The two questions I hear most often around church these days are, “Are you back at work now?” and “Did you ever leave?” It’s funny that those questions can be asked simultaneously. Well, yes and yes. But I think maybe I need to explain.
I love that I work in a place where I can go on maternity leave and never really leave. What a gift that I never wanted to! In terms of attending church, Anastasia and I never really missed a beat—but neither have Sunday mornings been work much at all for me over the past few months. Faithful volunteers have picked up all kinds of slack so that I could attend church with my family and focus almost exclusively on worship and caring for Anastasia. I am exceedingly grateful to the people who have taken on those responsibilities for me—thank you! I am gradually figuring out what it looks like to reassume all of my Sunday morning responsibilities as I continue to have my hands full—literally—with my little girl.
In the meantime, even as I was recovering from a c-section and adjusting to life with a newborn again, I was chomping at the bit to get back to work and fellowship with coworkers that I love so dearly. Anastasia attended her first staff meeting at three weeks old; now, at twelve weeks, she’s a veteran staff member! As any new mom will tell you, having grown-up outlets for using your brain and engaging in conversation about anything other than feeding schedules and diaper changing is vital to her sanity and identity as a human being. It is yet another good gift, then, that I am part of a staff that not only has welcomed a frequently uncooperative newborn into the fold but has allowed me to continue to participate in prayer and work together even when, in my sleep-deprived state, I often have very little to contribute. This, too, is an adjustment process—even as I figure out how to coordinate nap schedules with staff meetings, I am learning what it looks like to maintain vital contact with coworkers even as I do much more work from home and often at odd hours.
If you know my family and our story at all, you know how much of our life has been interwoven with the life of All Saints Church. How appropriate, then, that it was only a few weeks into my tenure on staff that we learned of Anastasia’s impending birth; in fact, I spent nearly every spare moment of our staff retreat last summer sleeping off the miseries of the first trimester of her life. Now, a year later, I anticipate her tagging along with us on retreat, Lord willing, and I hope she’ll be the one doing a lot of sleeping! Even as this church family walked with us through every moment of Eliza’s life and death, born as she was just a few months after we first joined this little group called All Saints, what a joy it is to have you all walking with us as Anastasia joins the family—and even the staff!—too.
So I suppose, then, no, I never really did leave. And yes, I’m back. Thanks for having me.