It’s been a long time.
I knew I hadn’t written in a while – I fell out of the habit, and then a whole lot of life happened. More on that in a minute. But when I logged in and saw I hadn’t written a post since November 2020… What? How is that possible?
Writing used to be my lifeline, the way I got through the hardest experiences along the way. The trouble is, when the hard stuff you’re going through isn’t for public sharing, blogging isn’t the way to do it. But I also forget to journal about things when I’m not blogging, so I just internalize it all. No wonder I’ve been struggling off and on for the past few years. That, and y’know, it’s been the past few years with everything that came along with them.
Where do I even begin? First of all, if you’re not someone I stay in touch with regularly, you might not know that we moved twice in 2022. Two. Times. Not one but two ministry failures under our belts. In fact, neither of us is currently employed in church work, and I have no idea if we ever will be again (barring the occasional preaching gigs for him).
I miss living in Fort Worth. It’s a great city, and I have some great friends there. But even before we moved, the city had changed thanks to Covid. It used to be a place with a fun downtown, complete with free valet parking and an open square used for things like a giant Christmas tree and a crazy New Year’s Eve party. We would go to comedy shows and movies, grab dinner, and even splurge for a Broadway production at the beautiful Bass Hall. During Covid, the square was shut down, the valet parking went away, and when it returned they were charging for it. I get that the economy affected everything like that, and I don’t blame them. But I miss what it was. And they took an extraordinarily long time to reopen the square. Truthfully, I’m not certain that they did yet since we haven’t lived there in over a year (though I’d be surprised if they didn’t).
Meanwhile, ministry changed drastically for us during the pandemic. Suddenly we were doing everything online, and losing touch with members. On top of that, politics became a THING that would not be ignored, and we found ourselves at odds with members and further losing connections. By the summer of 2021, Travis needed a break due to the stress, but it didn’t go away when he came back to work. During the fall, we made a lot of difficult decisions, including walking away from our church. It still breaks my heart, and there was a lot of fault on our part for how things happened.
In October, I was connected to a congregation in Plano, a northern suburb of Dallas. They were looking for a DCE, and I needed a job. Sounds like a perfect fit, doesn’t it? In hindsight, mutual need doesn’t make for an ideal match. It took a while, but in May of last year I was officially commissioned and installed in my first call as a DCE. By September, I found myself resigning.
I might get into the details of why eventually, but it’s currently far too raw and painful for me to begin processing. I feel like I failed, and like others failed me. Despite serving at the biggest church I have ever been part of, I was lonelier than I’ve been since my freshman year of college. I will forever be grateful for the coaching that our district provides for church workers, because walking through it with someone outside of the situation enabled me to make the decision to walk away.
Here’s the beauty of how God works – I was in a zoom meeting with my coach, making the decision to resign my call. I logged off, and my husband came in to tell me he had been offered a job in Lubbock, one with better pay and and signing bonus and moving expenses. After him spending most of 2022 underemployed, working for three different jobs along the way, this was a lifeline for both of us. I started to scroll through Indeed job listings and stumbled on a part-time position at the local food bank, teaching nutrition classes. I applied and was hired, and I’ve been here since November.
Y’all, I love the work I’m doing. I’m definitely going to be writing more about that in the future, because I’ve started to notice just how much food and faith intersect in this world. When I re-worked my resume for this job application, I found I didn’t have to change much. Every single ministry I’ve been involved in through the years had plenty of food-related pieces to it. Sometimes it was giving food away. Sometimes it was potlucks. Even my last church, which DOESN’T HAVE A KITCHEN, involved a whole lot of feeding people. Youth ministry: if you know, you know.
While I wish my work wasn’t just part time, it’s been good and restful for me to have extra time each week. It’s helping me heal. I could complain about lower pay, but that’s the world of non-profits. I need my work to be meaningful more than I need a huge paycheck. What I do matters, and the organization I am working for is so amazing, and those two things matter more than any salary.
I’m reluctant to make declarations about how often I will be writing here, but I’m going to try. I’ve got a lot of thoughts percolating on this idea of food and faith, and I’m starting to notice Bible verses that bring both together. So here’s hoping I can stick to it! I want to use this season where I have extra time and energy to put more into writing, whether on this blog or working on a book about our journey. Thanks for sticking with me along the way!