2020 Update

 In Change, Covid, Faith, Family, Paris, Pastor

A 2020 Update

 

Here is a little 2020 update (ok, a long one), and a prayer request and brainstorming session all wrapped into one!

This season has been a tough one – the challenges of Covid-19 in the city were rather enormous for our little family. This is in no way a complaint, as we are healthy and happy and together.

It did, however, give us time to reflect and reevaluate. Something we have done at various intersections in times past.

When I left a position that was sucking my joy, I was forced to reevaluate much – including my very identity and faith. What a long, painful and yet, fruitful process.

Out of the ashes of my previous church life Ruffled By Grace was born. In my new life, I was able to combine my creativity and love for the beautiful with blessing. It has been an extra special season for me because I gained a fierce community and worked with couples who had been turned away or felt excluded from the institutional church. I never could have imagined stepping into such a role and it’s been better than I ever could have dreamed.

 

What Now?

Ruffled By Grace is not going away, but it is going to grow and change with our lives.

As of right now, I have not been posting much content. I’ve been quiet. I don’t feel right going back to “normal” with Covid still raging, and I am also putting effort into doing the anti-racist work that must be done. I’ve poured my time into reading, learning, and supporting/lifting up other voices. I’m not ready to go back to “normal” posting my usual weddings – though certainly love continues.

Additionally, I have a long “to-do” list for Ruffled By Grace (talk about a 2020 Update!). All my lists are in addition (and second) to my continued commitment anti-racism work and the work still to be done in affirming my LGBTQIA+ siblings. Social justice interwoven into faith has a long history in the Presbyterian church. As a pastor, I take seriously my own continued growth, learning, and activism. These are just two places where the work of faith must meet the world in seeking human dignity and justice for all people.

My next order of business is to finish the manuscript that I have been working on alongside of my fabulous literary agent. Emmy has been a constant encouragement through this process of publishing. It’s going to be a long road.

 

The Dreaming

The next thing is rather a big one too. These Covid times have left us wondering what the heck we’re doing in this tiny apartment in Paris. We love it here and have benefited over the 8 years we have lived here, but confinement was… HARD. Our kids are growing, and they need space to run and play and be outside while they still have a desire to do “kid things.” Kevin would love to be able to work from home more (but not be crammed into the one-bedroom in our apartment).

We have valued our small space in this bustling city over these past years, but it seems like we are being called into a new “space,” perhaps quite literally.

Anyone who has known me for any amount of time knows that I have always wanted to have space to host “things” (think spiritual retreats, garden parties, art, weddings, etc). We would love to have space for creativity to meet hospitality.

 

Where Dreams Meet Faith

Over the last few years, I’ve also been praying, talking, and praying some more about what a spiritual community can look like when it is committed to inclusivity, decolonization, and imaginative being. I long for a space that is welcoming – where there’s more than a bunch of white guys leading from up front; where my LGBTQ+ siblings can come (and are explicitly affirmed); where faith doesn’t come at the expense of BIPOC; where we learn from other faith traditions and religions; where family is valued and leadership is shared across generations; where artists are uplifted and the creativity of the Spirit leads.

I’m not sure that kind of community exists in real life, but we sure would like to explore the possibility of creating the space for imaginative being and doing the work that would draw us closer to Christ and the hopes we have listed above.

My work in weddings, styled shoots and creative entrepreneurship is incredibly fulfilling. I would love to have space to expand what has already been happening around all of these things. Bridging the world of weddings and faith has been a tremendous privilege. I would very much like to continue and expand that work.

 

The News…

With all of that being said, here is the big news… We are considering a move outside of the city, to the French countryside. We long for space that can help us realize some of the things above, but also some fresh air and a different lifestyle.

To be honest, this is a big dream. It’s exciting and terrifying. It may or may not happen. We simply don’t know, though we feel it drawing near. Who can really make a 2020 update or plan anyway? We are doing the work to “figure it all out” but it’s hard and a little grey too. This most certainly is in part due to the fact that we are, and always will be, strangers in a strange land. We have much to figure out and to discern before making any major changes.

I don’t think I would have put something so big or so heartfelt out on social media in times past (maybe for the fear of not seeing it come to fruition). But here we are! Times have changed.

 

The Prayer

If you’re the praying type, would you lift one or two up for us? We would appreciate it. The Presbyterian in me believes that good discernment is done in community. We need your fire and passion alongside of ours to think and pray through these next steps – or large leaps!

Even more, if you have invested in reading all of the above, would you invest a bit more? If you could envision a community or space, event or retreat that would be everything above and more, what would that look like for you?

I’m looking for feedback about everything from aesthetics to simply a feeling that you would want to have. Do you want goats and champagne? Let me know! Beautiful high teas in a garden while looking at art? Tell me all the things.

 

Details

I will eventually put a little survey together, but I am not even there yet. Our family is starting to collect thoughts, hopes, ideas, and dreams. I don’t think anything is too wild. I’ve never been an inside-the-box thinker, so why start now?

If you have taken the time to read ALL OF THIS, oh my goodness. That must be another star in your crown. Thank you for your time, for being a friend here, for chasing dreams with us, and for loving people.

 

With joy and blessing,
Michelle

 

That was quite the 2020 Update!

Amidst all of this, I am thankful for my Spiritual Director, Matt. Follow him here. Lord knows I need spiritual direction!

Thanks to Alice Ahn for this beautiful photo. Follow her here.

And many many thanks to Makeup by Joleen for helping me to remember that beauty begins on the inside (and for keeping my hair in order!). Follow Joleen’s Paris adventures here.

I would like to know more about Ruffled By Grace? Read more about me here.

Recommended Posts

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Many hands of all colors clasped together. Text reads: In This Life Together