The past month has been a whirlwind, and that’s a bit of an understatement. I’ve done a handful of things in the past weeks that I never imagined that I would be doing. More often than not, these moments have been accompanied by the same sentiment – “So, I guess you’re really a pastor now, huh?”
In July, I went with our soon-to-be 8th grade students on an adventure trip to West Virginia. Among the wonderful and terrifying things that happened that week (see my previous post on caving) was a jam session in the bus on the way home to every pop song you can think of. Somewhere between Adele and twenty one pilots and Taylor Swift, one of the girls on our trip said to me, “Kara, I didn’t think that pastors knew this kind of music!” I laughed and explained to her that pastors didn’t live under rocks – and we are just as obsessed with Adele as the rest of the world. She then deemed me the “coolest pastor she had ever met”.
About a month ago, I co-officiated my first funeral, a simple service for a 9 month old baby who passed away after complications from a liver transplant. I stood up front and welcomed people to the service on behalf of the family and barely held it together through messages and prayers and graveside flowers. I drove home exhausted that afternoon and read a text message from my husband that simply read “well, pastor, you did it.”
I spent the last Sunday in July helping welcome 8 children into our congregation via baptism, and it was the coolest moment that I have been a part of. I stood in front of people I know and some that I don’t and explained why we use water, what we promise when we celebrate baptism, and I watched the funniest little faces crinkle up when drops of cold water hit their heads. One of the parents of those children came up to me after the service and said “Pastor, thank you for being a part of our family today!”
The second week of August was spent in Guatemala, where I helped to build a church and to run a VBS in a village near to my heart. Even though I got sick at the end of the week and really missed being able to flush toilet paper – I sat in a dedication service the last night we were there and prayed with 5 little boys and girls who wanted to accept Jesus, through my broken Spanish and their giggles, I thought to myself that being a pastor and helping kids find Jesus has to be the greatest job in the world.
This past week, I met with two different families who were joining CMC and were going to be baptizing their babies, and as I heard their stories and laughed with them and looked over the Scripture verses that would serve as our promise to their children, I was humbled by how important those conversations are and how lucky I am that I get to do them as part of my job. As I left one families house, I got hugs and a chorus of “bye Pastor Kara!”, and I didn’t stop smiling the whole way home.
Yesterday was one of the busiest days that I’ve had in a long time. The first service of the morning came with my official installation into the Holland Classis and to my role at CMC, and as I read to my congregation and received my light-up pen, I felt a pride in my work that I haven’t really felt yet. After I left the stage, one of my co-workers said “hey, welcome home!”, and it was the first moment that it hit me that this call and this role is truly my first “home” as a pastor. The second service came with the baptisms of two sweet babies, the official “welcome home!” for my husband as he joined our church officially. After the service while I was saying goodbye to my family, my dad gave me a hug and said, “So, I guess you’re officially a pastor now, huh?”
The third service of the day came later that afternoon, where I got to pray and serve communion at the ordination of my best friend from WTS. Not only did seeing the “Rev.” in front of my name in the order of worship throw me off (this is my first ordination service since my own service in June), but welcoming a friend into the crazy life that is that of a female pastor serving students made me a little bit emotional. It made me thankful for the group of women that I have the privilege of pastor-ing with, because they understand the world of pastor-ing in a unique way with me.
So now, on a Monday afternoon, after answering phone calls and emails and delivering donated school supplies to our local school and eating lunch at my most favorite restaurant, I sit in my office and realize that it’s a compilation of all of these moments that have made me think of myself as Pastor. It wasn’t a switch that flipped at my ordination service or at any one of these moments, but a slow and steady process of the past four weeks (and really of the past three years). I never ever thought that I would be ordained – or officiate funerals – or serve communion to others – or be called “Pastor”.
But here I am.
It’s not even the name “Pastor” that’s hitting me. I’m not one for formality or title, so I hardly ever call myself “Pastor” or “Reverend”. I don’t wear a robe or a stole or a collar either, and I’m not ever intending to – but I think that’s a different blog post!
It’s more of the fact that I’m sitting here and I’m actually doing it. I’m doing things that I never imagined doing, and guys, I’m really good at it! I love my job and I love (most days) what I get to do, and even though it was something I never wanted, it’s just what I needed. I’ve finally found my peace with what I’m doing and where God has called me – and if you know the fight I went through with God before I went to seminary, you’ll know that’s a pretty big deal!
So…I guess I’m a pastor now, huh?!