First. Last. In between. It's all swirling around in my head these days. Things are surreal.
This morning as the kids were eating breakfast I told them, "this is mommy's last week of work. Next week I'll be home every day with you." That doesn't seem real. Gracie said "then you'll have a different job." And I replied, "no, not for a while."
Over eight years now of being a mother, and I will finally be a stay at home mom. For at least few months. I'm about to turn 35 and I'm making a career change. Over 11 years as a pastor and now I'm going to become a nurse. It's been a desire, a dream, since I was a kid. But God clearly directed me into ministry and I have loved it. Sure it has it's challenges like any job or career, but it has been so incredibly fulfilling.
And yet, it's time for a change. I want to wake up on Sundays and get my girls dressed and head to church as a family. I want to go to work, do my job, come home and know someone else has taken my place and I don't have to think about a thing. The idea of working a few 12 hour shifts a week and devoting the rest of my time to my family is very appealing.
Because the fact is, Miss Rose is almost half-way done with her time under our roof. That is mind-boggling. I realize she will probably spend more than 18 years dependent on us, but still. These years they fly by. And I don't want to miss anything. I want to minister to my kids first and foremost.
Yes, that's possible while working as a pastor too--I've been doing it all their lives. But for me, for right now, I just know this is where God is leading me. He has been for a few years. It's been a time of growing and faith-building and faith-walking. Learning obedience, sacrifice, trust and sovereignty.
I knew 11 years ago, when I accepted my first pastoral job that I wouldn't be a pastor for life. There was just something deep in me that knew. I have struggled a bit. Because it's all I've known. It's all I've been. So many relationships and networks I'm a part of are because of my role as a pastor.
It's time to find a new part of me. My call to ministry remains the same and I know I won't be able to stay uninvolved in church life for long. But this is a new season.
So I finish out my last few days in the office. Packing. Cleaning. Going through files and draws. Reminiscing. In front of me is a large bulletin board full of pictures. I may wait until Sunday to take those down. They are my family and my ministry through the last 7-1/2 years at this church.
I'm sad. Excited. Anxious.
I'm at peace.