Tuesday, 28 January 2014

No one tells you it will be this hard...

[Honest post - maybe best avoided if you are pre-BAP! Or maybe this would be a good reality check. Whichever it is, it's a 'from the gut post' with a few Bible passages tacked on the end. Sorry, but that is how it is right now ;-)  ]
(google images)

Ordination - and the journey towards it - is a rollercoaster. Sounds like a cliche, and it is. But it captures something of the ridiculous topsy turvy and up and down-ness of this season. And it all feels quite vomit inducing at the moment. And that is just me and I am not the one getting ordained, doing the essays, contemplating the change of role, although huge change is a-coming and it's only just starting and it's hitting us all, big time, right now...!

People I meet, around and about in this funny little job I do for the Church of England, seem to assume that we're getting all excited about curacy, about the next season, about finishing training. Yes, Yes and Yes. And No, No, No.
When I suggest that maybe, it's quite stressful or there is an element of uncertainty or that it's having an effect on the kids or me or whatever, there is some expression of surprise. It's a bit like when we first had a baby and we mentioned that it was tiring or hard work or scary - people hadn't previously said too much about what really happened further down the line in case you bottled it. When you first get pregnant, it's all exciting and people get so excited for you. It's the same with the ordination discernment process - everyone is so excited and positive and absolutely certain its' going to be amazing. But they don't tell you about this stage. The moving AGAIN, the crazy workload, the preparations that have to be made or the crazy fears and worries that kick in...
And now that it's happening, Andy is getting ordained, 5 months tomorrow, we're moving house (no address yet but we will be moving!), moving on (from this community where we never planned to live and where we have been so blessed), well, just as with having children - there is no going back now!

Obviously, quitting is not an option - this is God's call. And we're up for it. We're a family on mission. Ordination is a bit of a mystery to be honest but what I do know is that we're all in it, this is a joint journey and God has called us all. But it's also a very isolating experience when I'm looking at schools, making decisions about nursery, thinking about shifting life to another town, albeit just 10 miles up the road. It feels isolating because I am leaving much behind and I don't really know what I'm going into, what we are going into. I'm not doing it on my own obviously but it feels very detached and external right now. Managing a 'project' which is quite task focused at the moment but which eventually is going to become my life.

In a meeting today, someone made the comment about the actual ordination service and how they are not very child friendly - and I wondered how on earth that was going to feel and how I will manage that. Am I going to be elsewhere at that 'big moment' ensuring that my two year old doesn't disrupt proceedings? And how on earth I'm going to arrive looking half decent (let alone keep the toddler clean or quiet?!) for the service itself when Andy will have been away for the previous few days 'preparing' on silent retreat? I'm hoping I get to go on silent retreat soon after to recover! Not very family friendly at all. No one tells you this bit...

1 Timothy 4:12 is a life scripture for me, and this I return to. And in all the uncertainty, I'm ramping up the retreat time (2 days booked at Abbotswick earlier), the evenings of focused prayer and worship with friends in my missional community and ensuring there is a bit more space in my life than normal to enable me to face this with all the goodness and grace that God has ploughed into me.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me....

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