When the rug was pulled out from under our family a little more than 6 months ago, my biggest worry was how this was going to impact the kids. It didn’t rattle my faith in God. It didn’t really shake my trust in the Church. I’ve dealt with much greater crises of faith and I was confident we were going to land on our feet. Don’t get me wrong. There was a lot of hurt and we felt betrayed. But I knew (and continue to know) that God is bigger than all of that. He has moved mountains time and time again. And this? This has been a tiny molehill. He continues to write our story and it’s my prayer that He will shine brightly through every letter used to tell that story.
All that being said, I’ve been very concerned about the kids – especially the two oldest. They cried the night we told them we were not going to be part of that church anymore. It was so bad that I seriously considered letting them stay home from school the next day. Living in a small community like that does have its advantages. But it also has its disadvantages, like when you’re forced to move away from them. I know this isn’t uncommon. But when it’s a church that’s forcing you to relocate, it can resonate differently. When a leader in the church tells your children for four years that she loves them and then doesn’t say anything at all to them in the days/weeks/months following the decision to fire their dad, what does that communicate to them? What does that tell them about community?
Yes, I was very concerned about how this was going to change the way my children felt about the community of faith. I was worried that one of my children in particular would already be ready to give up the Church altogether. Very early on, that child asked if they would have to go with me if/when I serve as a guest preacher in area churches. The outlook felt very bleak.
Over the last few months, however, there are some things that I have observed that have warmed my heart.
- Aly has a new amazing group of friends. Of course they’ll never replace the close group of friend she had before we left, I was quite impressed at their creativity, humor, and all-around-goodness that I witnessed when they were here for her birthday party.
- Two weeks ago, we planned on skipping church because the previously-mentioned birthday party was going to be on Sunday afternoon and we needed that time to get things ready. Aly begged to go to church. I don’t know if that’s ever happened before. Ever. Needless to say, I took the kids to church Sunday morning while Christy worked on getting the party ready.
- Aiden’s sitting and taking notes throughout the sermon. He’s working on applying the things he hears during the week.
- We pull into the parking lot and Mihret starts getting excited, shouting, “My church! My church!”
- Easter Sunday was the most relaxing Easter Sunday I’ve had in a long time. No stress about the message. No worries about how many people showed up. No distractions from the reason we even bother gathering on Easter Sunday. It was fabulous.
- I think the kids realize how much bigger the Church is than what they’d originally thought. We’re excited to be part of a community with a leadership that believes that Church is much more than Easter egg hunts, personal preferences, and soup suppers.
- I have the opportunity to shine Light with people I probably wouldn’t have been in contact with during my time as a Pastor. Being a pastor opens up a lot of doors for conversations. It also slams a lot of them shut.
Maybe my getting fired in September was the best thing to happen to our family. I’m not sure I’m entirely sold on that yet, but it’s sure starting to look like it.