Friday, July 22, 2011


I think I've mentioned before that we are living in a parsonage now. Mostly I love it. It's a nice house, well-cared for, and I'm generally happy not to be responsible for fixing things.

However. There's always a however. The nuances of "my" home belonging to the church (which means it belongs to everyone and no one in particular) and being across the parking lot from the church building and drawing from the same tightly-squeezed budget that everyone is trying to stretch so salaries can be paid... I don't have to repair the roof but there are other things to think about.

There are things I would be trying to do to this house if I owned it but that's not for us to decide. The church budget doesn't have any wiggle room right now so any money spent on our house -- especially for major improvements -- seems like it is taking away from something 'more important'. Sometimes it's like living on a commune, but we're the only ones whose personal living space must balance with the greater good.

Any of you live(d) in a parsonage? How do you handle the gray area around what is good for your family and what is good for the church?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Control Freak? I Believe That's Me.

I had an unexpectedly good morning today. I wasn't expecting it to be bad, but I really felt quite well. I went for a bike ride (big deal when you have three kids) and made a lot of phone calls that have been on my to-do list for weeks. When I picked my two older kids up from day camp I was feeling quite in control of my life.

I love to feel in control of my life.

An hour later my son was having a tantrum and the afternoon spun away from me in a hurry. Kids going crazy. Mom yelling and going generally berserk. I roll my eyes at my crazy kids and wonder how they can be so disrespectful and then finally it occurs to me that maybe there's a better way to handle this.

I just have a very hard time giving them space and letting them act like obnoxious little kids. Most of it is normal and we'd all be better off if I could ignore it.

The main thing seems to be that I want to be able to make things right. My oldest child is seven years old and for seven years I've been trying to find just the right schedule, sleep pattern, nutritional balance, way of talking about feelings, so on and so forth .... that will make our lives happy and bright.

Meanwhile - the negotiations for selling our house are going just haywire enough to make us uncertain the deal will make it all the way to closing. And I am changing my eating habits in an effort to lose weight. It's motivated by my recent bout with cancer and an urgent desire to minimize the risk of another chronic illness. Lingering side-effects from chemo are complicating my efforts.

So, you know, I'm working hard to do everything right. And things are still going wrong. I am alarmed by how easily I topple over the edge. Tonight I left the house because I kept wanting to cry. It reminded me of the unrelenting sadness of depression.

I suppose I could be encouraged that leaving the house for a while is helping.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Get Rid of the %$#! House

We have been trying to sell our house for a year. A YEAR. A long year of paying the mortgage every month.

Great news: We sold the house!

Bad news: We haven't closed yet and the list of things we need to spend money on just keeps growing and growing and growing.

We're losing money on the house, of course. We're selling it for quite a bit less than we paid for it. And the inspector found a few things that we needed to repair. And the buyer has a government loan so the government has another list of things that need to be repaired. And in the meantime the water heater exploded. Blah, blah, blah...

It's not a desperate financial crisis. We *can* pay for these things. We're not going hopelessly into debt. I am very thankful for that.

It is an emotional crisis. I just want to be cut off from all the responsibilities connected to the church my husband was serving there. At every setback I want to call the sr. pastor and tell him a bill is in the mail and by the way I'M STILL MAD AT YOU! We have paid so much in time, money, grief, mental & emotional & spiritual health because of the abuse in that church's leadership.

It makes me realize how powerful the undertow of depression is and how close I am to the shoreline. Most of the time I feel like my mental health is safe but when these stressors -- the ones connected specifically to our last church -- stack up, I feel like I might go under. It takes a lot of conscientious effort to keep my head up. God has been merciful to hold me together so far.