So much weight

I’m in a “messy head space” kinda way these days.  My best defense is usually to write it out, so I hope you will excuse me while I “vomit” out on the keyboard for a moment.

One year ago this month we were in the hospital with Adara for her heart problems.  We were admitted April 7 and discharged May 7 with her surgery being April 25.  I’m thankful BEYOND WORDS for how God chose to heal her and how well she is doing now!  But this time still takes me back to those days in my memory and I feel the weight of those days.  Being torn between my two precious kids, living at the hospital watching Adara struggle to gain weight, missing Caleb and his hugs, hearing about his day, his sweet smiles.  I’m just so thankful for where this year has taken Adara and her health!

Three years ago I had to close Veritas.  I don’t know why, but this hit me really hard while I was sitting at church yesterday.  Nothing brought it up at all, it just fell on me like a ton of bricks.  I miss so much of “my old life” sometimes.  Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE being able to be home with my kids.  It’s just that I feel like I’m not living out my calling.  I do believe I am called by God to be these kids’ mom and to take care of their (many) needs.  But I just have this nagging feeling that there’s more.

Caleb is going to (finally) go through all the evaluation at school to be able to get help at school for his SPD.  We’ve been waiting for this all school year.  Through their evaluations they should (hopefully) also be able to see if anything else is going on with him.  This will get everything set up for next year so he can get whatever he needs at school to be most successful.  He really is smart – he’s already been reading at a first grade level and doing so well with math!  He just has so many struggles with focusing, social issues, etc. due to his SPD.  While I am SO glad this is finally getting in order at school, it’s hard.  It’s like it makes it more real somehow.  I just so want him to be happy and successful at school, so I’m glad it’s happening.  I just wish there was no need for it.  It’s hard as a mom to see your child struggle.  It just breaks my heart sometimes.

I’ve really bee struggling off and on with the affair lately.  Again, nothing really triggers it, it just happens sometimes.  Tim’s work schedule is REALLY crazy right now.  They have a SUPER busy month so he literally isn’t home very much.  And when he is home he is so wiped out and preoccupied with work (his job requires that he be on call 24/7 so he gets lots of texts, emails and phone calls) that there isn’t really any time for “us”.  Things that we need to work on are just going to have to wait until next month.  And that’s not the end of the world, it’s just that I feel kinda lonely in the meantime.

There are times I just wish God would sit on the couch with me and chat.  I’d love a few good hugs too!  I wish I could just talk all this out with Him and hear His answers to why and what do I do now?  I’ll do it, just tell me what You want me to do.  I want that “big picture” He sees so clearly, not this tiny view I have.

At church yesterday the pastor was talking about a tough budget meeting they were going to have after church and explained that there are people with the gift of faith who just want to make more room for God to work….and there are those who are more into looking at the numbers and making everything balance properly.  And both are needed!

Well, I think I have that gift of faith.  At least most of the time.  I still have faith that God is going to work all this out and will be with me each moment of each day.  I’m thankful for that.  I just wish this could all be worked out.  Or to at least have the plan laid out in front of me!

But, I guess if I had the plan laid out in front of me, that wouldn’t require faith then, huh??

Advertisements

Lost

I’ve said before that blogging helps to sort things out in my head.  To clear the fog a little sometimes.  To weed through the gook.

I feel gooky.  I’m not sure if I’ll even publish this.  But I need to sort things out I suppose.

I don’t know where my life is going.  Have you ever felt that way?

Kinda lost.

Aimless.

Wandering without a clear direction.

That pretty much describes how I’ve been feeling for quite some time now.

When my “career” sort of ended with Tim’s affair I was ok to take some time off.  To take time to heal, get my feet back under me, work on our marriage and figure out where to go from here.

That was over 2 years ago now and I still don’t know what direction to head in.

Obviously I’m a mom.  And that is a HUGE job!  HUUUUUUUGE!!!!!  I am SO thankful I can be home with them in these young years and not have to worry about trying to ask for time off from a job for all of Adara’s doctor’s appointments, missing work or having to quit a job for her surgery, etc.  Gosh, I can’t even imagine what life would have been like if I had had a job during all her appointments and surgery in those first few months.  God was SO gracious to give me that time with both of the kids and to be able to focus on her needs!

But I can’t help but shake this nagging feeling that I have something more.  That I should be doing something else too.

It’s no secret I still miss Veritas.  I still miss working in ministry.  I miss being around people.  I miss pouring into people.  I miss creatively communicating God’s message.  I miss wrestling with verses in the Bible as Tim and I discuss topics and messages.  Debating what they mean, what God is trying to tell us, verses that seemingly contradict other parts of the Bible and wrestling with those questions so we can be more prepared (never having all the answers!) to teach those messages and wrestle those issues with people at church.  There are a lot of things I miss…..

Being a stay at home mom is very isolating.  I keep telling myself if we ever get to move I am going to make sure and LOVE that house because those walls are all I get to see most days!  Sure, I get to go to doctor’s appointments, the grocery store, Target, but those are not “life giving” places to go for me!  I don’t have much contact with other adults.  And if I do, our conversations are interrupted every 5.5 seconds by a little person.  So, needless to say, not much significant conversating happens!  😉

I miss getting in the trenches with people.  Trudging through the muck with them.  Celebrating with them when they’re victorious.  Listening.  Praying.

Right now about the most time I have for conversations is a text.  And even those are often times written in a few sittings because I can’t get a WHOLE text written without interruption!  You can forget a phone conversation!  (C’mom moms, you know what I’m talking about, right?!?!)

I’ve been told….”this is just for a season.”

But is it?

How do I know?

And how do I squelch this nagging gnawing in my gut?

Our church is great.  The pastors are so caring.  They seek God so whole-heartedly.  There are great people who go there.

But, for me, the services are dry.  So dry.

I CRAVE artistic expression.  Color.  Sound.  Smell.  Drama.  Video.  Creative reading.  Stories.  Creative interaction with the message.  ANYTHING.

And we just don’t have that.  And they are NOT wrong for not having that.  They prefer a much simpler kind of church.  Let’s teach the Bible and worship through music and pray and be in community.  That’s what they stand for.  And that is NOT wrong.

I just NEED the creative expression of God too.  My heart needs to be touched, not just my head.

And I wonder if I will ever be able to do that again.  It’s hard to accept that I may not.  That perhaps my time in ministry in the capacity I was in is over for good.

I wonder why God would taunt me with that.  Why would He fill my heart so full as I served Him only to let someone else’s choices take that away and never give it back?

Or maybe something is wrong with ME!  Maybe it’s not Tim’s affair that took me away and has kept me away.  Maybe it’s solely my own fault that God is choosing to not use me.  Maybe it’s just easier to blame Tim and not take ownership for my own failings.

I wish I could just let it go.  I need to ask God to let me be fulfilled in the role of “mom” that He has given me now.  I need to be happy being at home and ask Him to show me how I can serve Him HERE.  I need to stop looking out and wanting more.

It’s ok if you don’t comment.  I’m not looking for Christian platitudes.  No cliches are necessary.  I’ve told them all to myself already.  I think I just needed to get this out of my head.

If you feel a little lost in life, let me know.  Let’s be in community together.  If we’re lost together, we can hold one another’s hand and navigate the windy roads together.  Sure, we may take a wrong turn.  We may have to back track a bit.  But that’s ok.  It’s all part of the journey.  And if we do it together, maybe we won’t feel so much “lost” as “on an adventure without a map”.  That sounds better, huh??  🙂

Looking back as things move forward

We’ve been going to Brew City Church for a while now.  The pastors are really amazing!  It’s a very different kind of church.  Different than we are used to anyway.  It is much more laid back than any church I’ve been a part of, which can be very refreshing, and sometimes a little frustrating for the “Creative Programmer” in me.  But it is, undoubtedly, filled with love.  The pastors make it abundantly clear each week that, first and foremost, God loves us more than anything else.  But also, THEY love us!

A couple weeks ago we met with one of the pastors because he wanted to share something with Tim and I before we heard it in church.

Our church will be merging with Metrobrook Church in April.  In this merge our church will move into Metrobrook’s building.  The church will be called Brew City Church, and our pastor will be the lead pastor.  But the two bodies will be merging with one another.

That may not mean much to you reading this, but it was quite a punch in the gut for me.  Metrobrook is the “parent” church that “planted” Veritas.  Long story short Tim and I were youth pastors at a church and Tim sought out a mentor to meet with.  That mentor was the pastor of Metrobrook Church.  Soon after their relationship started he asked Tim if he would be interested in a position at their church as Church Planting Residency.  This would be a time where he would be on staff at Metrobrook learning, and at the same time, preparing to start their first new church.  We were not looking to leave our youth pastor positions, but felt this was a good move, so Tim took the job.  At the same time we found out we were pregnant with Caleb!

Fast forward a year and a half-ish and we started Vertias.  The relationship with Metrobrook was not what we had hoped for, or, in retrospect, what they had wanted to provide, but we were well in the throws of starting this new church and were ready to just let God lead and forge ahead with passion, vision, and excitement.

Our relationship with Metrobrook ended horribly.  There is no other way to put it.  And really, I’m keeping it kind.  It was a very painful, hurtful, terrible way for that relationship to end.  Very soon after that the lead pastor resigned from that church.

About a month after Metrobrook cut ties with us is when Tim confessed his affair to me.

I don’t know if I had ever felt so alone in my life.  The amount of betrayal, feeling stabbed in the back, horrible mistrust was overwhelming.  I had nowhere to turn.  I had to lead this struggling, horribly wounded church with no one to help me.  Nowhere to turn for advice since our “parent” church had basically, cruelly, just kicked me to the curb. (Or at least, that’s how I felt).

BUT, that was two years ago.

However, this news of our church now MERGING with this church has stirred up A LOT of feelings.  Brought up a lot of memories.  And my head is having a hard time overruling my heart.

FAILURE.

That is one of the overarching words that keeps coming up.  Keeps haunting me.  Keeps slapping me in the face.

Walking into that building, facing those people, means I have to face people who prayed for us.  Who gave money to us.  The hard earned money they gave paid for the gas for Tim to drive to meet up with the woman he chose to have an affair with.  I don’t have any idea how Metrobrook explained the sudden cutting off of Vertias, so I don’t know what they know or think.  I don’t even know who of them know about the affair (the cutting off of Veritas had nothing to do with the affair).

I have to walk into that building not as a pastor, not as a leader, not as anything but a failure.  I failed at leading a church.  I failed at keeping my marriage together.  I failed at seeing the signs my husband was having an affair.

These are my FEELINGS.  I know in my head they are not all accurate…..but I can’t get past the FEELINGS that this all brings up.

The pastor who was there at the time and made most of the harsh decisions is no longer there.  And I have met with and made amends with the pastor who is still there.  But going back there just brings up those feelings of pain, betrayal, abandonment.

I’m trying very hard to CHOOSE to look at God instead of the circumstances around me.  To look at what HE has done.  To see the miracle of Him holding Tim and I and Caleb together as a family.  And bringing a sweet daughter to our family.  To remember He doesn’t care about me being a pastor….He cares about me being His daughter.  He wants to heal us and bring us closer to Him, to make us whole, to transform us into His beautiful child more than He wants us to DO for Him.

But, it is a lot harder to find His eyes than it is to look into the eyes of the people I feel I have failed and let down.

I know in my head this church merge is good and right.  It will be expanding God’s Kingdom, His influence in our city.  I know that in my head.  But my heart just wants to RUN.  Run far and fast!

But I won’t.  I won’t run.

I will drag these heavy legs through those doors.  I can’t guarantee right now that my head will be high….but hopefully by April I will have let God do more work and maybe I will be able to hold my head up as I walk through those doors.

Maybe.

What the Church can learn from Eminem

I know this post may offend some.  (My mom is going to have a heart attack!) My purpose is not to offend.  I’m just looking at life through the only lens I have….my own.  I hope we can be civil and kind if you choose to leave a comment. 

When we were leading Veritas Church we did a series called “What the Church can learn from Bay View”.  I think it was pretty awesome.  We looked at different businesses and saw what aspect of the Bible, of God’s ideas for church and community they were doing awesome at.  We interviewed each of them and made videos of those interviews to start our teaching time.

So, I was listening to the radio the other day and Eminem’s song “Lose Yourself” came on.  I’ll admit, I really like that song!  I lived in the Detroit area for about 8 years.  During the time I lived there Eminem got very big and 8 Mile was all the rage!  This song is from his movie.

It is such a powerful song.

I haven’t heard it in a while (mostly because I don’t get to listen to the radio much with little man in the car!).  As I was listening to it the other day I actually got chills.

His passion in that song is deep.  He is NOT going to fail. He HAS to do this.  There are NO other options.

I was playing in the beginning, the mood all changed
I’ve been chewed up and spit out and booed off stage
But I kept rhyming and stepped right into the next cypher
Best believe somebody’s paying the pied piper
All the pain inside amplified by the fact
That I can’t get by with my 9 to 5
And I can’t provide the right type of life for my family
Cause man, these ****** food stamps don’t buy diapers
And it’s no movie, there’s no Mekhi Phifer, this is my life
And these times are so hard, and it’s getting even harder
Trying to feed and water my seed, plus
Teeter totter caught up between being a father and a prima donna
Baby mama drama’s screaming on and
Too much for me to wanna
Stay in one spot, another day of monotony
Has gotten me to the point, I’m like a snail
I’ve got to formulate a plot or I end up in jail or shot
Success is my only ********* option, failure’s not
Mom, I love you, but this trailer’s got to go
I cannot grow old in Salem’s lot
So here I go it’s my shot.
Feet fail me not, this may be the only opportunity that I got

If you’ve heard the song, you know what I mean.

What if church was like that?  What if pastors had that passion?  That do or die attitude?

NOT to become famous, a star, to bring any glory or glamour to themself….but because we just HAVE to.  Because what we have, the God that we serve, the hope that we can cling to, the community that God can give us is just too important and life changing to play with.

When Tim and I were pastors, this was how I felt about church.  Don’t get me wrong, we probably did more things wrong than right, but it wasn’t a job to me.  It NEVER was.  It was something I had to do because.

We were tired of mediocre church.  Of churches existing simply to make people feel good.  Of churches being places where people feel unsafe, out of place, and rejected – not only by church people, but therefore by God.  We were tired of church being stale and boring.  We were tired of church losing.

God gave us Himself.  And He gave us His church.  That was His gift to us, so why do we treat it like it is the broccoli on our dinner plates??  As a pastor, I just couldn’t do that!

It was do or die.

You don’t mess around with this.

You don’t lead a church by giving it just a tiny portion of your time and efforts. Yes, there MUST be balance.  I’m not saying that it should be EVERYTHING and family, etc. gets nothing.

Again, I am NOT saying that I, or Tim and I, did it all right!!  I am NOT saying we had perfect balance in our lives or just the right amount of passion and risk involved in leading a church.  I am NOT saying we were perfect!!

But it’s hard to find a church with PASSION.  With DRIVE.  With leaders who see the AMAZINGLY IMPORTANT job they’ve been given in being asked to lead one of God’s churches.  A church leadership willing to RISK, to do what it takes to make a dent in the world.  A church who knows and teaches the importance of us loving people and showing God to them through our lives and our love.  Not just inviting them to church to “pray the prayer” but really INVEST.  Remembering that’s why Jesus came here!

Jesus was NOT passive!  He was NOT passionless.  He was the epitome of DRIVEN.  Driven by love, by compassion, by truth, by so many things.

I don’t want this post to sound like church bashing.  I’m not trying to rag on all churches.  I just don’t think we take church as seriously as we ought to.  But, at the same time, do our churches give us something to take seriously?

Sadly, I think the answer much of the time is no.

And I miss working on that.

Do you know where you’re going?

This whole living without vision and direction is very foreign to me.  And I don’t like it.

Not one bit.

This post is not so much a lament (although, I suppose it is a bit) as a journey marker.  So, please, I’m not trying to sadden you.  But, if one day I get some vision again, I don’t want to forget this journey.  Because I’m guessing I will run into someone else in life who feels this way.

I’ve just always had a direction.  A vision for something bigger than me in life.  It was generally ministry of some kind.  And I was happy with that!

I actually didn’t want to work in ministry my whole life.  I started going to college to become a psychologist.  I wanted to go all the way and get my doctorate, have my own practice, help lots of people (mainly kids) and make a good, comfortable salary.  Along the way I thought I would probably get married and maybe have children….but really, I was pretty focused on a career.

Then, in my second year of college, I changed my major to Youth Studies.  It basically prepares you to be a youth pastor, but we couldn’t call it that or else the government wouldn’t allow anyone with that major to get financial aid.  So, it was called “Youth Studies”.

I was part of the choir and drama team in college and came ALIVE while performing!  I loved it!  Then, after any performance we had the opportunity to talk and pray with the people who were in the audience.  That was pretty much as awesome as performing!  I loved hearing what God had shared with them through our songs and stories.  I loved listening to them.  Praying with them.  Learning from them.

I was just a young punk college kid!  Who was I to talk to anyone about God and His life lessons???  But I got to.  And it was amazing.

After college Tim and I and a friend tried to start a group who provided speaking, music and drama for camps, retreats, schools, etc.  We had some pretty amazing experiences with that, but it didn’t last very long.

Tim and I have been volunteers with youth groups, lighting for a high production church, speakers, actors, writers, I’ve done graphic design, counselors, Tim has played a few instruments for worship teams, and of course pastors (and all the jobs that come with starting a church).

There’s always been SOME vision, some direction for what we were to do.  Of course, the path was often VERY blurry….I’m not saying we knew each step or where exactly they would end up. And I’m not expecting to have all the steps laid out for me now (although it would be kinda nice!).  But we at least knew some direction to go.  We had something God had shown us to work toward.

Have you ever felt like that?

That is totally gone for me now.  I have no direction.  No vision.  And I feel like I’m going very grey inside.

I like color.  No, I LOVE colors!  Doing graphic design, I spend a lot of time thinking about colors and noticing them.

My life used to be filled with color.

Now it just feels grey.  And dreary.  With no image.  No picture.  No path.  No nothing.

Everyday is just the same.  Nothing changes.  There is no excitement. It’s just getting by.  There is no passion.

I miss passion.

I miss a lot of things.

But I really miss living with passion.

But you know what else sucks?  I have no idea what I even want to be doing!  If a church came to me and said, “Hey, we’d love to hire you.  Right now.  What job would you like?”

I would be stuck!

Do I want to work with the arts?  Do I want to work with students?  Do I want to be in a pastoral role?

I. HAVE. NO. IDEA.

I just know I want to do something, but I don’t know what.

And I’m also very afraid.  Afraid I will never be able to go back.  Afraid that I am done in ministry.  Scared that that even bothers me. Afraid I will never feel that “alive” again.  Afraid I will always be looking back at what I had and not fully embracing what God has given me now.

I feel like I’m just now having to answer the question AGAIN “What do you want to do when you grow up?”  Except that I’m already grown up.  And I don’t know how to answer it.

Am I having a mid-life crisis???  Cuz I was hoping 34 wasn’t going to be the middle of my life!  😉