My kids reached ages when, for the first time, I could genuinely utter the cliché, “I wish they could stay this age forever.” They are fun, articulate, kind, and loving kids—showering me with more love than I deserve. When Tristan was 2-years-old, I wanted him to stay that age forever. Then I had a baby, and life and parenting became overwhelming. But now, I have two little people who are increasingly independent. They have ideas, concerns, and dreams. They are aware of, and compassionate toward, the people around them. I still want to pull out my hair occasionally, but less often than a year or two years ago, and I find delight in my kids.
My marriage strengthened, and we re-connected. We still fight for adult conversation and quality time amid young kids and full-time jobs, but we’re surrounded by a great support system of people who love our kids and believe in our marriage. Like the cheesy line in one of the songs we loved as teenagers says, we’re each other’s greatest fans. We admire each other, sometimes to the point of jealousy, we believe in each other, and we’re maturing well together. I sometimes get a glimpse of the naïve, passionate teenagers we were, and I also see the place we’re headed; both sights give me joy.
Both my husband and I are growing up and into new roles at work/church. I suspect that will make 2013 a defining year in my life—the year “youth pastor” stopped defining me. I’m still fumbling my way into new roles, feeling humble and insecure as I venture into new areas. It’s good. It’s time. It’s hard, and nothing puts me in my happy place like reverting back to Angie, the Youth Pastor, when the opportunity arises. The biggest surprise to me is the role preaching is beginning to play in my job and in my calling. I wrote and preached a sermon about Ruth and Naomi this summer that was an important step for me.
I lost 12 pounds in 2013! Someone who hadn't seen me in a while saw me walk on stage to preach and thought, “Who is that thin blonde? Oh my gosh, it’s Angie!” December 2012 found me at a weight I hope to never reach again—a weight I only reached in my third trimester with my daughter. I exercised and ate well sporadically, but I kept going, kept getting back into the gym and the healthy eating after falling off the wagon, and I feel great about it. Thirty-two looks good on me; in fact, as I look at friends from high school and college on social media, I think most of us look better now than we did fifteen years ago. I'm learning that grace, confidence, and maturity are tangibly beautiful.And, I’m excited about 2014. I’ll be Matron of Honor in my sister’s wedding. I’ll officiate my first wedding of former students and walk them through the pre-marital journey. I’ll lose 3 more pounds. I’ll talk about myself less and be a student of others more. I’ll figure out more of what it means to be the Guide Pastor and a teaching pastor. I’ll continue falling in love with my husband, who will or will not be elected to the School Board. I’ll watch my kids become more of the people God created them to be. And, I anticipate some changes in 2014; I have no idea what they are, but I sense their imminence--with less fear and trembling than I usually experience with change.