Poison Dart Frogs are some of the tiniest and beautiful creatures on the planet; they are also incrediably deadly. So, why call this blog "Tiny Dart Frog"? It goes back to the old adage - good things come in small packages. We are all created exactly as God has intended - unique, strong, and beautiful.
It's January. If you were not reading this, you would've heard an audible sigh.
I hate January..okay hate, is a strong word. I don't even like my children to use that word. I tell them I prefer 'strongly dislike.'
I realized this morning that I haven't blogged much this month, which means I haven't been pondering much, which means I've felt a little diconnected with God. (Yes, I'm a pastor, so I'm probably supposed to feel connected), but...
Truthfully, I do feel connected with God in the way that I know God is connected to me, but...it's January. And I strongly dislike January. It's harder for me to see God when it's dark all the time, even though I know God sees me. It's harder for me to feel God's warmth when it's 15 degrees, even though I know God is my shelter. It's harder for me to rest in the presence of God when I know if I sit down I'm just going to fall asleep, because....it's dark all the time, because it's January.
See, I am in a viscious circle.
It's also almost February - which isn't a whole lot better (about now, I bet you're thrilled your reading this...). But just around the corner from February is March, which gives me hope. In my mind I'm wondering if in some weird way I should be thankful for the "Januaries" because they enable me to see the "Aprils" so much better.
So, I'm just sort-of wondering...in the middle of January, where do you see God? Come on, April.
I've been looking at a little orange light on my dashboard for, oh....about 4 weeks. The light says,
I looked down at my odometer which read, "52,000". I figure that light's just on telling me I'm over-do for my 50,000 mile check. "No big deal," I think.
Then I looked at the sticker on my windshield which also told me I was overdue for an oil change~by 2000 miles. "Hmmm..probably still okay, but better put that on my to-do list," I think.
This morning I climbed in my car and another light was on.
Out of windshield wiper fluid.
"Okay, okay," I thought, "I get the message."
My poor van. I do this all the time - push things to the limit and then wonder why they conk out on me.
Just before I climbed in my car this morning I had had a conversation with a friend about taking care of himself - getting sleep, taking a break. My whole logic was if you just keep pushing and pushing, then...you're not going to be effective. Essentially, you're going to break down and not run.
I am one to talk though...I forget my limits often. We all do, don't we? We forget our "personal maintenance," whether that's exercise, sleep, prayer, time with family, days off - the list could go on.
So, when I take my van in and I have to sit there in the chilly Jiffy Lube, I'm going to try to remember that it's not just my van that needs maitenance. I'm going to try to take that time as an opportunity for my personal maintenance.
MAINT REQD...don't let the lights begin to flash before something is done.
And, yes, I'm hoping the gas light's not on when I climb in later on this evening...haven't checked that in awhile either.
I've been thinking a lot about church lately. I've recently been ordained as a pastor, so I guess that's a good thing. I thought my years of study, my life experiences, and my life-long experience with church had prepared me well...and they had, they did. There was a ceremony - which was exciting. There were prayers - which made me cry. There were friends and family - which made me feel amazingly loved. And then....I was a pastor. At least, I was declared a pastor.
Here's what I am realizing though....the actual "becoming," takes a bit of time, takes a little growing into. And the truth is, even when I am worried or stressed, the "becoming" is so much more than I ever dreamed.
On Becoming a Pastor
Flushed cheeks and shaky whisper...
with heavy hands of God's promise
on her head.
how the Spirit weaves hearts to churches
so delicately -
with strength of a whirlwind and the softness of a sigh.
how one's heart finds a new home
so quickly -
with the aching joy of bursting.
She worries, she hopes, she cries, and she laughs.
She remembers God's promise
to soothe worries, to be her hope, to wipe away tears, and be her joy.
This is, she is coming to see, what becoming a pastor means.
My name is Christine Stephan, although I answer mostly to Mom or Pastor.
I am a Lutheran pastor for an amazing group of Jesus' disciples just outside Washington DC AND a mom to 3 of the best boys in the universe.
I blog here about family and faith and frustrations....That thing we call 'life'.
My boys are passionate about all things legos, anything involving a ball, video games, and chocolate.
I am an avid runner, a lover of interesting books and deep conversation, a very amateur writer, and also a lover of chocolate.
I also love theology (which is weird, I know), but I don't love theology more than Jesus.
This blog is hardly ever profound, but it is real. As a pastor and I mom, I find 'real' to be more helpful in my journey with Jesus than crossing all the t's and dotting all the i's.