Monday, July 24, 2006

A Fresh Start and A Second Chance

A lot has happened since my last entry. There's lots of pain and loss as well as some victories in between and I won't go into all of that here. Maybe I'll put in the next book that I write which will be an expanded version of chapter 9 of the my current book titled What Now?

Chapter nine deals with repairing broken places in our lives and in our hearts. In our first few months of establishing a new ministry here in Pennsylvania, a whole lot of my broken places came to the surface. One of the local pastors who befriended me told me that the first five years of their church were for him. He said the first years of a church are all about the forming and shaping of the senior pastor. He added that the people who stick with him while he's going through his process, those are his leaders. "The ones who can't go through it with you," he told me, "they are not supposed to be with you."

I learned that lesson the hard way. I discovered that I still had not gotten over the abuse we took from many people, as associate pastors. There were many years of taking blows from people in the congregation. I buried it deep inside, but when we started the work that God sent us out to do, I unleashed a lot of that anger and frustration.

Our sons and daughters who followed us here to try to help us had all been abused by leaders in their lives. So when leaders who had been abused by people tried to work with people who had been abused by leaders, all our broken places came out!

I trust that one day we will be able to reconcile. God has done a lot to heal us and restore us since that season. We are now just "regular people" working "regular jobs" and ministering to a small group of people every Friday night out of our life and marriage. GOD has caused us to prosper and excel here. I'm working in my profession of communications. Carol is working in her area of skill also. Our income is good and solid. We are connected with a good church and pastor and our children, now, have friends and young people they can connect with. Our home is, again, filled with teenagers on the weekends. It hasn't been like this, for us, for a very long time.

I pray that all goes well for everyone that had to leave us, as well. Even though we HAD to part ways because we were all still dealing with the wounds of the past, I pray that they receive the kind of healing God is giving us. We will not be able to fulfill what GOD sent us here to do without this healing.

I see that the true lesson in all of this is forgiveness. If you don't forgive the ones who hurt you, you will, one day, hurt the ones who trully love you. We all did that to one another.

I thank God for a fresh start and a second chance!