2010 comes to an end
I'm guessing I'm the several thousandth blog that is writing about the end if 2910 this week. But hey, it's a must to look back before moving on isn't it?
My initial thoughts about 2010 are all illness related. I've had swine flu, pneumonia twice, 4 lots of other chest infections, 2 lots of voice loss and the worst asthma since student days. Rachel has has awful asthma and heart scares and endless eye examinations. Even mike got flu before Christmas.
At times illness has really got me down; partly because it stops me doing what I want to do, partly because I stress about being so ill and mostly because I hate to be on my own very much and recovery requires rest which tends to be solitary. However the positive aspects of the whole endless illness is the way I have been forced to look at my life and the work I do for others and how it impacts me. As I give more of myself emotionally I need to protect myself, get support and feed my own emotional strength.
So what has this learning led to?
- ministerial support group - a termly meeting of people who support me including mike, Neil (vicar), area Llm advisor, church warden and close church friend. This will kick off in January to hear my family needs, work commitments, plans, aspirations etc and help me get the balance right.
- supervision with counsellor (separate from my own counselling) every 6 weeks to ensure I can hand over my concerns about inadequacies etc
- supervision with Neil every month and more as needed, purely to examine my pastoral role (as different from the rest of my ministry) and how it's taking it's toll
- being more open with my GP about what my life is "really" like
It's also helped me realise that Gods first calling on my life is as a wife and mother, in that role I need to be strong and healthy. The work I do for others is important, very much so, but He did not give us the miracle of Rachel for me not to have the energy to be there for her.
This means I have committed to only 2 evenings out a week at church meetings and the other evenings to actually rest. This doesn't seem like it will help Rachel because she will be in bed, but it will help me to be spending more time with Mike and therefore get him more involved in my concerns and therefore strengthen our family. The rest will also, hopefully, increase my health.
I've been required to write down everything I do, for whom and when; it's made me realise how crazy my average week can be! This has made me make some hard choices about what I can do and what needs to be handed over. I've found this unbelievably hard, I hate letting people down or thinking that I could do more, but it's a very real learning. I must stop raking every wait of the world on my own shoulders!
Of course this process has been helped by prayer and I think that is one of my main lessons this year.
Last year and most of this was all ministerial training portfolio related; lectures, reading, writing, reading and producing marked assignments. I found it hard at the beginning to be do academically focussed on faith, but then got fascinated and loved it (in the main). However all this intellectual examination of theology made me feel distanced from God, and the latter half of this year (with it's ill streak) has allowed me to reconnect with my prayer life and spiritual openness. I bow have a much more thorough understanding and grounding to my faith but I also have regained the relationship aspect which has always been so sustaining. And so I am back able to ask for help and accept guidance. Funny how this never stopped for sermon writing or pastoral care of others, but at least now I've remembered how to do it for me again.
2010 has been long, hard, challenging; and in the best way. It has taught me much about myself, my family, my calling and my ministry. This will be the year I will look back on and see much change. I think!
And now 2011 looms, the year I will become a licensed lay minister, the year I will try to get the balance right, the year I will learn to ask for help and support. Follow me and see how I get on.