|Tuesday, Jan. 06, 2004 || Pouring it out|
I often tried to protect the integrity of the church we planted in MO by refraining from writing about various struggles or challenges. And even hurts.
I also have never wanted people to get the wrong idea about church. A church family is a wonderful thing. That is, when it is viewed properly and folks understand that they are truly a part of a family and act as such.
That means that sometime we put our feelings, and even differences, before our own feelings and agendas. Differences can even be celebrated and embraced.
We are all human. I understand that. And with that in mind, I have tried to swallow the hurt and frustration and feelings of betrayal. I can't do that any longer. I am about to burst.
The psalmist says, "Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge." (Psalm 62:8). So, here I go!
A few months back, a family who came to MO to help at the church, to join side-by-side with Rob and me as we sought God and strove to build a church, started to turn on us. Actually, I suppose it started the summer of 2002. I came off of vacation on a tremendous spiritual high. I had finally found a way to pray - journaling - that brought me closer to God than I had ever felt before. I was leading the Praise Team at church and between songs, what God was teaching me often spilled over and I testified of His marvelous work in my life, of verses that ministered to me. Sometimes I even encouraged those in the pews to draw closer to Him, to learn what worship truly is, things such as that.
Rob and I were called into a meeting with this couple one Sunday that fall. He and I sometimes clashed during rehearsals; I could tell he did not respect or approve of my place of leadership (he played an instrument in the team). He tried to say he was stepping down because of our personality conflict, but with some prodding the truth came out. Neither he nor his wife thought that I should speak during the service because I am a woman.
Rob encouraged them to study out that teaching in the Scripture and that we would do the same thing. Rob and I did. We did not find anything that forbid me to testify during a service. They never came to us with their findings. In time, Rob and the husband "agreed to disagree".
We noticed a drawing away from us. No more get-togethers. A certain coldness from her no matter how we tried to befriend her. He began to question Rob at every turn (he had been elected as pastoral advisor back in 2002 when the church officially organized). Rob had to practically prod him with a hot iron to get anything he said he would do done. Rob couldn't depend on him to be on time or even lock a door! Frustration was mounting.
Finally, in the late summer, early fall of this year, Rob and I approached them and talked to them. Rob told them he could tell they had something against us. At that, layers of bitterness tumbled out of his wife; she had been holding grudges against Rob for who knows how long and she named them one-by-one. He apologized for all, even those that weren't his fault. I watched my husband display great humility and concern for this couple, as well as amazing restraint as he was accused of failing in areas that were her own husband's responsibility.
My role in the worship service was also still an issue. Rob suggested that perhaps we should part ways, that he could help them find a church they would be better suited for.
I could see that this couple had great potential if they could forgive and yield to Christ! I suggested that the husband take over the leadership of the praise team. I was starting school. While I would definitely miss it, the worship wasn't about me, and if it was for the betterment of the church as a whole, I could, and would put aside my personal enjoyment in leading worship.
We all agreed to pray about it and meet in a week.
When we met, they said they wanted to try a hand at the praise team. A business meeting was scheduled to announce the change in leadership to the church.
Rob then asked that they pursue marital counseling. We could see that they were headed in the same direction we were in the summer of 2001, a summer in which we considered dissolving our marriage and I contemplated suicide. I looked them both in the eyes and pleaded with them to get help. When you have been there, you know. Rob had a pastor friend lined up who had agreed to counsel them.
A week or two later, my grandmother passed away and we traveled to MD for the funeral. This left the husband in charge of the service that weekend.
Upon our return, that very Monday, he came to the house and announced that they were leaving. That it was a "gesture" to his wife. The business meeting that was scheduled to announce a change in leadership in two weeks became a meeting to announce their departure.
Rob pleaded with him to reconsider during that two week time frame. He would not. He composed a letter stating that they were leaving because of "philosophy of leadership differences". He read it before the church. They were shocked. I was numb. Rob let that "official reason" stand.
But he and I knew what the real reason was.
She couldn't forgive Rob for all the stuff she spat out that night in our livingroom a month before.
No one else knew this, though. Over time, Rob realized, based on the church's reaction, that he should have opened the floor up to questions. He just tried to protect them and the church. Instead, we had become the "bad guys" due to our more confrontational manner ("that couple is so sweet and quiet and it just couldn't have been them!!).
When God called us to VA back in October, the murmurings about them coming back began. Rob spoke to the church leadership and the interim pastor and told them the real reason they left. The newly church-elected elder told us that they would be confronted about making things right with us before they came back to the church. I hoped they would reconcile before we left.
They are back at the church. He is leading the praise team.
We have not gotten so much as a note or phone call from them.
I am angry and hurt. Rob said to me last night, "I can't even go back to the church that I started."
I know God will right this wrong in His time. But right now I just feel raw and betrayed.
Just a reminder - Friday, Aug. 10, 2007
Rockin' Girl Blogger - Wednesday, Jul. 18, 2007
A good end - Friday, Jun. 01, 2007
Moving on? Yes and no. - Monday, May. 07, 2007