I've put quite a bit of effort into communicating with folks about the changes that have come my way this last year - you know, new name and address and marital status, and all that go with them!
The one thing I've hoped could stay the same has been my occupation. But I was a little nervous about this. Would moving another time zone West and joining forces with a guy who does something quite different weaken my connection to my work team, most of whom live on the other side of the country? And what about the finances? Would supporters - or potential supporters - stick with me and continue to give, or would they start to think of me as someone who didn't really need their partnership any more - perhaps believing my expenses have gone down, not up?
It's been such a blessing to be able to continue in full-time ministry and doing pretty much the same kind of projects since 2007, some much longer than that. Folks who cheered me on, back in 1994, may have expected me to stick with this gig for a couple of years ... it's been 18.
This week I wondered if the whole thing was going to crumble.
The loss of a major donor this spring and depletion of the cushion from another donor's generous one-time gift were quickly followed by the news - revealed just a few days ago - that my home church (which had been covering 10-20% of my support since the mid-90's) had hit a financial crisis, made drastic cuts to its mission budget, and eliminated all funds for my support several months earlier. Communication had gone astray; the news caught me by surprise.
Much relieved this morning to discover in conversation with my supervisor that our agency will be able to make some changes to my position and status, changes which will not require large shifts in responsibilities but will reduce the funds I need to raise about $900/month. That will make all the difference. I can keep my job. I will, though, need to request a rather large salary cut, look for some freelance or part-time work, and put major efforts into raising new support. That will mean putting other things on the back burner - including some good things that had been cooking along quite nicely!
Emotionally, this week has been a rollercoaster. Largely because the deeper seated issues I have with fear, shame, and performance - questions of where I find my identity, safety, and peace which need to be explored further. That process can only help my work and my marriage, not to mention my relationship with God and other people. Good, but can be quite painful.