It's been 1 month

June 7, 2017 - a reflection

It's hard to believe it's been one month since my last day at Evident Church. The weeks leading up to the 7th of May were probably the hardest weeks of The Mellinger's lives. Although work had slowed down for me, in the midst of the packing and prepping for a gigantic move, we had to say goodbye to our family of friends we had developed over the past 5 years. Some of those memories will stay with us for the rest of our lives. It was truly an amazing and incredibly sad time in our lives. By the time we reached May 7, we were emotionally drained and ready for the next stage.

After we finally loaded everything up in the Budget truck, we headed to St. Louis Tuesday afternoon. We decided to make a trip out of it and stop about half way for the evening. Usually when we travel to St. Louis we fit it in one day, but we were in no rush and wanted to make sure we stayed rested.

We made it to St. Charles, Missouri without any problems, unloaded that evening and started settling in. Currently we are renting a 10'x15' storage unit that houses most of our belongings, and are staying with Ashley's sister and family until we close on our house in Michigan and figure out exactly where we want to live in the St. Louis area. We have a small living room, bathroom, place for Paisley's crib and changing dresser, and space for all of our bedroom set (besides the lampshades we can't find...). :) It's been an adjustment to both living with family in the same house AND in the same city. It's been great to have so much of Ashley's family close to us now. Although we are missing our close friends in Michigan and my side of the family, it's so nice having a strong family support so close.  We are so grateful to Amber and Jacob for opening their house to us. It has made this process so much easier than us trying to find a place to move into directly from Michigan.

Paisley has absolutely loved living with the cousins. She goes to bed exhausted every evening but can't wait to wake up to see Piper and Max every morning. She's experiencing all sorts of "firsts" and for the most part been a champ. She is still young, but this hasn't been easy for her. No longer having her own room, uprooted from everyone she knows, and having a completely different schedule has been such a difference, but she is amazing.

Ashley made it through all of her orientation at St. Louis Children's and is now on her unit. She is still working days and getting used to a completely different hospital system. In the next few weeks she will switch to working nights again. There is no doubt Ashley is thrilled to be with her family. I know she can't wait for the security of the house selling and us getting into our own place... and me working again, but for the most part, she as well has been a champ.  Moving closer to her family has been the easy part. Starting a new job with several layers of external stress has been the hard part. We are still in transition, but it's getting easier. We just celebrated our 7th year of marriage by spending an evening downtown St. Louis together and getting some Italian food at a place we went to when we were dating. I love my wife.

This transition has not been easy for me. I know it was time for my season at Evident to end, but it still was not easy to leave a place that loved me, and I was able to use my gifts and talents daily to serve the Lord. Moving to a city I have never lived and have very few connections has been an adventure. I've had the opportunity to take some time and evaluate what is important to me, and what isn't. I know I was ready for a small break from ministry, but I've actually had a pretty hard time shutting down. Running so long at full throttle, I went from a completely full schedule and mental output to almost nothing. It's taken me a few weeks to settle my heart and soul. Part of this process has involved spending much more time with my beautiful daughter, exploring my creative passions and of course, burning fuel on the motorcycle. 

I love this bag Evident Church gave me as a parting gift. I am able to take all of my camera gear with me all of the time. 

As far as a job, I've taken my time exploring the "church culture" in St. Louis. I've had the opportunity to visit several churches since we've been in town. I've been talking with a few churches for a few weeks. I am still trying to figure out what the next stage for me is. Do I pursue a career in Photography/videography? Do I find a stronger pastoral leadership position in a church? Do I stay with the creative/worship scene in the church? Do I find a job outside of the church for awhile?  There's several directions I can go and I'm patiently waiting in "recovery mode" right now to hear what God has planned for me. In the mean time, I am banking time with my family, making sure to rest, getting plenty of physical exercise, trying to learn, trying to improve my passions and hobbies, and enjoying the time instead of stressing over finding a job. God has blessed us with this season and I want to make sure to make the most of it. It would be easy for me to constantly think about finding a job, but I know I need time to refresh my soul. 

One of the ways I have been trying to restore creativity and refresh my soul has been through photography. I love being able to visit a new place with my camera and capture a moment in time, or something we might walk by and never truly see the beauty God has displayed for us. Here's a few of my favorites from this month.

Friends in Michigan, thank you so much for helping us through this transition. We will always remember you and our time at Evident Church. After a month in St. Louis, I am starting to feel refreshed and ready for my next season of ministry. Continue to pray for us and our next season of life.