This week, I found myself rejoicing and offering up so many prayers of thanks. Two major things have happened in my life and I can’t help but reflect on all the people in my life who have supported me.
The first piece is that I am working as a therapist full time in a place where I get to meet women everyday during some of the hardest times in their lives. We get to sit in my office or in a group therapy session, and I get to remind them of their worth and empower them by hearing their stories and uplifting their strengths and validating their pain. We have tough conversations. Really tough conversations. Sometimes the outcomes are heartbreaking and sometimes they are heart soaring. I am so grateful for the mentor in my life, a fellow pastor and therapist, who helped connect me to this job. I do not take her help lightly and I hope I can pay it forward someday.
Ministry has been connecting me and reminding me of so many things this year. So it’s fitting to share this next piece: (Deep breath…)
A church has called me to be their quarter time associate minister, quarter time (10-15 hours a week.) I am humbled and so grateful to work with this church, their pastor, and the Twin Cities communities. This position is ordainable, so I will be getting ordained to ministry this fall.
A year ago, two years ago– I didn’t think this would ever happen for me. I was sitting out on the prairies of South Dakota feeling called but so lost. Surrounded by amazing people that I had met, but so lonely for church community. I am so glad to be connected with this church and especially humbled to be called to ordainable ministry.
After the announcement was made public, I wanted to celebrate but wasn’t able to find anyone to celebrate with, so I took some time to just reflect on my journey.
My grandparents both died while I was in South Dakota. They bought me my clergy robe. I remember touching the sleeve of it, all tucked away in my parent’s guest bedroom, the days following my grandmother’s funeral. I acknowledged that neither of them lived to see me ordained. Neither of them lived to see me married, either. Or have kiddos. It was such a lonely feeling, the kind of lonely when you miss the life you so desperately wanted to have.
I used to call it wanting normal. As I kid, I kept imagining life as growing up, going to college, getting a career, getting married, having kids. As an adult– my life has been anything but following that pattern. But I have to admit, as an adult, there have been so many nights where I stayed up late just praying to God to “make me normal.” Now I see that my “not normal” has made me a good minister. An inviting chaplain. A skilled therapist. A good friend. It’s made me find life outside of normal and invite others who feel like they are misfits in their lives to come together and be brave in our weirdness, our “not normal.” 34 years in this life has taught me that I am okay, just as I am. And if I am okay, you are okay, too. I would like to think my grandparents would be proud of that. They were always supportive of my ministry as a woman. I saw a Facebook post tonight that said, “Your grandmother’s prayers are still protecting you.” It touched my heart to be reminded that we are loved deeply at all times by people in our lives who have died. Our strength is a sign of those from our past, generations building upon generations. I am so grateful for the people in my past and in my present, in heaven and on earth.
I am doing work I love doing. My life is not at all how I thought it would be. The pain has made me push forward. I don’t know if I am a better person– but I do know it’s allowed me to sit with others in pain and create space and remind them that even when we are alone, we are never alone or absent of love. Love is always around. Thank God for that.