10/1/14

sick days for a woman in youth ministry



It's been awhile since I've taken a sick day. About 5 months ago in mid-may I had a severe 24 hour stomach bug. Let me spare you the details. On that Sunday in May, I had to text a colleague to fill in for me on Baptism Sunday, which totally sucked. I was looking forward to confidently stepping into my pastoral role and being able to actually baptize someone. Previous to working where I do now, administering the sacrament of Baptism was a pastoral and male only privilege.  I wasn't allowed to baptize any of my students in my previous youth ministry position at a conservative mega church.  I finally had the equality I'd always hoped for, but was too sick to show up. Anyways...that's another subject and thankfully there will be more opportunities to baptize in the future.  Baptism days or youth group days...there is never really a good time to get sick, is there?

Sick days. Whether you are single or married, have kids or not, there are sick days. They never consult your calendar before disrupting your life. You can do things like get adequate rest, eat right, and take your vitamins to help stay healthy, but at some point you are going to get sick. Most of the time sick days are not all too convenient. They are usually on weeks where you have a zillion things to do and meetings you don't want to miss.  Most of the time I take my Dayquill, grab some kleenex and plow right through anyways. Taking zero time to slow down, because who has time for that?

But what if you are feeling really crappy? You feel so terrible that you have to leave the office early, put on your pj's and drop yourself in bed. Has that happened to you?  That was my yesterday. I shut my computer, left my office and hid in bed for the rest of the night and the following day.  Because being a mom, or single, or married, or a student...there are times where sickness is a little annoying gift forcing you to slow down. At the end of chapter 15, in the book A Woman in Youth Ministry, I share this:

I remember a wise and witty woman named Monica who worked on a Christian Education committee with me back in my Presby days. As she was heading out the door one day to get back to her family, she said: "When the kids are sick and life has to stop, I take it as God's way of telling me to slow down."    


Let yourself slow down a little. Or a lot. Maybe you are not fleeing for your life or being persecuted like Elijah fleeing to Horeb in 1 Kings 19, but may you like Elijah, lie down to rest and to eat and recover from all that ails you. After a long nap, I awoke to my husband preparing chicken noodle soup and buttering a fresh loaf of french bread. "Come, rest, and eat" he said to me. And like the prophet Elijah, but with a lot less drama going on, that is what I did.


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