Wednesday, December 7

Love Fuels Real Ministry

I'm a little unsure how to share life and circumstances right now. For my entire life, I've been a rule follower. My desire, always, is to live within the confines of what is acceptable and well received by society. Yet, over the past few years, God has allowed me to be part of situations that are socially UNacceptable to speak about openly. And, He's asked me to talk about them,

In a public blog!

With a large group of people!

So, for a lot of years, I wrote about adultery, healing, and restoration while many (you know I'm talking about you) wondered WHY I was still discussing uncomfortable topics. I did it, because God asked me to. I believe He asked my to write, because He had many things to teach ME. That's why I'm always overwhelmed to the point of tears when I hear someone else has been instructed by God through my very personal writing.

Today, I find myself in another awkward situation. I can't focus on anything else! My thoughts are consumed, and that is always the confirmation I need to begin writing. God has something to teach ME in my struggle. Writing will help me process His instruction.

The short story is that Scotty resigned from his position at our church last week. It was announced during Worship on Sunday, and we were not allowed to be there. I will not go into the whole story here (because that really would be awkward). I'll just say that there were differences in ministry philosophies. Through 5 of the toughest months we've ever lived, Scotty has tried to find a way to fulfill his commitment to a group of people we care for deeply. But, we simply weren't allowed to minister as we feel God has called us to minister. Actually, "we" weren't allowed to be in ministry together period.

While I can't go into the details of the past five months, I do feel the need to share what I've learned, through experience, over the weekend. Truly, in Christ, love conquers all!

Five years ago, Scotty resigned from a church he was serving in. His resignation was required! He'd sinned GREATLY (I feel another GREATLY is warranted) against that church. In light of his confession, two pastors called us both in and laid out the plan for resignation. I'll never forget that meeting, because there was grief written on the faces of both of our leaders. Their sole interest was God's best for an entire church body. And, Scotty and I (along with our three children) were part of that Body. They weren't looking for a way to get rid of us quickly. They demonstrated great care for us. And, we did not deserve it! Scotty was asked to read his resignation publicly, and I was asked to be with him. On that Sunday morning, our pastor followed Scotty's resignation with a brief statement about the church's commitment to praying for us. Then, he called for the church to come down front and pray over us. A large group of people participated in that prayer, and an even larger group formed a line to hug us and speak encouragement over us as we left. The church acted as God's Church to us that day. Love was the motivation, and I'll never forget it.

Because of our history, I feel I have to say that Scotty has not committed any immoral sin to warrant his resignation. That is not the reason for our departure. There have been a few meetings leading to the resignation announcement. I wasn't invited to any; and, as far as I can tell, there's not been great grief displayed over the breaking of a relationship. But, do you know that God still shows Himself as sovereign and in control even in confusing circumstances? He does!

I've invited you into our messy, crazy, and often roller coaster life at every turn, so I knew this post had to be written. I've been so torn, though. To share means telling only our part of the story, and I hate that. However, an outlet to share both sides of the whole story was refused. I've prayed and prayed for the right words. This morning, God simply led me to 1 Corinthians 13,

If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing. Love is PATIENT, love is KIND, and it is not JEALOUS; love DOES NOT BRAG and IS NOT ARROGANT, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices in truth, bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things, LOVE NEVER FAILS.
1 Corinthians 13: 1-8
Paul's words to the Corinthians have confirmed a lot of what God has been showing us through our situation during the past few months. In my heart, I feel we (Scotty AND our family) have been handled poorly in this process. However, if I couldn't choose to live a life motivated by love even in that disappointment I'd expose a heart that hasn't fully experienced God's great love. So, I can't live in anger. Sadness and grief are more appropriate responses.

We have been part of 5th Avenue Baptist Church for less than six months, but we've grown to LOVE those people. Our youth have taught us so much, and we've found great joy in watching them grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. They are the real deal, and we will miss them terribly. We've seen God do amazing things in every area of the family ministry there! We've seen Him do things we could never take credit for. We are eternally grateful that He did it and that we got to be part of it.

To love BIG is always a risk.Opening our hearts in such a vulnerable way leaves it wide open for excruciating pain. That is exactly what we are feeling. Still, love is worth that risk! Every! Single! Time!

Because Scotty and I have experienced God's love exponentially through His forgiveness of our sin and healing of our marriage, we can't help but love others. Christ's love compels us to seek Family Ministry still. So, we are not quitting. This temporary struggle has only highlighted the fact that we have a driving passion and vision to serve families by equipping them to seek Jesus with their whole heart in a very real and genuine way. He's the only Savior, and we want every family transformed by that truth! 

For now, we know that GOD called us to St. Pete. We are positive our kids are in the perfect school for them. So, we are staying here. Scotty has found some part-time work options while we pray and seek future decisions. God's people here have loved us and continue to love and support us. Even in a bit of a crisis, we feel very blessed. God is good! His love endures forever! So, we will not fear! 

He who calls you is faithful, and He will do it.
1 Thessalonians 5:24

1 comment:

cyndi said...

I will join you in prayer. Sometimes churches are the worse places to be a Christian. I have stories I could share. Hold on to truth. I am here as always if you need me. Florida is a different kind of place but there are some really good people there as well. Love you!