I am nearing the end of this project – writing along with reading through this book; processing through as we neared the end of our last church and entered the interim wilderness. Has it been helpful? I’m still considering that as past hurts were unearthed and re-examined simultaneously with the stress of the current ministry break-down. I’ve found my tone here to be much more negative while responding to the thoughts of each day. A pulling out of poison or stewing in it further? Time will tell if it was healthy or not. I have all of these stories to share and it is unfortunate that so much of my sharing has been on the negatives. I am hopeful that as this book draws to a close, I will be able to bring my posts into the current adventure we are on, and have less of the past breaking through.
“Most of us start out in ministry with bright eyes and open hearts. Loving deeply and sincerely comes naturally. We throw ourselves into our communities and our churches and serve wholeheartedly.
But along the way ministry gets hard. Broken people bring their own brokenness into the picture, and we discover our own blind spots and messy places. We face unwarranted criticism and battles for control. … Sometimes we can work through these things and stay. Sometimes we can’t. And the load of past hurts and traumas starts piling up, crushing us beneath its weight.
Pain lingers, and we flinch around the past the same way we avoid touching a scar that remains tender even after it’s already healed. Even after we’ve moved on and found healing, the memory of past hurts can make it hard to give our hearts again. … we can internalize that loving the church brings us pain.” (Renewed, Leigh Powers, pg 130)
We must remember the call. We must call to mind every God-story we have had on our journey. We must see the faithfulness of God as the constant golden thread that ties the tapestries of our lives together. His love for us will see us through.
This is my current worship song that I am clinging to: Build My Life. It has helped me to remember who God is and that we have a call to those whom God places around us. My 12 and 10 year old daughters sang it with me on our last Sunday at our last church. We have continued to teach it to our small prayer group who meet with us on Sundays.
Before we were forced out, the question in my spirit was,”What if God asks us to walk away without any financial support? No severance pay or anything… what if He is wanting us to learn to depend fully on Him?” It scared me to consider. Then at the AGM where my pastor-husband was voted out, one board member made it sound as if there was not going to be severance pay. The board met 3 days later with our District Superintendent and it was determined that the church would pay for 3 months severance pay.
After that AGM, one of our prayer group went to the other prayer group members and asked if they would be willing to join him in supporting our family financially – not that they would take on replacing our entire paycheque, but if they would be willing to give their tithes/offerings to us. They have and we have been so blessed by their commitment and love. Another pastor friend mentioned our plight on his social media and a contact of his wants to help financially. Another social media contact of ours who used to attend this church before moving provinces has also given. Even though we are not currently in great need, we know that God is already providing for our future needs. It helps me not to worry so much when I can see God’s hand already moving hearts. It is so humbling.
Another God-story in the making: our denomination head was given a free, week long ministry retreat for pastoral couples. He has already been and so let all of the district superintendents know that if they had any ministry couples who could use this gift, to let him know and he would pass it on. Our D.S. let him know about us and no one else has spoken of a need, so it is looking like we are going to be able to go – hopefully next month.
Also next month, I am hopeful that my plans for a family retreat/get-away can happen. It will be short, but beneficial. I’ve chosen a small, mountain town that has hot spring pools and is close to other hot spring towns. There is something so beautiful and strengthening about resting and replenishing in the mountains. God’s majesty shines through.
Other God-stories involving more specific direction and details for the future will have to wait for another day. 🙂
“Christ is the healer of our hearts. Our healing comes as we love him – and as we love how Christ shows himself in the hearts of his people. …. Uncross your arms and unclench your fists. Your heart is safe with the Father. The enemy may still attack. People will still throw stones. But God is the protector and the healer of your heart. Open your arms … And if you still don’t have it in you to give your heart to the church again, give it to Jesus. He’ll know what to do.” (Ibid., pg 131-2)