Archive for the ‘The Final Month’ Category

I don’t even know where to begin on this final post of this final month. I apologize for failing to write last night, but the opportunity didn’t present itself very well while in transit. As I’m sitting here now writing this, I’m in the eating area of the kitchen inside my new townhouse, trying to wrap my mind around the events of the last few days, months, years. I’m emotionally shot right now, so pardon me if I ramble a bit.

Yesterday was a day filled with packing and loading. So many of my friends showed up to help us move- I can’t thank you enough for that. To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t prepared to move and as a result we didn’t even finish until something after seven yesterday evening. While we were partly stalled because of some issues with Hunter’s RV (we were using this as a second means of transport), the reality is that our house was a mess. In fact, when we left there were over a half-dozen of my church friends who stayed behind to put the finishing touches on the cleaning.

Sigh…pulling out of Alta Lane hurt so bad. Not because I was leaving my job, not because I was leaving Indiana, not because of the uncertainties in the future…but because I was leaving behind my family. I’ve spent the last year preparing myself for a move, and I’ve spent the last two months putting walls up, trying to hide from the discomfort of caring about the people I was leaving, trying to mentally disconnect so it wouldn’t hurt as bad.

Didn’t work so well.

Still doesn’t.

What I would give for all of my students, youth leaders, and CBT family to know how much I love them all. Yesterday was by far one of the toughest days I’ve ever endured, despite my ever growing excitement to be part of what God is doing in Crozet, Virginia. As I was driving down the road with tears streaming down my face, my prayer for those I was leaving was simply this: “Father, please don’t let them be mad at you.” Transitions are hard. People get hurt. It stinks.

Stayed in a motel last night, but was unable to shower ’cause someone loaded the dryer into the moving truck with all our unpacked and freshly washed clothes inside. 🙂 We hit the road this morning, drove all day, and finally rolled into town where I was met by Walt and a large number of Life Journey friends who then proceeded to unload all of our stuff. There was so much love on both sides of the move. In the middle, for that matter- I found out that an old friend of mine is joining our support network!

Speaking of support, I did not (yet) make it to 100%. If all goes well with the SBCV, I will have somewhere in the area of 73% raised. I’m still in dialogue with five churches about this, and Walt is also raising support on my behalf. Please continue to pray that God will allow me to reach 100% by the end of August!

Well guys, I appreciate all the reads this month. Interesting enough, of the last 14 months of blogging, almost 1/3 of all my views have been during this Final Month thing. I hope you continue to read, ’cause I plan to continue writing. Perhaps not every day, perhaps not as focused or concise. But I’ll be writing- count on that.

In the meantime, please continue to pray for my family and for Connersville Baptist Temple in their time of transition. Also pray that God will continue to pour out His Spirit among us and use Life Journey Church to glorify Him as we seek to spread His fame in Crozet, Virginia, and around the world!

 

What a day. As perhaps could be expected, it was a good but rough one. There was a sadness when I was finished with Sunday School this morning, knowing that I had just taught my students for the last time. After church this morning Pastor Tim decided to treat the fam to lunch, but as God would have it, someone else paid for all of our lunches! The afternoon was spent packing the rest of my office, cleaning up the youth room some, and doing some office chores. After that I met with the ordination council who gave their approval to my ordaination to the Gospel ministry. Following the ordination service we had a farewell fellowship where we said way too many goodbyes and received way too many gifts. My church family here helped us greatly.

Sorry this is so short, but it’s almost 3 AM and I need to figure out whether or not I’m getting any sleep before the packing begins again. We’re getting the U-Haul in five hours or so…hard to believe it’s time.

Another day gone too fast to do anything about it. I’m sitting on the sofa, somewhat reclined, eating chex-mix and drinking a monster. There’s a hunting show on TV, but it’s not whitetail deer so my interest has waned. I’m listening to instrumental music from an obscure band known as “This Will Destroy You” (weird, I know) and watching the flashing on my computer screen that lets me know that Walt is currently putting the finishing touches on the morning’s sermon in Ephesians. Past midnight, and he’s still at work on this thing, paring it down to fit within the time constraints that come with meeting in the golf course club house. I find it pretty cool that it’s so late and he’s still poring over this thing, and I’m praying for him and for LJC. I’m praying for CBT and our various services tomorrow as well.

Everyone else is in bed. Hunter made it up alright with the RV and helped us to get a lot of boxes packed today. Gracelyn is sleeping in front of me and seems to be doing much better with her sinus infection. Uriah has a fever, but he’s sleeping at the moment. Pray that whatever is going on in his body will be resolved. I hate when the family’s sick. Sarai is doing better as well. We’re both pretty run down emotionally, though. Tomorrow will be no fun.

We were blessed again today financially as well as through other gifts. We’re starting to get a sense of the loss felt by so many people. It’s staggering- I truly had no idea that our moving was going to mess up so many people. Tonight was my last youth activity with my kids. We went to a close-by pond and enjoyed some fishing, volleyball, paintball, some hotdogs and 30 pounds of grilled chicken. Yessir. We’re good Baptists, lol. I think we surpassed fifty people, making it a pretty decent turnout. Periodically I would take a break from the grill and just survey the place, watching the pockets of teens interacting among themselves, playing games, and relaxing. Feeling something like a proud parent, I couldn’t watch for too long before it would again dawn on me that I’m leaving a wonderful youth group. The students are growing in their faith, the leaders are bonding with them…and there I am wondering what I should have and could have done differently over the last three years. I gotta resist that line of thinking. Too many shoulda-wouldas.

Did I mention that tomorrow is going to be rough? Pray for us and our church family.

Another day gone.  A good one, too. God is again showing Himself to us through the actions of His people. Today Sarai and I were given a card of encouragement and well wishes that contained a gift within. We were also treated to dinner by some very good friends of ours that turned into about six hours of laughter, fellowship, and perhaps a few tears. First thing this morning we also learned that our support network had grown, bringing us up to 62%. I don’t know of anything more humbling than to know that brothers and sisters in Christ are willing to use their own hard-earned resources to allow me to focus my time and energy in planting and nurturing Life Journey Church. I pray that God will repay your kindness and generosity, and I pray that through your sacrifice God will be glorified and people will be saved.

I’ve always been fascinated by the spiral wishing wells commonly seen at shopping malls. You know, that big round thing that you roll a penny down into? That sucker will start these big, sweeping rotations around the well, and as the coin drops deeper into the funnel it begins to circle faster and faster. Eventually you will see that coin defeat gravity as centrifugal force holds it in midair as it spins blurringly fast. And then, just when you can’t possibly imagine it spinning any faster, it’s gone. Poof. Just like that.

Today I feel like that coin, nearing the bottom of the funnel and spinning unstoppably fast. I can’t believe it’s already the end of day twenty-six. It’s been two months now since I visited Crozet. I felt that time was going to crawl leading up to the move, and while it feels like forever since I was there, it also feels as though the last nine weeks were all a blur. It’s just…weird.

Truth be told, today was not one of my better days. I’m sure I could find things to blame it on, but at the end of the day (which it is- ha!), I have no one to blame but myself. I was pretty much grumpy all day and biting way too many heads off. Oddly enough, God again demonstrated His own grace as He bumped our support up to 61%. This jump is unique in several aspects, namely in the anonymity of the donor, the way in which the commitment was made for a whole three years, and the fact that this supporter lives in Crozet. I don’t even know that I’ve met them yet! Regardless, it’s extremely humbling and exciting to see people in Virginia investing into my role as an elder within Life Journey Church.

We had another blessing today as well. Without my even publicizing the possibility, I was approached something like two weeks ago by friends of ours who were interested in buying our riding mower. As we cannot store it in our new place, nor do we have to mow grass in the townhome, I wasn’t opposed to the idea. Long story short, they made a very fair and generous offer on the mower and purchased it today. These funds will allow us to get some additional things we need for the move, set-up and beginnings of our ministry in Crozet.

Sarai went to the doc this morning and learned that she has strep throat, bronchitis, and a sinus infection. As you might imagine, this is not fun at all for her, so please keep her in your prayers. Pray for us both as these last 70-some hours are going to be physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually draining. We’d also love your prayers for our ongoing needs. Be sure to check out the rest of the posts concerning this Final Month…

I can still remember one of the worst dreams of my life, though it’s been the better part of a decade since I had it. Though the details have faded over time and play tricks with my memory, I remember that within the dream I had accidently done something to my baby sister. Something fatal, but for some reason she didn’t die immediately. You know how weird dreams can be.

I remember within the dream the horror that I felt knowing that she was going to die soon. The agonizing, stomach-wrenching sickness that felt as though I myself were dying. The desperation I felt as I tried so hard to hug and console her, weeping as I begged her not to die, knowing it was my fault… Haven’t thought of that dream in years, until tonight. Until I tried ministering to the very people hurt by me and my leaving, trying to heal wounds that I have created.

I’ve attempted to write blogs like this before, but my mental filter generally saves me from some overt narcissism. Tonight, though, I’m wondering if it wouldn’t be beneficial in some capacity to simply blurt out what I’m feeling, though it isn’t pretty or well-packaged.  I feel like everywhere I go I have the same conversation. Not that it’s bad…it’s just the same conversation. Well, one of two, at least. It’s either the “so what are you going to be doing?” conversation that gets my heart racing and tongue running a million miles an hour. Or it’s the awkward “I’m happy for you, but sad you’re leaving, hate to see you go” bit that turns every activity into a total downer.

There’s just no good response to that. To say I want to leave isn’t entirely accurate, because I’m leaving behind family and a ministry I love. To say I don’t want to leave is more wrong, because I cannot wait to put feet to action within Life Journey Church and serve the community there in Crozet. To be honest with you, it’s mentally and emotionally draining, this knowing that I’m upsetting so many people. To see tears well up in so many eyes messes me up. I hate it.

I hate feeling like I’m causing so many people to hurt, even though it’s a natural part of life in this community that God has called us to be together. There’s a part of me that wishes we could all just play pretend until I’m gone and then we can all start the recovery process. Or perhaps that’s just me hiding from having to feel these things. A self-defensive compartmentalization mechanism, if you will. All I know is that I’m tired. Always tired. Physically, mentally, tired. And whiney, lol. I feel as though I’m saying way too much, but I wanted to be transparent. This is how I feel, in this moment, past midnight, having been on the go all day long. Perhaps this is normal and cathartic for others in this boat. Perhaps this is anomalous and simply sin on my part. Ok. Enough of that.

In the middle of all of this emotional turmoil, the comforting presence of the Holy Spirit becomes all the more precious to me. I’ve said from the get-go that one of the greatest blessings in all of this transition is the increased awareness of the reality of God’s love and presence- always by His grace and never by my merit. I know that if God is working in the lives of my students in this seeming time of loss the same way He is in mine, then this too will one day be a welcomed part of our sanctification process.

Speaking of God’s graciousness, though our support remains unchanged, the generosity of our friends and church family is increasing. Sarai had a heart-stirring visit today from a lady in our church that left some money in her hand when she left. This was further assurance from God that He has no problems working though His people to care for us. The extra money will come in handy as it looks as though Sarai’s going to have to bite the bullet and go see a doctor. It looks like her chest cold is trying to morph into bronchitis. Gracelyn is doing better, which is a blessing. As an aside, my dad had a partial knee replacement yesterday that was successful, which was a huge answered prayer. In all, moral is still high. God is still good, and His will is of utmost benevolence. We do not serve an evil taskmaster, and God is faithful to care for His people. We shall see what tomorrow brings!

Twenty-four down, seven to go. To the end of the month, that is. We’re actually only about 130 hours away from getting the U-Haul. God has been gracious again today. I don’t know how long it had been there or from where it came, but we discovered a surplus credit on our account at the pediatrician’s office. While it was not enough to completely cover Gracelyn’s checkup today, it certainly will help. Poor girl has a sinus infection- please pray for a speedy recovery. Sarai, too. She’s been getting whupped by a chest cold, or something. I also found out that there had been an increased amount of interest in supporting my venture in Virginia. Nothing definite has been determined, but conversations are happening. Pray that God’s will be clear to all parties.

I know this is a short and not-greatly exciting update, but I’m worn out and I don’t think there’s much else to report on. As always, thanks for the read and for the prayers.