The Important Things

 

Balancing God, family, church, activities, friends, self-care, whatever else life throws at you… it is not easy. Every so often I get a clear snap-shot of how I am doing. This look usually comes during a time of transition, when I move from one season of life to another.

In January, a two-year-old boy came to live with us. He came from a very hard place. Adding him into our family grew us from a unit of five to a circus of six. The Fuersts had just gotten to the point where we no longer needed diaper bags, naps, stringent bed times, and sippy cups. Now, we were right back into the middle of a different season of life… one that moved a lot more slowly so little legs could keep up. So how did we find balance?

Balance began with me being honest with myself. Honest about what I am capable of doing. Honest about where I am. Honest about identifying the important things for this particular season of life. Each season comes with natural limitations. Limitations we need to embrace and honor so we can be healthy. When I don’t embrace these limitations I start to feel like too little butter on too much toast.

Adopting a child called for a major slow down.

To fully form as Fuerst party of 6, some things needed to go. We couldn’t be out every night of the week. The older kids had to let go of some of their weeknight activities. We told them they could each do one thing. My oldest daughter, Phoebe, was in Girl Scouts and sports. We told her she had to choose. It wasn’t easy for her, she loved both. Her decision led to good conversations about her interests and desires. It also helped us teach her about limitations and boundaries.

I also had to say “no” to some things. I just couldn’t keep saying “yes” and still be healthy. I had to cut back on my involvement with the women’s ministry at my church. I love working with women, but the higher priority right now is shaping my young family and making plenty of time for my own well-being. Self care is essential to ensure I have the energy required to care for my crazy crew. In another season, when my children are older, when everyone is in school, I might pick up women’s ministry again. Saying “no” now doesn’t mean I will always have to say “no.”

The first step to balance is making a list of what is most important in this season of life. Narrow it down to four or five things. Then start saying “yes,” and more importantly “no” based on this list. Let your list help you weed out the non-essentials. You can’t find balance when you have too many things going, even if most of them are church things.  Realize you don’t have to do everything right now. There will be time in the future when you enter a new season. No season lasts forever.  Someday we will be done with diapers. I am sure it will come.

 


Cassie Fuerst is a quiet soul, who needs a lot of time and space to process life around her. She stays at home, acting as administrator of chaos for her four children. Her husband, Tom, has been in ministry for 10 years. She loves creating community by going to coffee with friends, having people in her home, and talking to people on the edges. She lives in Memphis, Tennessee.

Breakaway 2017

 

It is hard to believe Breakaway 2017 has come and gone. We shared a wonderful couple days together with spouses from around the country. The event was featured in an article on wesleyan.org that we wanted to share with you. Click here to see a recap of this time of refreshment and renewal for pastors’ spouses. 

We also wanted to share a testimonial from the event. Julie Lamb, a pastor’s spouse and worship leader from Colorado, made the trip to the Indianapolis area for her first Breakaway and wrote the thoughts below about her experience at this year’s event.

I am flying home after Breakaway, a gathering with Pastor’s spouses, where truth was spoken over us and tears were shed in vulnerability. Our hearts grasped — for some, perhaps for the first time — that our identities are not anchored in others’ expectations of us or in the roles we tend to play that were never meant to define us. We paused for a few days to breathe and allow God to redefine us… letting go of mistaken identities… leaning into who God uniquely designed us to be.  My heart is encouraged…lighter.

God set us on a journey in ministry of restoring a portion of His Creation back to Him, and the privilege and responsibility could not be more real. I am grateful for the team who poured their time and talent into crafting an event that encouraged and challenged us, men and women gathered from all across the country where they serve on the front lines of ministry. I am grateful for Whitney Wheeler’s courage to tell her own story. I am grateful for new friendships that were forged and for old friendships that were reconnected. I am grateful for a prayer partner to connect with consistently upon returning home.

I wasn’t sure what to expect in attending Breakaway.  Would it be worth buying a plane ticket and all the travel expense to travel from Colorado? Would it be an event where everyone talks about surface realities and doesn’t really dive into the heart of what we’re navigating in our own contexts?  Would I come home exhausted?

What I experienced was a breath of fresh air.  We were offered an opportunity to navigate how God has wired us each individually in how we connect with Him through Gwen Jackson’s session on her new book Unforced Rhythms. We were drawn in as Sherry Gorveatte shared experiences from her journey of ministry and reminded us of the truth that God’s image is impressed upon each of us.  We were given space to enjoy some down time, the gift of Sabbath built into the weekend. The food was great, the breakout sessions were inspiring, conversations were life-giving, and I left with an encouraged and rested heart.

The PSC team has been so blessed to hear these types of responses from those who were able to come to Breakaway this year. Whether you come to an event or engage with Pastor’s Spouse Connection through online opportunities, we count it a privilege to be able to walk this journey with you. We love and appreciate you for who you are and are so grateful for the many ways we see you allowing God to work in and through you.