Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Odds & ends in January

Traditionally, January has been one of my least favorite times of year. The transition from rest and family to the prospect of unbroken weeks of stressful obligations is wrenching. At least that's how it has usually felt. But even though coming back to St. Louis after Christmas was pretty painful, this January hasn't been quite so bad. I wouldn't say it's categorically wonderful, either. It's just been odd.

For one thing, it has continued to feel as if God's been gently shaking loose my attachments to some things...my expectations and daydreams of how I think my short-term future would best unfold. As if, just when I imagined myself comfortable, God started shaking up some of the lesser things as if to steel me for bigger ones.

To give an innocuous example, we will likely need to search for a new apartment in the next few months. Wasn't expecting that. I had pictured us staying put for as long as we could, perhaps even for the duration of our time in St. Louis. But now I'm not sure where we're going to be living. The odd thing is how comparatively little I've been stressing over that. It hasn't been sitting heavily on my chest like these things often do. I can't say I'm excited by the possibility of moving further into the city, if indeed that turns out to be necessary. But whatever we end up needing to do, I feel mostly at peace about it...at least for now.

For another thing, my husband is starting to pursue the process toward ordination in earnest, which is actually a wonderful development and an answer to prayer. I'm very proud of his perseverance in the process, and as I think about him beginning to work on internship requirements, I feel confident that God is going to be bringing about great things for His purposes. But that's the thing...I hadn't pictured myself being included in those purposes. Ministry has always been something that other people do; that category of "other people" has expanded enough in my mind to include my husband, but I have only the blurriest concept of how it would include me. I have enjoyed picturing myself as the wife of a professor and myself a professor, and all that would mean for our life together. I just can't picture myself in the role of a pastor's wife. This is not to say I'm resistant, exactly; it's simply beyond my imagining. I was telling a friend today that I still feel puzzled sometimes by my personality and what God could be doing with it; I suppose I tend to think of it in terms of limitation rather than gift. But I know that God didn't haphazardly assign me to a family and church I would be unable to serve; and my temperament, the things I love and the ways I encounter the world are not accidents either. This is another area where I have to walk by faith on a daily basis.

In summary, a lot of things feel open-ended right now. There's this waiting feeling. Even more than before, I'm being asked to trust without being able to see far ahead. (Or while my imagined scenarios are being lovingly papered over with something real.) Surrounded by the love of Christ's people, I certainly don't feel alone or without hope. It's unsettling, though. And just odd.

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