Wow, it's so bittersweet to even type that sentence.
17 YEARS of a job that really feels more like a way of life for us, and all of that is about to change.
But WE have changed.
I look back on who I was just five years ago, and it's like sometimes I don't really know her anymore. (I should probably write more about that at some point.) I know Marc would say the same, too.
In our process of sanctification, we've grown and we've changed. Through the circumstances in our life, God has steered our path away from campus ministry and more towards a love for the city, a love for the poor, and a heart for justice and racial reconciliation.
My counselor says we've undergone "major identity shifts" in recent years as we've raised a black son, lived in a poor urban neighborhood, and taken students on mission trips to the inner city each year. Those things can't help but change you.
There was a huge tension of what I was pondering all week in my neighborhood and how it was connecting (or not) to Sunday morning. We were living in two vastly different worlds, which was terribly confusing and painfully isolating.
Change and transformation IS painful and even traumatic. God has been pulling us away from the life we had before ("old life," if you read that previous blog post) and we are slowly entering into an unfamiliar, yet exciting "new life." We've carefully and thoughtfully left jobs and churches and schools and people we've loved, and each decision felt more painful than the one before.
(Can I give a quick shout out to our wonderful therapists at this point? Seriously. They've walked us through so many life transitions and we don't know what we would've done without them. Everybody, go find a great therapist!)
But at each step, we knew it was inching us towards "new life." Towards freedom to pursue the things we feel called to pursue.
But here's the thing....what's crazy is that we've stepped out into a wilderness with no next job lined up. We literally have NO idea what's next for us job-wise. How's that for scary? (I mean, faith-building? haha)
But what we DO know and feel confidence in is that we're on the right path. We know it's time for a break from vocational ministry before whatever lies ahead, which is only possible financially from selling one of our rental properties.
Our plan in the meantime is to focus on our rental properties and my Airbnb job. Doing houses together has always been our hobby. It's hard work, but it's so rewarding. We can't wait to work together as a team. We'll be intentionally seeking rest and spiritual & emotional nourishment, too. In some ways, we know specifics of what that means, and in other ways, we're still trying to figure out from where/whom that nourishment will come.
Marc's sister gave a good analogy that comes to my mind each day as we prepare for this transition into the wilderness.... \
It's night outside.
We're in a car driving with the headlights on.
From inside the car, we can only see a few feet ahead to what the headlights reveal in the darkness.
We can't look ahead or plan ahead because we just can't see very far in the dark.
But what we CAN do is keep going those few feet ahead, and when we do, the headlights will then show us the next few feet, and so on.
It's kinda like walking by faith and not by sight.
The "headlights" are showing us our next steps are to finish RUF in May and begin a season of rest from ministry. I don't know how long that season will be, or where we'll end up after it's over. I don't know what turns and twists are up ahead. Many days that's frightening. (My emotions are so all-over the place that I'm just learning to accept them and try to ride the waves...)
But I suppose as we inch ahead in what IS revealed, God will make our path clearer and brighter little by little.