That’s right! It felt like LOVETOUR 2018.
Three months ago Robin and I experienced something that has never happened to us before – I was terminated from a ministry transition plan (succession plan). Short story, the church leadership did not want to move forward with me. I mean, honestly, there have been a few times I could have, should have been fired from ministry before, mainly because I was being a turd. This was different. I wrote a blog post about What Happens When You Fail? a couple days after our last Sunday at the church.
I would love to tell you that the experience was humbling, but it felt more like humiliating. We experienced pain at levels of betrayal that we had not experienced before. I know you’re thinking, “haven’t you been in ministry awhile, this couldn’t have been your first heartbreak?” Actually, yes, this is our first major blow to our core. Go figure! I mean, Robin was raised in church, and as a Pastor’s kid she has seen a lot of crazy stuff. I wasn’t brought up in a Christian home, so yeah, I thought Churches were more… hmmm, morally responsible, and that sort of thing. However, I’ve seen plenty of situations where power and immaturity in the church has made for combustible confrontations. Thank God I never let that reflect on my love for Jesus or His love for me. Idiots happen. Bullies happen – #dealwithit.
After a few days of grieving, spinning and feeling like zombies, I started getting phone calls, emails and texts from friends. They would say, “hey, can we get together?” I would say, “sure, I’ve got some time on my hands, why not?” The first few friend meet-ups really got a earful of grief, just plain ol’ “this ain’t pretty” kinda stuff. There were a lot of tears – which is super embarrassing to have a couple of guys in a restaurant bawling, “could you please bring some more napkins,” I would say to the server. Then one by one our amazing, kind friends would do what friends do – just listened and loved on me. One friend said, “I just wanted to look you in the eyes and make sure you were okay,” (cue more tears). Come on! How much more biblical can you get than that?
It didn’t stop with just a few meals. For a solid two months I got texts, emails, phone calls and a calendar full of local friends for meals. It has been very overwhelming to receive that level of love! For forty years we’ve been on the giving end of love NOT the receiving end – not to this extreme. We have people praying for us constantly. I think that’s the only thing that has sustained us. It’s folks reminding us that they are praying. I told God, “Hey, a lot of our friends are watching out for us, you gotta come through on this one.”
So for those of you who want to know how we are doing, we are still believing forward and restlessly leaning on the grace of God.
So to wrap up the lovetour, let me just tell you, from Robin and myself, THANK YOU for your friendship, love, kind words and prayer. You are the best! You have shown us the meaning of Sympathize with One Another.