It has been quiet on the newsletter front for awhile. The last couple of months have brought about dramatic changes, the biggest of which I could not disclose until the time was right. A little over two weeks ago, my husband and I announced our resignation from the lead pastorate we share in Mountain Home, Idaho. I have accepted the position as the Campus Pastor (formerly titled Chaplain) at Mount Vernon Nazarene University in Mount Vernon, Ohio. (Read more about it here!)
These past three weeks have been a wild ride in our house with three separate trips to three very different parts of the country. I love ya, Southwest, but we need some space. It's not you, it's definitely me.
It never fails. I sign up for a conference, excited to see friends and family, eager to learn new things, giddy about attending a worship service I am not in charge of for once…and then it hits. The pre-conference panic.
This is not your typical Top Ten (or in my case, Top Twelve) book list. This is not a list of the best books that have hit the market in the last year. Quite literally, there are NO hot takes in this post.
On a scale of 1-10, how geeked out are for the beginning of Advent tomorrow?
I am a 20…as in 20 Advent-purple fingers and toes.
I hesitated to sign-up to pre-read Courtney Ellis’ book Uncluttered for a couple of reasons. First, the title alone, Uncluttered, made it very clear to me that this book would have something to say to me and my often-very cluttered life. Second, the author Courtney Ellis is, like myself, a co-pastor with her husband, a writer (um, obviously? She wrote the book…), and a mom to littles. Why would so much affinity with an author give me such pause? Because I knew she would not only “get it”, she would also see through my sanctimonious excuses as to why my cluttered life was a special kind of holy and thus merited a free pass. Rude.
Yesterday, a pastor friend of mine shared a post from a church I did not know, Inland Hills Church. The church was announcing the passing of their pastor from depression and anxiety. Their pastor had died by suicide.
Like the thousands of people that read the post, my heart broke for the congregation, for the family of this pastor, and for the pastor himself who had clearly suffered under the weight of mental illness. But unlike many who reacted to the news, I empathized deeply with the pastor. I too have suffered for years from depression and anxiety. This past February, I reacted badly to a medication change and within 24 hrs. was thrust back into the pit of depression, ideation and all. (Ideation is mental-illness speak for suicidal thoughts. Less scary to say outloud, or at least less shocking to the listener.)
It’s one of those memories that gets etched into your memory, totally against your will. I was a baby-pastor, not a pastor of babies, just a ridiculously young pastor, a few months away from taking my ordination vows.