As our ministry has grown and changed, we’ve seen many seasons. Seasons where our team had extra time on their hands during lockdown and seasons where we’ve been busier yet still tried to be faithful to this ministry God has led each of us to, and everything in between. Over the last few months, I’ve seen our staff members, many of whom are struggling through their own journeys of loneliness, chronic illness, relationships, trauma, and grief, stay faithful to the course on which we’ve embarked.
Yet God does not ask us to serve Him to the point of burnout. This morning, as I was reading in Mark 6, I was struck by Christ’s perspective on rest. After He sent the disciples out to proclaim repentance and to heal and cast out demons, they returned to give a report. Scripture says many were coming and going to the apostles and Jesus. They didn’t even have the “leisure to eat.” So did Jesus grant them supernatural stamina to power their way through? No. Jesus said, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” (Mark 6:31b)
Jesus commanded His disciples to rest.
I could talk more on how the Western church’s theology of rest occasionally seems skewed or missing, but let’s just take Jesus’s words and ponder them a moment. How many times have you told yourself, “Just suck it up and get work done!”? I know I have. (This quote is actually something a friend of mine who is also in ministry laughingly admitted she’d told herself.)
We haven’t always had the best plan in place for when a TWRP staff member isn’t available. I can think of a number of times when somebody was sick or preoccupied with family crises when we didn’t have the capacity to cover the work. Before launching this ministry, I wouldn’t have thought putting out an article a week and a few social media posts takes all that much effort, but I now know it’s due to the incredible dedication of our faithful volunteers that we’re able to serve you in these ways. Yet we are currently in a season where enough of our members need rest—and some new members need training—that we’ve decided to take a step back before any of our precious staff members reach burnout.
In order to honor both a proper theology of rest and the needs of our staff members, we will be taking a hiatus from article publishing until such a time as we are fully rested and prepared to continue with this corner of our ministry. For now, our Instagram team will still be active. We also may be praying about the Lord’s will with a few secret projects we’ve been dreaming about, but our main focus will be resetting our systems to better honor our staff’s needs. You won’t see much of the fruit of this work, but at The Wilting Rose Project, we also believe that faithfulness doesn’t need to be seen to matter.
It seems fitting to take this moment and thank a few of our current and past members whose faithfulness has allowed us to serve you. I know blogs can seem highly impersonal, but behind the articles is a team of young women and girls who are very like you. They were drawn to join The Wilting Rose Project because they wanted to serve young women who, like them, have struggled. They want to spread the Gospel and remind others of its beauty and truth.
Julia Naus originated our email list and sent it out faithfully until her role was taken over by Jenevieve. After Jenevieve, a few members juggled the newsletter. Lately, you’ve been hearing most frequently from Cat Thompson, who also serves as our head graphic designer and is an incredibly talented young lady.
You rarely hear from Rebecca Johnson, but her work is part of every article you read. As our Head Editor, she brings each editor through a training course and teaches them how to gently improve the work of our content writers, whether in the initial content edits or down to the details of grammatical line edits. We’ve also had so many other editors on staff, who work directly with the writers and are so vital to our team.
Over on Instagram, Julia Skinner (who you might also know on bookstagram as @litaflameblog) has led our team, which includes Gabriella R. (my sister and best friend) and Michelle, who write the posts, and Megan on Instagram Stories. All of these ladies (and again, Cat, who designs our lovely graphics) serve so faithfully, and we are so grateful for them.
Behind the scenes, Bethani T. has been a whirlwind, working to format and publish articles, as well as a myriad of other technological tasks and sending a few newsletters. In the past, Jennifer and Tara worked in tandem to set up organizational systems which saved us from much distress and helped our long-distance team to work together, and now Kellyn is generously taking their place to help set a vision and bring her skill set as an author to our team.
So to all our members, past and present, thank you. Your service here has allowed our ministry to bring articles and social media posts to the Roses. We are so grateful to you.
The first ministry I ever served in was a Christian conference for young ladies. I wasn’t front and center; I was positioned in the kitchen, helping to cook food with an older lady who was, unfortunately, quite crabby. My sister Gabriella and I still talk over that experience and marvel how just standing in a corner washing dishes under her was so exhausting. (One time, we were “allowed” to leave the kitchen to attend a prayer meeting, but we had to take garlic along to peel…during prayer.) At the end of the week, the conference staff told us our food had been the best they’d ever had and they didn’t know how we’d ever accomplished it. My sister and I looked at each other and thought back on the fancy meals we’d made. In each of our minds we wondered, “Wait. You mean it didn’t have to be this much work?” It’s funny now, but a lesson: there’s nothing admirable in being an overachiever. God doesn’t want us to push ourselves to the very end without rest.
We pray that The Wilting Rose Project can serve as an example in this. By choosing to publicly declare that rest is a good and essential aspect of our ministry, may we honor the Lord. After all, even God, after creating for six days straight, said that it was good, and rested.
We don’t take our responsibility to you lightly, so in our time away we will be praying about how we can best serve you with our limited time and resources. We’re also so excited to get to know our new members and give them the training they’ll need. (By the way, applications are still open, if joining a ministry where rest and work are equally valued appeals to you. 😉) During our hiatus, make sure you’re signed up for our email list, as we might send out a few special newsletters. On our return to the blog and the newsletter, how we approach these aspects of our ministry may look a little different, but we trust that if the Lord leads us to it, it will be good.
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Bethany’s name means “bright city on a hill.” This is her mission in life, to illuminate the beautiful things and shine God’s light where there was darkness. Bethany leads The Wilting Rose Project, a ministry of encouragement for young women who feel their struggles make them worthless. She writes tales inspired by her love of the forest, where she spends many of her mornings, soaking in the uniquely Minnesotan beauty. Her blog includes more personal documentation of her journey the last few years with Lyme disease and Toxic Mold illness and the journey of healing she is now on
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