I haven't been blogging much recently. Other responsibilities, illness and life in general just seem to take over...plus I spend a lot of time journalling my pastoral ministry which includes encounters I need to keep confidential. I am not planning to stop blogging, as some things I just need to put out there.
BUT, in a way, the blog accompanied me stepping out into 'official' ministry, it went alongside the theological training which comes to an end this month. THIS MONTH! This is not to say I won't always be learning how to deal pastorally with people, or cease theological enquiry, as these things are just a part of me now. But my formal teaching by our Diocese, which started back in 2009 (before ThirdSister arrived, who is now almost 2!) is going to wrap up soon. And I am ready for a short break from the intensive weekly study nights.
In a way I'll be bereft, because this three-year continuity has been the longest I have studied something since the last time I studied something (which was the social anthropology of mobile technology, for my PhD, if anyone is interested....) But at the same time, as I mentioned above, the cessation of formal teaching doesn't mean the learning is ended, and in fact, I will be officially 'commissioned' as a lay minister in the Church of England in late summer/early Autumn which not only starts a new chapter, but necessitates ongoing learning and reflecting from the existing and new work I take on in and around church.
It's possible that the summer I envisage I'm going to have, with no weekly study nights, no dropping FirstSister and SecondSister off at school and having to pick up, taking in free museums and art galleries and possibly potty training ThirdSister, may not pan out the way I envisage. At the start of our 6-week chunk of school free time we will stay in a Holiday House with our friends (an annual thing - we are now up to 12 adults and 15 children) but then there is little planned other than a day trip or two to the seaside. It will be a rest from routine and study and my blogging may drop off. (or, it may pick up.)
AS the other thing that is continuing is the development of my enquiry into ordination as a priest in the Church of England. This was always there before I started the lay ministry course, which has confirmed my pastoral strengths but also been an affirmation of God's calling to possible ordination. So there will be more reading, thinking and reflection in this area as well as my regular Bible Study and prayer time. Perhaps I really will take the summer 'off' (although it's impossible to do this, as I'll always dip into the life of a saint or two on my Kindle!) and allow things to recharge...I often find this is when I can make inspired theological leaps, while I'm somewhat inattentive to study but my channel to God is fully receptive on a non-academic and more emotional level. And I know that while having this idyllic image of 'hanging out with the children', 'just' being a mother (which is what I am first and foremost anyway) is somewhat foolish - especially with the potty training! - a little break is right at this time. And, as ever, the rest is in God's hands. So, if you don't hear from me, you know why.
And now it's time to play with ThirdSister before my grocery delivery arrives :-)