Meet the Board: Kelly Edmiston

It was a warm summer day in Houston where I sat at my sister’s house. We were attending my nephew’s birthday party and everyone in my family was outside playing and having a good time except me. I was sitting inside on the couch in my sister’s bedroom nursing my new-born son. I heard the squeals of delight and laughter from where I sat on the couch. I could see the sun shining outside but I was left inside, alone with the fluorescent lights trying to get my baby to fall asleep so I could re-join the party. It was at this moment, right before I plunged into a pool of self-pity, that my phone rang. It was Rhesa Higgins. To this day, I am not sure how she got my number. She told me about the ministry of Eleven:28. She told me about her desire to support women in ministry and asked if I would be interested in participating in a mentor group of local women ministers. Only God could have orchestrated the meeting of my great need with the vision of Eleven:28, to provide spiritual care for care-givers. What no one knew, at this point in my life, was that I was isolated and on the road, full speed ahead, to ministry burn out.

Isolation

Sitting alone on my sister’s couch while everyone outside was having a great time is exactly the way I felt in my soul, like I was missing out on something great. As a woman in ministry for a decade at that point, I had no other friends or mentors or colleagues that shared an experience similar to mine. I had no one I could ask questions about motherhood and ministry.  A month prior to Rhesa’s call I remember coming to a cross roads in my career as I juggled my ministry, my growing family and my master’s degree. I began looking around for someone who understood and I found no help. I made a call to a woman I had heard of in New York and like a thirsty woman in the desert I fired question after question after question for over an hour asking her how she juggled it all. She gave me great advice but after ten years in ministry this conversation was my first experience with a mentor.

Burn Out

Isolation led to burn out. I found myself disengaged from the ministry that I had given my life to. The things that used to give me energy now drained me. I embraced a “fake it til you make it” mentality and believed the lie that if I would work harder the emptiness would go away. On top of that, I believed that I could tell no one about the state of my soul. It was my job, after all, to care for the souls of others. Who would be able to handle the questions I had for God? Who would be able to respond to my empty soul? I believed that I had to be strong for the people I was serving.

Eleven:28 has poured life back in to my soul and set me on a path to know God in my daily life where ministry and motherhood collide.  I am no longer sitting on the couch inside while the people around me enjoy the sun. After Rhesa’s call we began our Houston covenant group. We meet monthly to “check-in” on the state of our souls and for spiritual formation. I also meet monthly, one-on-one, for spiritual direction. These two ministries of Eleven:28 have rescued me from burn out and isolation. They have given me access to life-giving mentoring relationships with other women in ministry. I can say with complete confidence that I would not be serving in ministry today were it not for Rhesa and the ministry of Eleven:28.

But I am still serving after twelve years in Student Ministry! I am the Student and Family Minister at the First Colony Church of Christ in Sugar Land, Texas. I am very close to completing an M.Div from ACU. I am a frequent retreat speaker, bible teacher and writer. My writing has been featured on Scot McKnight’s Jesus Creed and Sean Palmer’s “The Palmer Perspective” blogs. I am married to Ben and together we parent Mason (5), Hunter (3) and Ruth Cate (1). I have no hobbies because we are raising three toddlers.

I am serving on the board of Eleven:28 because I am eternally grateful to be a recipient of this ministry and I will spend my life telling others about the benefits of soul-care for care givers.

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