Minnesota Preacher Woman

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Passages

Do I celebrate or do I mourn? A litte of both, perhaps. (Yes, I'm having a conversation with myself!) It is the last week of school for my two grade-school-aged children. (You know the song, "no more teachers, no more school...") I would right a second verse for the parents...and a third verse especially for us single parents with full-time jobs. I have enough to juggle but add to it a couple of energetic kids out of school for the summer!

My eldest, Handful and Heartful Son, will be done with grade school altogether. I'm not sure if I'm prepared for him to head to Middle School yet! It means a long bus trip out of our bedroom community and into the large city. So I'm mourning the end of the age of innocence for him as he ends his grade school career this week.

My daughter actually cries on the last day of school because she loves it all. I was so like that in the 3rd grade, also.

Tomorrow I'm chaperoning Delightful Daughter and her third grade class trip to our Minnesota Zoo. We drive to the Minneapolis area in school buses. Un-air-conditioned school buses. The temperature has only been in the 90's here lately with very high humidity. Knowing that the class has lots of chaperones going, I called Mrs. School Teacher and asked if I might drive behind the bus in my air conditioned van. I know the gas prices are high, but I'd rather put some NPR on the radio and just imagine what it is like in the school bus.

And at the end of the week, summer vacation begins...there will be laughter and sunshine and trips to the beach. And there will babysitters and camp and stressful moments. And through it all, God will walk with us.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

A Saturday Confessional

I need to begin with a confession. I got hooked on Soap Opera’s when I was in the 7th grade. Three of my best friends were really into soaps and it didn’t take long for me to get hooked. All My Children to be specific. Erica Kane, Chuck and Donna, Tad, Palmer, the whole town of Pine Valley. I got so wrapped up in their lives.
Looking back, I can see that my soap helped get me through my High School years. It helped me to be immersed in the lives of others because sometimes, quite frankly, I wanted to escape from my own life.
Life wasn’t too pleasant in my home during my high school years. When I was in 9th grade my big brother Bob was often coming home drunk, if he came home at all. My brother was often running away and constantly fighting with my parents. By the time I was in 11th grade the kids on the school bus were pestering me – trying to buy drugs from me because they knew that my brother was a drug dealer.
Life wasn’t too pleasant…but sometimes, if even for an hour, I could escape into the world in Pine Valley. For sixty minutes I could forget the problems in my life and focus on all of their problems, instead.
If those soaps had been about perfect people with perfect lives, I wouldn’t have watched. The soap helped me realize that I wasn’t alone in having a life with problems. Mine usually look insignificant and small compared to theirs! Erica suffered through tragedy after hardship almost every day but…then she would get back up and dust herself off and face another day. It made me realize that I could become resilient, too. And regardless of what happened to Erica Kane, she was never banished from Pine Valley, but always embraced.
I’ll be the first to admit that Soap Opera’s are not the highest quality of TV programming. I haven't watched All My Children for more than a few moments in the last ten years. But during my my formative years I honestly think that I learned lessons about grace from All My Children! That silly Soap Opera also taught me lessons about coping with an imperfect family and lessons about finding hope in the face of struggles.
But after I was watching my Soap, at some point, I heard another story that also struck a cord with me; a story about a broken family and a runaway and a jealous sibling. This time it wasn’t called a story but was called a parable , entitled The Prodigal Son. It finally dawned on me that Jesus told cool stories that even I could relate to in my life. After I was ministered to by a Soap Opera it ended up leading me to me being ministered by the Bible and the Good News of hope that comes from God. My eyes were opened to the fact that the Bible is filled with stories that I could connect with. Jesus didn’t rub elbows with perfect people who had perfect lives. But he ran around with people who couldn’t figure everything out. Instead of just coping I ended up finding hope in the midst of my own imperfect family and my imperfect life. I realized that I wasn’t ever alone, but God was always with me, and I learned to turn to God in prayer when I felt especially alone or sad. The stories of the imperfect people being ministered to by a powerful God gave me hope.
Thankfully God's Spirit touches us through some of the least likely sources.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Hello everyone! Minnesota Preacher Woman here

I've been an avid follower of the RevGals for 9 months....a reader and an admirer. And I've been a two-time visitor to Festival of Homies. I didn't go this year but REALLY wished that I had when I read about the meet-ups that took place. My heart ached. I would have loved to have met those whom I've read about and cheered for...

I have been a Lutheran Pastor for 16 years. I'm serving at Growing Church in a bedroom community in central Minnesota - just down the road from Lake Wobegon. I went to college across the street from the Prairie Home Cemetary.

I'm divorced and single-handedly parenting two children -- my son "Handful and Heartful" is 11. My daughter "Delightful" is nearly 9.

I'm excited to be a part of the RevGal circle even though I've been here on the fringe for many months. I even have an official mug!