QUITE A MONTH:
It has been a month since my last post and it has been a roller coaster.
I am leaving small rural church and Sunday, June 14th will be my last day.
I survived 5 years here and nurtured relationships and failed at others. I pray they will learn to communicate in healthy, honest ways.
And although, membership and finances were fairly stable, these past months, finances have been less so.
I have been a lightening rod, so to speak, for a rapidly aging congregation and younger ones. They have challenges to face and reality to face into.
I have made a couple mistakes as have they. Unfortunately, they were not willing to work through them and to grasp the reconcilation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
It has been a month of anguish, failure, repentance, forgiveness, and grace.
I have noticed a draining of my energy in the past year and a lessening of joy. Not that I am afraid of challenge.
But I am drained and empty at this point and ready to move on, after some breathing space. I feel as though I could sleep for a week!
There is a different dynamic in a rural community when the pastor lives away from town. I was upfront with that in the interview.
I have stood firm in my faith and in my love for them. But it is time, for me and for them to move on, trusting ever in God.
One never wants to wish time away, but I wish that this Sunday was already over.
And the burden of these past weeks can be lifted from my shoulders, heart and spirit.
I would have liked to leave under better conditions but it is as it is and God and I are making the best of it.
COM has been helpful and fair.
LH and I are will be going on vacation the last week of June and I know it will be a time of refreshment and renewal - being with my family and on Lake Michigan, walking the beach. Water heals my soul, reminding me of the waters of my baptism which cleanse and claim me as God's own.
So, forgive me for not writing. I have been in much prayer throughout this past month and will be in the coming weeks.
I have kept up with many you, just haven't commented.
Perhaps, after this week, I will have more time write and reflect. Trust God through the changes and transitions in your life. There are always endings but in each ending there is also a new beginning. I am open to where God will lead me next and use even me, flawed, imperfect, and who has taken on a role never imagined - lightening rod! There is ever much learning and growing in faith, and a humbling.
I have been preparing the congregation in the past weeks for this change and ending, with much integrity and faithful to my Lord. It still will be difficult but I trust our God of resurrection and new life as I hope you do, too. Hold fast to the sure and certain hope that is ours ever in Jesus Christ. New life is possible!