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This Life I Live

Published April 4, 2016 by meganbiddle

Bachelor’s degree. A Master’s Degree that takes 3.5 years to earn if you go full-time. Over a hundred thousand dollars in school loans. Moving your entire family 700 miles away from grandparents and cousins, aunts and uncles. Spending every holiday at church, not with your kids or your parents. Smiling when you don’t feel like it. Biting your tongue when someone insults you or your family. Feeling broken, alone, and like you aren’t doing anything right. Why would I do this? Why would anyone want to sign up for a job like that?

Sometimes I ask myself the same question. I wonder what I am doing in Central New York. I wonder how in the world did a person like me ever become a pastor. For some reason, God decided this life was a good idea for me, and my family. Some days I wonder about the wisdom in our Creator’s decision to call me to the ministry, but what do I know. I have the opportunity that many people will never have. I get to be there when babies are  born, when people are married, and when they die. Intimate moments, certainly. I am privy to secrets of the heart, that are known only to the person that owns them and to God. I get to stand behind a pulpit week after week and proclaim the Gospel truth; the Good News that is our Lord and Savior is alive, and will return again for us all. Some days loving others is really easy, and others, loving even myself is difficult.

I get to live this life as a pastor, for whatever time I am given or until God tells me to stop. But I do not know how I would define myself, if at least part of my definition was not pastor. This life I live can be difficult, but anything worth doing, certainly is. I am just going to continue to get it somewhere close to right.

Confessions of a fat girl………….Numbers Game

Published July 11, 2015 by meganbiddle

I have been a fat girl all my life, except for those 15 minutes where I was overweight, but not morbidly obese. That was the result of an open gastric bypass, and I am just going to say that it is not the way to go. If it works long term for you, wonderful, but I am not one of those people. I am pretty sure that I was a size 12 for all of a day and a half.

As a reult of the gastric bypass, I am severely anemic. As a matter of fact, I had two iron infusions this winter. That was an experience I would really not like to repeat, but most likely will have to. I was in for my 6 month follow up with my pcp, and I said I was feeling a little tired. She decided that she would check my labs, that was simple enough. Two days later my son had his appointment, and I was informed that my labs were back. Oh. Okay. They are normal, except for the A1C. A1C was not on the lab order. Apparently my pcp had added it when my blood sugar was 139 at the time of the draw. I wasn’t really worried about 139, they weren’t fasting labs, and I had eaten on the way there.

My A1C (the lab that gives the doctor an average of what your blood sugar has been running over the last 3 months) was 6.3. Apparently 6.3 is not so great. It means pre-diabetes. At 6.5 one is considered diabetic and the doctor starts treating you with pills. When I was informed of this my response was, “No.” I shook my head for extra emphasis. My pcp looked at me, rather puzzled. I said, “No. I am not a diabetic. I am not becoming a diabetic. That is not an option.” Her solution for my last two appointments has been to make me an appointment with a bariatric surgeon for a surgical revision. Please tell me why that is a good idea? Why is our solution to everything surgery? It does not change the person you are. You still see yourself as fat when you look in the mirror. Chocolate is still wonderful. Wine is still fabulous. Pizza is still your favorite food.What it changes, is the size of clothing that you wear, at least temporarily, and it changes the way people look at you. It changes the way people treat you. So, if I lose weight again, people will see me as beautiful, because “you have such a pretty face.” If I lose weight I will need smaller clothing, again. If I lose weight, I may even get off some of the pills again. But under it all, I am still me. Even the greatest surgeon in the world cannot change that. I told my pcp I would think about it, knowing full well I have no intention of thinking about it. I don’t want the surgery again.

So here is where I am. I am back at the gym, making my butt sweat. I am trying to make better food choices and trying like made to get rid of the pop all together. Stay tuned. We will see how the numbers game goes, and who wins. I fully intend it to be me.

What’s in a Name?

Published May 27, 2015 by meganbiddle

Titles are funny things. For instance, if one is ordained as a Reverend and then earns a Ph.D or other Doctoral degree, one gets to be known as Rev. Dr. Never Enough. Yes, certainly you are a doctor of theology, dreamology, delusion, or whatever you choose to call it, but you shall always and forever be Reverend first. I have always hated name tags, especially when they include titles. I realize that we have earned them, we have gone to school for a thousand years, and will be paying on the school loan until after we die. A year ago I was rejected for a job in Upstate New York, only to get the next one that came along and I have found contentment. This job comes with a title, Pastor Meg. I certainly have been called worse. With that title comes great responsibility (great movie line, right?)!

My life is no longer my own. I cannot just run into the grocery story anywhere, because I am probably going to run into someone from my congregation, and ducking them is not an acceptable practice. Okay, I might have done it once, twice, no more than a dozen times, I am certain. I only duck out of fear. You see, I have a recurring nightmare that I am out in public without pants, and I am not quite sure how that happened. So until I figure that one out, I shall continue to duck, but I digress.

My life is no longer my own. It is’t okay that I swear, especially in public. People pay attention to the clothes I wear. They comment on them. Sometimes the ladies in my church remind me that I have a new top on. I do not drink anything of the alcoholic variety in public, or at a parishioner’s home. I don’t want to give the wrong impression to anyone. Once people find out what I do for a living, they decide to tel me when was the last time they were in church, the reasons they haven’t been to church and often promise to come and visit. Let me say something about that- don’t promise something just to be nice, becuse I have expectations for people. I expect that if you give me your word, and tell me you are coming for a visit or you are going to do something, you will.

Being a pastor has been one of the most difficult and rewarding things I have ever done in my life. I don’t regret it for a moment. In the 9 months I have been here, I have officiated 6 funerals, and 1 wedding. I know more things about people’s lives than I ever cared to know, things I wish I did not know, but I am honored to be trusted, none the less. People let you into those deep, dark parts of their lives, where no one knows the pain they have experienced, and no one goes without an ingraved invitation.

Please, continue to call me Pastor Meg, for as long as you wish. Some day I might get around to making it Reverend, but then again, maybe not. What’s in a name? Certainly, there is much implied in the title added to mine, and that is okay by me.

Just Emptying my Brain….No Worries!

Published June 29, 2014 by meganbiddle

Well, it’s been a bit since I did the blog thing.  I find that I tend to get myself in trouble if I really speak what is on my mind, and so I edit myself instead.  I wonder things like, I wonder what the Bible really said before all those scribal errors.  If they would have only had an eraser or white out, but no.  

While I am speaking the edited things on my mind, I will mention that the call process for my denomination is exhausting.  Someone once said that what a pulpit committee was really looking for was a 25 year old with ten years of ministry experience.  I believe that is pretty close to accurate.  Perhaps you feel like a puppet on a string, dance monkey dance.  Or maybe it feels like a horse race, but the winner isn’t the one who crosses the finish line first, instead, the winner is the one who has the most points at the end.  Highly educated…check, fantastic sermon…..check, is everything a church could want in a pastor, including innovative ideas, plan for church growth, and a family that looks like they  belong on a greeting card….well, I got two of them right.  It’s hard, auditioning for a job and trying to listen to the still small voice in the process.  You just hope that you get it right, and that finally, eventually a church will call you to full time ministry.  Until that day, I wait.  I wait because there is nothing else that I can do.  I can snap my fingers and make it happen.  I can’t click my heals together and have everything turn out fantastic, just like Dorothy (Although I do believe I can totally rock those ruby slippers of hers) Take a deep breath and jump, and hopefully there will be water in the pool, or someone very strong to catch you.  Here’s to the adventure, whatever God has in store.  Here’s to patience, secretly hoping the church does not like the candidate at all this weekend, because I really want to be their pastor, but at the same time, wanting the best person for the job.  All I can do is pray that I am that person.  

Just a Glimpse of God

Published November 29, 2013 by meganbiddle

If you believe that everything happens for a reason, that there is a destiny to things, even if you don’t believe in God, you should continue reading.  Since I am going to assume that you have read a blog posting of mine before, I am a going to assume that you know God and I are well acquainted.  (But, you know what they say about assuming….you make an ass out of you and me.)  Moving on.

This summer I drug my way through a chaplain internship wondering how on God’s green earth was this going to benefit me?  What was I going to get out of it?  How would this help me in ministry?  Well, there was the first part of the problem, the me and I statements that tend to rare their ugly heads.  I was looking at this as a requirement for school, the final requirement actually, in which I was not allowed to work for eleven weeks because I would be spending 40+ hours per week at the hospital as free labor in the chaplain department. (Not a good attitude to have.)

I met death head on.  In a few cases I got kicked out of the room, because the chaplain is the last person they wanted to see.  But for the most part, I got people asking questions that I could not answer, such as why.  Why me? Why us?  Why my child?  I saw suicide, accidents, cancer, and more dying children than one person should ever have to face in their lifetime.  And do you know what happened?

I BECAME A BETTER PERSON BECAUSE OF IT!  Before that happened, I had to get over myself, and my issues, and move on.  Open your eyes, there is so much this world can teach you.  There is so much good you can do in the world, and it won’t cost you a thing, except maybe a moment of your time.  Each and every one of those people I was with had a story to tell me, even though it wasn’t always using words.  I will think about that summer for the rest of my life and remember the brief glimpses of God that I saw in every one of the patients that I encountered.  What are you going to change in your life so that you don’t miss the glimpse of God?

Rick Warren on his late son: “Matthew was not afraid to die…he was afraid of pain”

Published September 17, 2013 by meganbiddle

Rick Warren’s response to his son’s question, why can’t I just die is painful. We lose too many people to suicide every year. Some call it selfish. Some see it as escape from pain. It makes me hurt deep within. I weep for the parents that bury their children. Having spent time as a Chaplain Intern, I saw the effect first hand. It might provide a way out for the victim of suicide, but it destroys those left behind. There are more questions than answers, and I don’t pretend to have any of them. But if this describes you or someone you love, please get help. It is never too late to ask for help. It’s not about judging someone or trying to “fix” someone, it’s about meeting them where they are, and loving them, no matter what.

Piers Morgan

Less than six months ago, well-known American evangelical Christian pastor Rick Warren lost his son to a self-inflicted gunshot wound, an emotional and heartbreaking end to a life defined by battles with mental health.

Joined by his wife Kay, this evening Warren joins “Piers Morgan Live” for the couple’s first media appearance since Matthew’s passing, describing in great detail the demons their son battled:

“Matthew was not afraid to die. He was afraid of pain. I remember 10 years ago, when he was 17, he came to me sobbing,” reveals Warren, offering an absolutely heart-wrenching story about his late son. “He said, ‘daddy,’ he said, ‘it’s really clear, I’m not going to get any better. You know, we’ve gone to the best doctors, the best hospitals, the best treatment therapists. Everything … prayer, everything you could imagine … good support.’ And he says, ‘it’s real clear I’m not going…

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A Crazy Little Thing Called CPE…

Published September 11, 2013 by meganbiddle

“Only Christ could have brought us all together, in this place, doing such absurd but necessary things.”–Kathleen Norris

If one were to write an essay about what one did over their summer vacation, anyone who read mine would ask for a do-over.  For eleven weeks I wondered semi-purposefully around St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis, as a Chaplain Intern.  This was the last requirement for my master’s degree.  That’s right, me, a master’s degree.  The term “Intern” is used to mean unpaid, as well as clueless.  So six strangers set out on an adventure to discover who we really are, who God wants us to be, and how we respond to tragedy and help others deal with it.

 CPE, Clinical Pastoral Education, might be genius, but if you tell my supervisor, Sister Barbara, I said that I will deny, deny, deny.  First of all, Chaplains don’t go around trying to save people’s souls or waving Bibles at people.  I saw Bibles in the hospital while I was there, but they were not carried by Chaplains.  Chaplains have very difficult jobs, and are some of the strongest people I have ever met in my life.  Consider that they are meeting people at some of the most difficult moments of their lives.  We (they) are not there to take the place of your pastor or shove Jesus down your throat.  We are there to meet you where you are, not to judge.  I found that to be the most beneficial thing I could ever do.  Somewhere during the process of 400 hours in the hospital, you find yourself changing.  I had stood at the side of the bed with enough people as they had taken their last breath, watched family members agonize over what course of treatment to take with their loved one, that I figured out what was important.  For me; 

1. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind

2. Live until you die

Indeed, it is absurd that one should ever hear the following statement from a child, “I don’t want to die.”  What is more absurd, is that the statement requires a response, not because it is a fear, but because it is reality.  It is absurd that parents should have to bury their children, because that is not the natural order of life, now is it?  So often I heard “It just happened so fast.” or “If we just would have had more time.”  No one ever say, they should have worked more hours at the office.  I heard their regrets.

Do you have regrets?  Well, you aren’t dead yet; so, live.  Live until you die.  Come together with fantastic people like I did and do absurd things.  Grow.  Learn.  Challenge yourself.  Do those things that are hard, and sometimes hurt like hell.   Live until you die and hopefully you won’t be disappointed at the end, I know I won’t be.