things are crazy at our house.  But, we try and remain grounded and remind ourselves how blessed we truly are.

Now…where did I put that packing tape?!?  Genie!!!!

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Wilderness

I graduated in 2011 and the plan was that God would provide a call that was good for me AND my family soon after graduation.  A bigger assumption could not have been had.

Here’s the thing: God is faithful even if/when we aren’t.  For the last 3(ish) years I have been in a vocation that I love but it’s not the vocation that God ultimately called me to.  I am supposed to be a pastor.  I was as sure of that as I could have been.  But then came my wilderness period.

I watched my classmates receive calls.  Then I watched the graduating class after me receive calls.  Then the class after them…and on and on… I attended ordination after ordination at times, with tears in my eyes.  I wondered “how long oh Lord.”  There were days when waiting wasn’t bad.  I loved what I was doing.  There were other days when I was frustrated.  There were days when I was angry.  God was faithful even when I wasn’t.

Then, the call came–literally, my phone rang.  “We’ve got paperwork for a church we’d like you to look at” said the voice of the assistant to the Bishop on the other end.  “Sure, send it along.”  I knew I was in trouble after a first read.  The congregation wrote in their paperwork that they desired a pastor with a sense of humor.  The paperwork said this not once, but twice.  This was the congregation God had intended for me to serve all along.  My wilderness looked to be coming to an end.  God’s faithfulness had never wavered.

After a long (yet quick) process, the vote came through and the congregation voted to call me as their pastor and I am gleefully accepting.  I hope to document the process of our move, my ordination, instillation, etc… as the weeks go on.

What have I learned in this process of waiting: 1) “ministry” takes many forms.  Just because I wasn’t serving a congregation, doesn’t mean I wasn’t involved in ministry.  I engaged in pastoral care in many and various ways over the last few years.  2)  One cannot make it thru the wilderness alone.  During this time, I had an amazing network of friends and family supporting me, praying for me and encouraging me.  3)  It deserves said again: God is faithful even when/if we aren’t.  My faith was challenged at times during this time of waiting.  God never stopped loving me, God never stopped raining grace upon me, God never stopped accompanying me.  4)  God’s timing is not the same as our timing.  5)  The vocation to which God calls us is, indeed, Holy work.  It doesn’t matter what your vocation is, if you’re engaged in the vocation God created you for, you’re doing Holy work.  I needed to remind myself of this a few times over the years.  6) Prayer is essential…. but 7) So is a sense of humor.

How have you survived wilderness periods in your life?  The next steps aren’t going to be easy but I already know God has gone ahead of me.  Fasten your seat belts kids, it’s going to be fun!

What’s this all about anyway?

Welcome to “taking stalk.”  This will be a look into my life as I live out my various vocations in life.  Taking stalk got its name because my soon to be ministry setting is a rural context and I am surrounded by corn fields.  Thus taking “stalk” like a corn stalk.  But I also like taking stock of a situation.

This blog will highlight daily ministry, my life as a wife, mom, daughter, friend, maybe some recipes, and even the occasional humorous post.  I’ll do the best to give you a smile or at least something amusing to read while you’re looking to waste time on the internet.

Legal disclaimer: my blog represents me and only me.  All parties are innocent until proven guilty.  Happy reading, friends.