Saturday, June 20, 2009

Feeling kinda low as I won't be preaching tomorrow although, I do have a prayer and benediction to work for a supply preaching Sunday when we return from vacation the beginning of July.
I have no clue where this time of transition will lead. My self-confidence is in the gutter and I am clinging to hope.
I pray to the Silence and try to trust the One who is Life. It is most difficult not to get discouraged or give in to despair. I cannot ignore or mitigate the anguish of my soul. I have been in such an abyss before but each time has different nuances and I know God is longing to bring something to me, only I don't know what and struggle with the time that it takes and for the healing to come.
I am restless and nothing seems to bring me much peace or comfort. So, I do things for short periods and little by little there are pieces of accomplishment. That helps a bit. It gets me through another day. But the angst over our future has gripped my heart and squeezes until I can't catch my breath. I take deep breaths. I pray. But it always comes back, during the day, after dinner, in the wee hours of the morning while I am still abed but can no longer sleep. And I keep praying to the Silence that is God for now.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

to be home on a Tuesday
to not be at peace
to struggle to breathe
to not succomb to despair
to keep working on my dossier

Trying desperately to keep everything in perspective. I wish I had approached some things differently, yet, they may not have made any great difference at all. Only God knows that.
I gave my last sermon Sunday and the COM rep felt it was good and loving. Can one live the love of Christ in the midst of pain and rejection. Yup. Only it takes all and everything you have and the very strength of Christ. And afterwards, you are so empty. I am glad it's over. It has been a difficult 5 months.
LH is dealing with some of the same. We will soon be in a pickle if something doesn't up soon for him or me.
What is going on in our churches? Full of fear and anxiety over their survival, yet not always willing to try something or even supporting the something members try.
I am much stronger in the short term than long term and will hopefully focus on interim, supply or designated pastor positions.
Toby, our newest greyhound, is simply not adjusting after 6 months. He destroyed several CD's while at a VBS fundraiser Sunday evening. The very last straw.
We will have to return him and our contact is willing to make a trade for a more laid back greyhound.
Perhaps, in some ways, I was not the best match for this church. They needed someone to live in town and commuting in and not always being in town every evening was a dynamic that simply didn't work there. There will be new life for them and for me, for LH. INFJ's have a harder go of it.
So, there will be a trip to IN and hard as it is to give up a dog, he needs a home where he will get more attention and stimulation. A road trip might good to put some distance between me and the church and to take one day at a time, trusting ever and always in our God of Life. Feeling in the storm tossed boat with the disciples and trusting that Jesus is in the stern even when I see him not.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


The Synod of the Covenant has had to cancel the John Bell Retreat up in Michigan.
John was seriously ill with internal bleeding and undergoing tests. He has been diagnosed with a bleeding ulcer and will be taking it easy for the next month or two as he heals and recovers. May our prayers be with John for continued healing, a good recovery and time to replenish his spirit.

Packing up my office at the church, it's simply amazing how much stuff I accumulated in 5 years. Two bulging wastebasketfuls!! And there are yet 2 stacks on the bookshelf. Finding room in our already full of boxes basement, I know it must be time to chuck things big time. But, I'm of the sort, who thinks, "you never know when you'll need it." And about the time, I get rid of something, shortly afterwards, it is revealed that it was just the thing I needed!
The empty office echoes the emptiness I feel within me. I am tired, worn out and nearly completely drained. It's as though everything has been sucked out from me. The question remains, what does God want with me? To what and to whom is God calling me?
I try not to get too discouraged. Some relationships work out better than others and mistakes are made by all parties. My intellect tells me this but the heart takes more convincing and needs time to heal. Did I mention, that I feel like I could sleep for a week? I'll settle for 8 good hours when this Sunday is behind me.
It has taken every drop of energy, resolve, grace, love and the power of God to keep going. How dismissed does one feel when a parishioner swishes a cord during the sermon? There is nothing more I can say to her. She has blocked me and no longer hears.
I have stood firm in my faith, acted lovingly and graciously throughout. They cannot fault that nor my integrity.
There is new life that yet awaits them and me.
Until then, there are still a couple more boxes that need to be packed and removed, and goodbyes that need to be said.
It has been a sad and difficult week, but there is the grace of Christ's presence that sustains me and is there in the prayers and goodbyes. I have felt it.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009


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!