The last month of our lives has been one of major transition. We have moved from the suburbs of Chicago back to Wichita. We've moved into a new rental home,and begun the long process of figuring out what life after school really looks like.
I already feel like I'm in a near-perfect placement as the associate pastor in a large, thriving church. I'm fortunate that with a large staff, I've been able to spend the last month "getting a feel for things" asking questions and watching the daily, weekly and now monthly rhythms of ministry in my particular setting. I'm keenly aware that if I were the sole pastor somewhere, I'd have to dive in a bit faster.
As I have been trying to figure out where I fit into the rhythm of work here at church, PreacherDad and I have been trying to figure out what the rhythms of our home life will look like. His schedule as a chaplain resident is a set 8-5 M-F plus at least one 12 hour on call shift each week. (this should be the same night most weeks, but may move from time to time.)
Being a preacher means that Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings baby J will be in the church nursery. So, we're trying to work my schedule so that including those times, James is in childcare less than 40 hours a week. (30 hours/week would be my ideal situation)
Since PreacherDad's schedule is set by someone else, I'm really feeling the weight of finding a schedule that puts me at work enough to be available, useful and productive but that also allows me to spend some time with J during some of his waking hours. I still believe it is possible and necessary to set healthy family life patterns as a pastor, but I am beginning to grasp just how tough it is going to be.
In the meantime,right on the heels of this article, PreacherDad and I are sending baby J off to his grandma's for a week and heading to Sunny Southern California for a much needed vacation this week.
We are celebrating 5 years of marriage, survival of a major medical event, two seminary degrees and a beautiful little boy, and doing our part to reduce clergy burnout one sunny california day at a time!