Relax: God is in Charge!

Rest. Wait. Slow down. Listen. Be still. In our ministry, these are the words that we preach but find very difficult to practice. During the season of Advent, as we prepared the members of our two parishes for the coming of Christ and readying them to enjoy the hope and expectation that comes with His birth, we were simply hoping that we could sustain our energy long enough to get through it ourselves!

The four week season began with celebrations of Mary, a newly established parish Holy Hour, and the hosting of a musical program called Behold the Lamb of God. Directly on the heels of Advent began the preparations for Christmas Liturgies: creating spaces for all the extra parishioners, finding musicians, organizing Liturgical ministers, tweaking sounds systems, setting up video cameras, and more! It was a lot of work but to see so many people come to make worship a part of their Christmas celebration was heartening.  I can’t forget to mention the staff Christmas party, held at our apartment, and a chili cook-off. Christmas was also a time to visit family, which comes with its own little delights and intricacies.

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                             Chili Cook-off

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Chili Cook Off Winners

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Taste testing at the Cook-Off

Me and Andy

Fellow Religious Ed. Coordinators

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                  Staff Christmas Party

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Covenant Renewal at the Presbyterian Church

Covenant Renewal at the Presbyterian Church

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                           Home Visit

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Our Lady of Guadalupe Mass

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Our Lady of Guadalupe Mariachi band

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Joint Staff at Joni Volkert’s going away party

Now on the other side of the Advent and Christmas season, Sr. Pam and I are taking the time to look back, reflect, and bask in the wonder and the joy of it all as well as the ways God spoke to us in the midst of our ministry and our lives.

We thought that, in January, all things would return to their normal schedule. Now in ordinary time, we expected to find ourselves recovering from the holiday hustle and bustle, finding a time to rest and slow down. But God has had other plans. There have been cancellations due to weather and meetings to reschedule. There have been unexpected deaths and funerals to plan. There are phone calls to be completed and connections to be made. For many we know and work with, there is the aftermath of holiday family drama to deal with. Much as the fields rest and the animals hibernate, we had hoped to be doing the same in this post-holiday time. Flexibility has become our new best friend!

Resting, waiting, being still, and slowing down are not easy. These things will always be a challenge because we are in ministry. It is important to look for those times and, when they are presented to us, to use them well. We are learning not to fill up unexpected free time with something else but take advantage of those God-given moments. We are learning to just BE.

Lesson #4

The winter season, with all of its special events, snowy weather, and dark days, is always a reminder that God is in charge. As much as we long for warmth, for rest, for calm, for normalcy, we must remember that even in this time of busyness and what seems to be irregular and sometimes chaotic, there is still good to be seen, there is still love to share, there is still beauty in the darkness, there is still life under all the snow.

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6 thoughts on “Relax: God is in Charge!

  1. annemarielom says:

    I’ve been waiting for another posting and here it is. Thank you for sharing your pastoral life with us. Parish ministry has its own unique rhythms and sequences. I love it that flexibility is your friend… as you now gear up for Lent!

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  2. thank you for your reflections. One of the reasons I find it difficult to slow down (or to say “no”) is that people in different aspects of ministry don’t usually realize that others are tugging, too. Each person’s needs are primary, and when a few primary needs happen at the same time a minister is pulled in different directions. Finding ways to step out, to pray and rest are so important. Jesus did it–and his example is the one I need to remember and follow.

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    • visitation2 says:

      Yes! Thank you, Madeline! We say that often! What one person thinks may be a simple request might actually be another to-do on our already maxed out list. It is so important to learn to say no and not feel guilty about it! We are no good to anyone without time and space for self, for rejuvenation.

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    • annemarielom says:

      Nice to see you commenting here, Madeline. I appreciate your interest!

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  3. Sister Caritas says:

    Sister Regina Rose…I’m thrilled that “Flexibility has become your best friend!” God truly has a sense of humor when it comes to scheduling, rescheduling and the unscheduled that finds its way into our daily lives. No matter how well planned we attempt to be, God loves to just kind of throw a “little happening” in that makes us bend…and stay flexible. Life is never dull for us, is it!! Blessings on all your sharings. They bring us closer to God and His love for each of us.

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  4. Sister Caritas Strodthoff says:

    Hi Sister Regina Rose, Very good article. Loved it. Printed it and have added it to the Pastorallypondering Annals box. Blessing son your day and especially your Lenten season. Take care. Have a great weekend at the Motherhouse. I’ll be on Retreat!! See you Sa turday evening.

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