I was tucking Darla in before naps. When she hugged and kissed me she said "Oh, Mom! Wow- you smell soooo good!" I stepped back to leave and she asked, "Please, one more hug so I can smell you?"I complied.
She closed her eyes, took a deep breath in, and then collapsed onto her bed with a big smiley sigh.
I asked, "What? What do I smell like that smells so good?"
"Aaahhh. Just like plain ol' Mom."
"The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them...Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints! There is no want to those who fear Him... The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit...many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. He guards all his bones; not one of them is broken." Psalm 34:7, 9, 18, 19-20
When S. first battled anxiety a few years ago, I parked on this chapter for over a month. I was pregnant, had 2 toddlers at my feet, and a struggling husband who was either insanely busy or completely crashed. I was exhausted and wasn't sure which way was up. I sat every morning with a cup of coffee while everyone slept, reading the same chapter over and over. Reading it now instantly transports me to the kitchen table while it's still dark, journal open, pierced by a different section each time.
I remember so many of my prayers, and many I recorded in journals. I wished they would be answered quickly. Sometimes my fervency would convince me that certainly today I would see the results of my prayers! I would excitedly wait for S. to come to breakfast, imagining he must have had the same revelations. Surely he felt the power that I felt! He would come and one look at his face showed me that I would have to get back on my knees.
To add another interesting twist in the Taylor story...I am sitting amidst boxes, packing tape, and sharpie markers this evening. S. is at the 48; the youth ministry here at Mount Vernon CTK, to share that he is stepping down as pastor for the time being (see below letter). He'll still be working part time there. While all of this job stuff, soul-searching stuff, family time stuff has been going on, we never have been able to sell our Lynden home. It's been vacant for a couple months and we are to the end of being able to make double payments. We decided last week that if it didn't sell by this past Monday then we would pack up and move back. Well, Monday came and went without an offer. Here we are Wednesday knee high in boxes with plans to get a truck within the next week to load up.
We aren't quite sure how long we'll be there. We aren't quite sure where our lives are headed. We aren't quite sure how to answer any practical life questions today.
We are sure that we serve a God who comes through in profound, miraculous ways for us. We are sure we love each other and are committed to our marriage and our family. We are sure that regardless of what position, town, or financial situation we find ourselves in, we can serve Christ and learn to love Him more.
In the meantime we're going to cozy up in our little old house, fling open the sliding glass door, and let our kids run free in the yard they can't wait to get back to.
As you know, Shilo and I have been on sabbatical for the last several weeks due to anxiety, stress, and spiritual duress. A few years ago I had a severe anxiety attack as the result of years of fast paced ministry and unhealthy habits formed by my overworking, driven, undisciplined nature. For the past two years we have sought health and healing through our faith, better boundaries, counseling, and medication. In moving to Mount Vernon last summer we hoped the slower pace and new job would bring to completion the restoration we prayed and hoped for.
In October I encountered a spiritual attack that was more debilitating than I realized at the time. In one day I had calls from 3 separate people regarding being woken in the night and told to pray for this battle I was facing. Regardless, I lost fight and resolve. Over the next two months I battled isolation, apathy, depression, and anxiety. Without realizing the depths of my wounds I continued to bleed with the infection of poor choices and an unhealthy pace. Ultimately I had another severe anxiety attack in December that left me debilitated, left my wife wounded, and my family a casualty.
These past six weeks have been the most significant time in my spiritual life and in my marriage. I have rediscovered my identity in Christ. I see that pride is the root of my sin and anxiety. I know the purest calling of my life is to honor God alone. Shilo and I have found healing, restoration, and hope for the future of our marriage and family. I am learning to die to myself, to my dreams, and my own plans.
As you can guess this process has involved confusion yet clarity; excitement yet sadness; fear yet faith. Ultimately we have decided that I am unable to serve as Pastor at this time.
At this time I am stepping down from my current pastoral role at MVCTK. Matt C. will be taking my responsibilities in youth ministry along with Grace L. I will be part-time helping the staff here at MVCTK while Shilo and I seek further direction for this next season of life.
We love our Mount Vernon family and have experienced unconditional love and grace from this church family. We have been unbelievably blessed and are so proud to have MVCTK as our home. We covet your prayers and continued support as we seek the Lord’s will for our family.
Sean and Shilo
A package came in the mail a few weeks ago, for Darla and me. It was from the queen of party-throwing, my childhood friend Jayena. (She throws sophisticated, stunning, personal parties for people. I remember she had a knack for it in the 8th grade when it was about a good sized sheet cake and the cutest boys. On a slumber party scale she was always off the charts.)
Jayena heard that Darla is herself quite the party planner- so she sent a party in a box for us. We waited until Valentine's Day to pull it all out and throw the bestparty for our boys. Darla and I handled all the decorating while Hudson and Sean made dinner for us (Everett ran back and forth between the rooms, blanket in tow.)
Just throwing myself out there a bit...