Monday, June 23, 2008

it is what it is...***CAUTION: LOOOOONG BLOG***

nine and one half years ago, ryan and i (not married at the time or even dating) began the journey of church-planting with my cousin, scott, and his wife michelle and their two kids, along with many other great people. it started out in a living room. looking back, those were precious times that will always mean a great deal to me. they were a time when God deeply spoke to my heart, and i also fell in love with a great man. i'll always cherish those months...

the past nine years have been a growing, changing, challenging, sometimes frustrating, stretching, molding, and rewarding time for ryan and i - both personally, and in our marriage. we started out being involved with the music /worship aspect and eventually, headed it up ourselves. we have done so for the past several years. during this time, ryan and i have learned a lot about ministry, a lot about people, and both the good/disappointing parts of ministry. we've had the unique position of serving under my cousins and being a part of the inner workings of the church body - which was sometimes a lot of fun and sometimes heartbreaking. through the years we have gained so much - knowledge, experience, and most importantly some close friends and seeing people come to Jesus. we've become close to people, and then experienced the pain of seeing them go. we've been living our dream of together leading people into the presence of God through worship, which is such a humbling experience. it's a dream fulfilled to be able to share that with my husband and be in ministry with our dear family. it is our passion; it is our heart. we thought it would last forever...or at least for many more years...

last monday, scott and michelle shared with us that they would be resigning the church. the overwhelming emotions i felt left us speechless and heartbroken. we've become so accustomed to our situation, and this was The One Thing we thought would never never even crossed our minds. i realized...we've been too comfortable (more on that later)...throughout the next week, i personally went through many stages of what i can only describe as grief and heartbreak. confusion, hurt and eventually, anger, set in. i worked through those emotions as best as i could and tried not to let bitterness take root in my heart. the hardest part for us was not being able to talk this out with friends. any of you that know me, know that i am a talker. it's how i process and how i "work it out". this was extremely hard for me. i couldn't even talk to my closest friends (hello, i'm a woman: we talk). so i hid. i hid in my house for a week. i didn't do laundry, i didn't clean my house - i just played with my kids, cooked meals, and read. i processed. and i cried. a lot.

scott announced his resignation yesterday to the church. it was a sorrowful, painful time, but i left encouraged by friends, family, and the elders of the church who shared their hearts and their vision for our church body. and if i could be encouraged, my hope is that others were as well. i'm starting to believe this could be a positive change for our church and for the community as well. our hope is that people will stay, band together and believe good things for our church. we are a strong group of people and i have high hopes for the future.

the rug has been pulled from under ryan and i. like i said, we've been too comfortable and now it's time to see what we're made of. our first instinct was to R.U.N. as we thought it would be too painful to stick around and serve under a new guy. that was grief and anger clouding our hearts and minds. the bottom line is this: we have to be here for this. even though this church was not our idea, we embraced it and the vision. we've spent a lot of time here. we've fallen in love with the people here. we love leading worship here. most of all, we love God and know that He has a plan for this church body, many of whom this is the only church experience they've ever had. we cannot abandon ship. our time and efforts will be spent supporting the people we love in the church that we love, offering our shoulders to lean on and house to gather at during this transition time. we are new to this. we are used to being in the background. God has called us to step it up and lead, which is a scary thing for me having grown up in a pastor's home. we've been called out of our comfort zone and through this short time that i've had to process all of this, God has strengthened my will and my heart. i still grieve, but i am left with a little shiny ray of hope. and hope is all i need. please be in prayer for our church and for ryan and i and our elders. most importantly, please pray for wisdom and discernment as well as a strong will for our church body. we've got some important decisions to make and WE NEED prayer. thank you to all of you who sent words of encouragement and prayers for me last week. they really helped me through when i felt so alone and sad. i learned i have some pretty amazing friends.

as the elders so eloquently stated yesterday, we follow God. not a man. our hope is in Him and He, HE will never let us down. He will never fail. That is music to my ears. How amazing is that?

And, if you made it all the way through this blog, how amazing is that?