On January 1 of this year, I left my well-paying job to set out on my own and become Free Range. It has been an amazing time as I have been exploring what it means to be a priest in the world, not serving a congregation or any other institutional role. I have worked with several churches, a few clergy people, another denomination, and done lots of stuff online. I taught a homiletics class in Minnesota and I spent some time in Texas. I wrote a book, and I will have a new blog soon. All in all, it has been wonderful, if not quite lucrative, yet. What has not been so wonderful is that five months after I voluntarily left stable full-time employment, my husband involuntarily left full-time employment when the department he worked in at his company was restructured. So for the past several months, we have both been free range! And we continue to be, as Jeff still looks for new opportunities, and I continue to grow my ministry. It had been a real adventure.
Every day we pray, and every day we give thanks for our incredible blessings, especially our love, our family and friends, our health and well-being. So many people we know and love have faced challenges this year, so much harder than ours. We know it's just money we are worried about, which in the grand scheme of things is nothing compared to what is really important.
Still, feeling unmoored from the regular work and life schedule also brings questions for both of us: what am I being called to be and do? How do I offer my gifts to the world? What is, at its base, the meaning of security and safety? Lots of big 'meaning of life' type questions.
And lots of big God questions. We absolutely pray for guidance, and blatantly for work! And we know God loves us and that we are blessed with resources to carry us through this uncertain time. And beyond this, the question of what does God wish us to learn here? What is this time of waiting for?
I am not one of those 'everything happens for a reason' kind of people, and I don't believe that God ever asks us to suffer. But I do believe God is present in everything, everywhere, and so it is hard not to look for meaning when things are not going my way. To look for love.
And I have been so surprised by the love of those who have been praying for us, reaching out to us, and some amazing saints who have been helping Jeff, especially, with work leads and introductions. In the end, this is what we are both learning, I think: we are not alone. We are surrounded by love, and that is really what matters.
It will be awesome when this time of waiting is over, and we can move on with 'regular' life, whatever that looks like. I have high hopes for 2017. But in the meantime, we are both perfecting our sense of gratitude, and of patience (particularly hard for me!) and of faith. We are learning, every day, all the ways we are blessed. All the ways we are loved.