This past Sunday was my last Sunday at my church for a while.
This summer I will be going on a leave of absence. Twelve years of stressful ministry experiences (6 of them doing ministry while simultaneously homeschooling) have taken their toll. At a previous job, I worked 80-120+ hour weeks. We moved 5 times in 3 years. My husband has had 3 changes of employment in the last 2 years. As a result, the past three years I’ve had major sleep problems.
Two weeks ago, I was diagnosed with health issues due to long-term stress and was advised to take at least a 3 month leave of absence and disengage entirely from ministry.
For someone who has worked since high school (or been a stay-at-home mom, which is more than full time!), and who enjoys being busy and productive, a summer off is going to be a challenge! But I also have to be honest in saying that working has been difficult lately. My body has just said enough is enough. (This is part of the reason why there haven’t been any posts lately!)
Besides rest and a prescribed plan for recovery for me to follow, I’ve also been told I need to do relaxing activities and learn to try more ways of enjoying life. I knew I was in trouble when a friend suggested just going downtown to get myself an ice cream cone or reading in a coffee shop and realized such an idea had never occurred to me. Still seems like a weird concept.
So, this summer will definitely be an experience. I’m more comfortable working and getting stuff done but God is stretching me in new ways that I know will grow me in my faith and restore my body and spirit. I am thankful for the church staff, leaders and congregation that have been so supportive through this process. God is gracious through this season. I look forward to learning about and receiving rest so that I can be healthy for the long term.