Monday, February 9, 2015

Preparing to #Leap (kid part 1)

When I prepared to #leap, I was very aware that it wasn't just me who was moving and transitioning, it was also my husband and my daughter.  When I started at my first two churches, I was single. Starting at a new place with a spouse and a child promised to be a very different thing.  

This is part 1 in a 3 part series:

When I met with the outgoing pastor, we talked about a lot of things.  We had an initial phone conversation that lasted about an hour and a half.  Then a face to face that was nearly 5 hours.  Multiple email exchanges and then about another hour to hour and a half at annual conference.  We did a good bit of talking before the transition. At some points it felt like way too much information and at others it felt like we had only scratched the surface.  We covered church history, leadership, vision, staffing, and finances.  We also covered a multitude of questions I had both as I thought my new place and things I wanted the incoming pastor to know for the place I was leaving.  Some of my questions were related to theory and some were more pragmatic.  

I remember one in particular because I was taken aback by the answer.  I asked, “So, on a Sunday morning, if you need help with your kids, who do you turn to?”  He asked, “What do you mean?”  It seemed like a straightforward and simple question to me, but I did my best to clarify, “I mean, say your wife is sick and you have the girls before worship and you need to do something, who helps with the kids?”  His response, “That’s never happened.”  Now, that may be the luxury of having a stay at home wife, or of being a man, or of some other weird quirk in the universe, whatever the case, I don’t really know how to explain it, or even understand it.  

I am the mother of a three year old, a well-behaved, intelligent, articulate, church-accustomed 3 year old and I can’t even imagine a world where needing help with her on a Sunday morning “has never happened.” From sick days, to tantrums, to unexpected counseling, to regular post-worship conversations, to diaper blow outs, to extended naps, I have had many occasions to need reinforcements.  And, at my last church, the one where I announced my pregnancy and shared my first months with my first born, I had a whole village of support and care.  No matter what the event, there always would have been someone to help with her.  Someone would have taken her at her best and in a screaming fit to help me do my job.  They were our church, but more importantly, they were her village.  They helped us raise our daughter, from time in the office, to time in the nursery, to babysitting at our house when I had Bible study or we had an emergency, they were there and I had a list of folks I could call on.

So, when I was anticipating a transition, I thought a lot about who I might turn to. Who would be there to help? Who would not mind taking a screaming child out of worship? Who could stay late to keep her entertained while I did this that or the other?  This was a big deal for me.  I felt pretty sure I could take whatever the church could dish out, but I wasn’t sure how my young child who only knew one home and one church would fare without “her people.” 

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