February 28, 2011

I remember very clearly the excitement Mike and I felt the night he was ordained Elder. Mike, had finished seminary at Duke and had one year of ministry under his belt. His life of ministry was beginning. Now, with his intended retirement slated for June 30, I find myself wanting time to stand still. I want to savor every second of these final months of his career as well as "my career" as a pastor's wife. Although I've always said, "I am Mike's wife first, then I am a pastor's wife," I didn't realize how much my heart was attached to the people in this last congregation.

There are a few ministries that I began at the church and others in which I participated, all of which brought me into contact with individuals who have become dear. I find myself dealing with sadness and grief -- something I really did not anticipate, but after nearly sixteen years in one church, I should have realized that moving on should be hard.

However, I have never moved on in quite this way before. There are so many decisions we have to make -- the biggest one for me being, "Where do I attend church?" I am hard pressed to decide on one United Methodist church since there are many outstanding churches close by. Those offering advice have ranged from telling me not to find a church for awhile; i.e., stay at home on Sunday morning, to finding a church in a different denomination. Then Mike told me repeatedly through the years that when he retired I could choose the church for us to attend. Now, he is saying, "We need to make this decision together," and I agree.

I think I like the old system better -- the church where I worship, is where my husband is employed. There is a lot to say for adapting to a church, making it your own and seeing how God can grow your life. The option of choosing a church, for me right now, seems a bit overwhelming. I like one ministry better at one church or another church emphases ministry to the poor, which I like -- and on and on. Websites are so helpful because they paint a picture of the church where I might want to invest myself.

So I go back to the way I've always lived my life -- trusting God to care for me and asking God to increase my faith because I know there is a church where we can connect, stay, and see how God will grow our lives' in this new phase of living.

God, I want to seek you always, I pray that you increase my faith and trust in you. Give me the wisdom and discernment I need to go where you want me to go. Amen.

Jacquie Reed, Fishers, Indiana

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