Brief CPE Reflection

Since I promised at least a few quick updates or reflections, here is one at least. 🙂

Obviously, I am limited in terms of what I can share in terms of direct experiences, but I can say that this is a learning experience like no other, and when former CPE students say that there is nothing like it and that there is really no way to prepare — they are right! The same can be said about our experience of both Shawn and I doing this at the same time (different CPE programs – thankfully!), and yet day by day we are doing it.

I just finished my first 24 hour on call and while there are so many things I could have done differently, I did do it and did not have any real anxiety or times of panic, so that is certainly an OK thing. So much to reflect on in terms of where all of this meats my own faith and theology. Since my on-call was on Sunday I was also busy planning and leading two worship services. Going into CPE I thought that the worship services would be a major time of anxiety since planning and leading worship is not an area I feel called to, but that was not really the case. The small group led type service was an especially comfortable and fulfilling.

Surprises so far? — too many to even name briefly. On a practical level the amount of outside work, at least this first couple of weeks as I was in class a lot and starting with quite a few on-call times to (try) to prepare for this weekend was more intense than I would have imagined.

I am becoming quite protective of my “off” time and prioritizing self care and family time. I am also redefining what good self care is for myself, including care that restores my spirit. For example, I really do love listening to public radio and since I don’t have much time to do that, my time commuting alone in the car was always valued as a time to “connect with the outside world” so to speak in that way. This week I realized that was not really helping me in the way that I needed so I switched to listening to the music that connects to my soul right now (currently a few CDs by Dakota Road as well as one by Casting Crowns), and this helps. I have also been getting back to prioritizing physical movement as well as meditation … and rest.

Prayer requests — that our family can continue to navigate this summer in a way that meets the needs of our family and does not leave anyone burned out or otherwise exhausted (spiritually or physically), and that I continue to be open to the learning process this summer.

I’ll end with one verse from a Dakota Road song that I also shared with my peers this morning before leaving for my day off (and now I realize the value of two days off in a row … looking foward to next weekend when Shawn and I both have two days off in a row!!!)

Your touch is on us God of day and of night
Inspire our living to do what is right
Move in our hearts with your Spirit that we
may bring hope to places of hurt and of need

Blessings on your day.

Love and belief~


My soul will rest

I am not a musical person, and yet there are times when only music can express a complexity of passions and thoughts in a way that resonates. So, while I have no musical gifts to share I do often turn to music to soothe my restless soul, and I plan to gradually share many of the songs that I frequently turn to either by sharing bits of lyrics or by sharing links to hear a song online.

Please share comments about the songs that inspire and comfort you.

Since being introduced to Dakota Road’s music a few years ago, their CDs have accompanied me on many long drives, including recent trips back and forth between the La Crosse area and Dubuque. I often find myself still meditating on the lyrics long after a song ends. Below is one song that strongly resonates with me. Or rather, below are the first lines of each verse along with a link to full lyrics.

When there’s bread for all people then my soul will rest…
When we all have safe shelter then my soul will rest…
When there’s peace on this planet then my soul will rest…
When I’m laid in the soil then my soul will rest

(from “My Soul will Rest” by Dakota Road)
Words and Music by Larry Olson and Karol Baer

Listening to these words my heart aches with the weight of all suffering and the work to be done, and yet in that last line I feel the promise of a peaceful eternity.

I am meant to be the hands and feet of Christ here on earth. The work will not be done. My soul will remain restless.

There is peace for me in this refrain.

May the peace of the Lord be with you always.

Love and belief,