Today is a new day and a new part of our journey. So what's next?
One of the things that people are going to ask is why now? There are going to be a lot of questions about the time of depression I went through, some of the conflicts we had, the number of new families we experienced joining us and why would God move us on since we are healing. Let me share with you some of the insight God has given to me through this process of making the decision to follow God in a different direction. By no means will these insights be every answer to every question we have. They are also just insights, where God is doing so much more than we know right now. So here I go:
1. Why would God bring us to Faith Lakeside for such a short period of time?
Simply, we needed healing. I am a trauma survivor and I am just finding this out. There are so many things I experienced as a child and young adult that have not been dealt with. The abuses I have experienced and the pain that has been given to me, have not been met with someone leading me through healing. If this is the only reason God brought us here: to find counseling and begin healing, then praise God for His incredible purposes. I am extremely grateful to Faith Lakeside that they followed God's leading (through the Elders) to get us into counseling. We have seen God's sovereign work in getting us not only counseling, but to the counselor we have. Michelle and I are blown away with how God has orchestrated everything in the past 16 months. It has been only God, who could have worked the way He did and have the outcome that we are experiencing. If there has ever been a time where I see God's incredible sovereignty, this is that time.
2. Why would God sell your house in Ohio just before you resigned? And why a short sale?
Again a simple answer. I believe if we still owned the house (without a contract) when I walked off the stage in January, I might have run away and tried to hide in the house when I began to struggle again. Here is the real answer: God stripped away one of my last securities so that I would only have Him to trust. I know for some reading this, that sounds mean for God to do that, but for Michelle and I, it is incredibly loving. God knows He is everything I need. He knew I needed healing and He didn't allow my earthly possessions to get in the way of His work of healing me. I can say today that I have nothing to hold onto in security except for Him. Even in our thoughts and questions about where He is taking us, there is no expectation except for the thought "we will experience the life of Jesus even more through this". God took away something I was clinging to for healing and replaced it with Himself, which brought real healing. Why a short sale? I believe He kept us form buying a house in PA because of His plan to transition us to something different. So many times have I taught people to be okay with the situations God has put them in. Many times, God is doing this for our own good and I believe not being able to buy a house has been for our good. Now we are praying for more of God's grace because of the lease we are in.
3. If you are healing, why not stay and help grow the church?
I believe this is answered through several reasons. First, Michelle and I have looked at staying from several different angles only to sense that God was saying it is time to do something different. Again, I have no idea what that different thing is, but we put our "yes" on the table and are attaching our future to God's journey for us. Second, we see that the church probably needs a different pastor leading. There are areas that we see the church growing and healing, but we feel there is another man to lead that growth and healing. When I pray through this and then talk with our Elders, I become more excited for the future of Faith. I believe God is giving them the leadership they need to flourish through our Elders and one day, through a future Senior Pastor. There are many good things that we see God doing with Faith, but see another person leading them as that answer. Third, and probably the best reason, we sense God saying its time for a new journey. I know I kinda of said this for the first reason, but we see more clearly everyday that God has given us certain passions and that He will use those passions in different context. We have surrendered that context to God and will look for Him to place us where He wants us. We currently live in a joyful hope that has a touch of fear in it.
4. Are you leaving because of someone hurting you?
No and no and let me say no again. Although every church has struggles and that there are times we hurt each other, we are not leaving because we are hurt. We asked God if we could stay, but we feel God saying "lets go do something else together". I can tell you that this decision is based on God revealing and reminding us of some incredible truths. No one but God and our family (maybe the Elders) are the reasoning for this decision. In the clarity that God is giving to us, its clear that something new and fresh is being done with us and the church. We just don't see that God is taking us through this fresh new season along side of the fresh new season He is taking Faith. I say this with complete confidence, I resigned because I felt God telling me it was His best for our family and His church. He has an incredible future for both of us, it seems that future is going to be walked down different paths.
Michelle and I were incredibly blessed by the many words of kindness and the loving tears that were shed by many of our Faith family yesterday. We are sad that our journey doesn't continue together but we have a great joy and hope for Faith's future and our future. We are praying for Faith while the Elders look for God's path for them. We are praying for our future and hoping that God gives us a place to serve where our children flourish in their gifting and friendships. The more Michelle and I talk and pray, our love for God's Will, His Work and His life; becomes stronger. We believe we will worship with our Faith family for at-least the next month as we serve the church in a new way. Then, as God reveals to us our next place to serve, we will share that with you. I ask you to pray for us; when God prompts you to, please reach out to us and share your love with us. We know God has an incredible future for all of us!