I was having coffee with a good friend last week and she was telling me all about the exciting new things going on her life. Her family recently accepted a senior/lead pastor position and this if the first time for them in this kind of a role. I was so curious to hear what it was like to transition from a youth pastor’s wife to a lead pastor’s wife. It was a fun conversation and at the end of it she started talking about how excited she is for Jeremy and I and that we could something like this as well. I have to be honest, it’s always flattering when people think that you’d be a good lead pastor. However, Jeremy and I have never been called to move up the ladder. Some people take children’s pastor roles as a starting point – kind of a like the bottom rung of pastoral ministry, but we’ve never looked at it that way. As flattering as these suggestions are, unless God something says something different, it’s children’s ministry all the way for Jeremy and myself.
It’s always tempting to dream of living in an area where there is a Starbucks, Costco, Target, Panda Express, etc. near by. Lewis County is still pretty rural and let’s face it, Walmart can only be so exciting… But I don’t want to trade it! I was voted most likely to leave and never come back in high school. I would frequently rant about Lewis Country and how I couldn’t wait to get out of here. God has a sense of humor though…. I’ve now lived here going on 15 years (I included my college years because even though I was in Portland, OR, I came home a lot – I couldn’t pass up free laundry, good food and my boyfriend). Moving back after college was a bit of transition. When Jeremy and I were first married I would want to go to Walmart at 11:00pm because it was the only place open 24 hours and I was used to more places being open late in Portland. I’m positive that Jeremy thought I was crazy. But I’ve adapted to this being home. I love the fact that first class of girls I taught will be graduating this year and that I’ve been a part of their lives for so long. I love the history I have with them. I love the fact that post-it notes I wrote in high school are still taped under one of the teacher’s desk. I love that my name is on a Les Mis poster in the local theater and students have pointed it out to me. There is something about being in one place for a while. You really get to see the growth over time and be part of many exciting phases for both the area and the people.
Ministry can be very transitional and I’m not saying that Jeremy and I will be here forever. I don’t make assumptions or play guessing games with my future. All I know is I’m not planning on going anywhere. In the 8 years that Jeremy has been children’s pastor at Bethel, we’ve known multiple pastors who have transitioned to at least 3 different churches in that time. I feel so blessed in a job that can be so transitional that we’ve had longevity in a place we love. Our family is here and even though a lot of our high school friends have moved away to the big cities, we still get to see them and hang out. Lewis County might be rural, but I don’t feel isolated here. I feel blessed. I am thankful for a place to work and serve. Being at my home church for so many years has allowed me a depth of relationship and history that I am grateful for. I thankful for my home and for my quiet days and my little dog. I’m thankful for the students who have colored my world and made children’s ministry the place to be. I would have never guessed that putting down roots here would be so good!