Have you ever felt as if you don’t have enough time, energy, or strength for the task at hand? I have. Early in 2014, I was hitting a wall. My friends and family members were encouraging me to slow down and to do more self-care. I was feeling desperate. In addition, in my personal prayer times, I sensed God calling LOVEboldly into a time of transition and change. Reluctantly, I listened. I began asking a few very important questions which, to be honest, scared me to death.
- Who am I without LOVEboldly?
- Who is LOVEboldly without me?
- What is the role that God has called me to play?
I was scared to ask these questions because, frankly, I was afraid that God might call me to pull the plug. The weight of the work was pulling me down. I had very little time for a personal life or hobbies. And I was tired. I started processing my own burnout and asking for extra prayers. And I took an honest look both at my life, and the life of LOVEboldly.
Many people do not realize that LOVEboldly is my part-time job, probably because I treat it with the energy of a full-time job. But unfortunately at this point, it doesn’t pay the bills. (If you’d like to be a part of changing that, you can click that little “Make A Donation” button in the upper right hand corner and I’ll give you a beaming smile, a high five, and a receipt for tax-deduction later – because you make this work actually happen on the ground). But for now, until God wills otherwise, my work with LOVEboldly is mostly done in coffee shops, on the phone, and from the couch in my 1 bedroom apartment. It’s not glamorous or profitable, but it is fulfilling. And I can do it from almost anywhere.
I love my work and I love the people we help. It’s the kind of love that sends me to hospitals to visit our community members when they get knee replacements, that hugs tightly to people after they’ve returned from a psychiatric ward because they’ve wanted to leave this world behind, and that cries happily (too easily, some may say) when I hear that someone has “fired the shame committee” (as my friend, John Smid likes to say) and realized that God really does love them – no matter what. But sometimes, I confess, the work consumes me.
I realized early this year that LOVEboldly needed to take on it’s own life, vision, and goals apart from me. This is the difficulty of founding an organization. It can so easily become the brainchild of it’s founder, and fizzle out when that person cannot carry it any longer. I didn’t want that for LOVEboldly, and I didn’t think God did either. So, after much prayer, I took a risk and asked the board for a sabbatical. During the sabbatical, which lasted for about six months, I asked God to impart vision for our future. I delegated like crazy. I recruited new board members. And the board and I took a retreat out to the Daniel Boone State Park region in Southern Kentucky to ask God what was next.
In one weekend, our board developed renewed mission, vision, and values statements that will guide us towards the future. We developed strategies for strengthening our board and a plan for fundraising that will guide us towards the future. (Did I mention the beaming smile, high five, and tax receipt you’d get for supporting us by clicking that Donate button in the upper right hand corner?) We have the beginnings of a strategic plan for moving forward now, and exciting new ideas for what we want LOVEboldly to become as we grow.
I write today from a bustling coffee shop in downtown Cincinnati, a delicious and trendy joint I plan to make a usual stop for me throughout the week. Yes, I said Cincinnati. In October, I was offered a new day job position, doing one of the things I love (marketing) for an important non-profit organization in Cincinnati which seeks to reinvigorate the life of the Church. It was a perfect fit for my passions and professional skills. I accepted the position and announced my intent to move from the Lexington, KY area.
Many people have asked what the future holds for LOVEboldly with my announcement of the move to Cincinnati. Am I stepping down from leadership? Are we shutting down our work? I am happy to report that no, neither of these things will be happening any time in the forseeable future.
Our Lexington presence continues forward led by good folks on the ground there. We will continue what we are doing in Lexington and we will do it better than we ever have. Our current services and programs are becoming more focused and intentional. If we can raise the support we need, we will expand these services in exciting new ways (contact me if you’d like to hear more about this). I will be making the 1.5 hour commute as needed to support and attend events in Lexington, and enjoying the opportunities it provides me to stay connected to friends in the area. Cincinnati opens new opportunities and networking potential for us as well, and we are excited to be discussing how to move forward in a way that makes our services available to folks around the country, wherever you might be.
The future is bright for LOVEboldly, as we lean into making it an organization that embodies the heart and vision not just of me, it’s founder, but more importantly, of the people who need it the most. It has been a thrilling and truly incredible process to be strategizing and planning for our future. I know I speak on behalf of all of our board members when I say, we are truly excited for what is to come!
I know we haven’t been great about keeping you all up to speed on the changes that have happened over the past several years, but that’s something we want to change. Please sign up for our mailing list here, and contact Christy Wade if you would like to also be added to our prayer-partner list. We have always needed your prayers, your support, and your encouragement, and we need it now, perhaps more than ever, as we move forward. I want to publicly praise and thank our board and our steering committees for all the hard work they have done to move us forward, and for all of the ways they have supported me and LOVEboldly in the midst of so much transition, and in the process of asking difficult questions as we blaze a path forward.
I am excited for what God is doing in all of us through the work of LOVEboldly. I am grateful for the opportunity to invite his Kingdom to come in my life, in your lives, and in the LGBT and Conservative Christian dialogues we will host, attend, and initiate in the years to come. We are all being transformed. I am grateful.
Grace and peace,
Heidi M. Weaver