Wednesday, July 08, 2009

No, really, we're not mad at anyone!

For those of you who "know church" ... imagine telling your church you are leaving ... to a secular job.

Three guesses as to the big questions you get over and over again.

"Someone made you mad?" "I didn't know things were so bad?" "Is it church politics?" "Do we need to have a business meeting? What do we need to do so you will stay?"

It's hard to convince people we are just as sad to leave as they are to see us go. Also hard to help them understand we are not leaving "the ministry." That's already how we live our lives. We're just going to do it in a very different way.

If we said, "We feel called to Zambia, where we will be working as local farmers, and will be partnering with the International Mission Board," the questions would not be there. Reminds me of how people ask where we "got Presh." When I tell them, "Waco," their faces sink a bit. They were expecting "Africa." It would somehow seem bigger and more impressive and exotic.

We're moving to Gonzales, Texas and we will own and operate an RV park 11 miles outside of town, in a tiny, little clump of community, where 90% of people live in a manufactured home, because the rental prices are a bit cheaper out there than they are in town.

WHY Gonzales? Good question. It plopped in front of our faces and we knew. The years of squirming and not being sure why we still weren't feeling like we were in the right spot for us? We found the spot. And we knew.

So, no, REALLY, we are not mad ... at anyone. Well, okay, okay - outside of the normal annoyances we all have with each other (and I KNOW people could make a list about me!). But really - WE ARE NOT MAD. We are not running from anything.

We feel pulled to something ... not pushed away from here.

In fact, we are grieving this loss. I really thought we would all die here. Really. We never, ever wanted to be in a different church, a bigger church, etc. We absolutely adore our town. We adore the people. The kids have about 30 sets of surrogate grandparents, as well as oodles of friends. My husband has some of the most amazing and encouraging men in his life. I have the wackiest and most diverse group of women surrounding me.

We love it here!

And we will love it there.

Good LORD. They love and accept me! If that right there doesn't tell you a lot about them, I don't know what does. I'm quirky. I'm weird. My sense of humor is whacked out. For Pete's sake, their pastor's wife blogs about her sex life!

And they love me - just exactly as I am - even when they don't necessarily like me.

I don't recall any of the disciples throwing down their nets and saying, "Oh, THANK YOU! This place SUCKS!"

It's a strange feeling: excitement mixed with mourning.

We're trying to help everyone understand that this isn't the typical "Pastor is leaving because ..." fill-in-the-blank with words like "deacons," "committees" or "burned out." This isn't typical, because our relationships here are not typical. We are moving away from our family.

We also realize they are grieving, too. That is also why we told them the very day we knew this was a done-deal. Told our kids that afternoon, and Michael went straight up that Sunday night to let everyone know. We all needed every second of time we could get to work through this together: the excitement mixed with mourning.

Are we mad at someone? That's almost funny, because it absolutely could not be more opposite from the truth and the reality of this place and the hold it has in our hearts.

11 comments:

dave said...

Great post! I'm so proud of you for just following where God leads. It's hard to "just go" sometimes, but I know you guys will fly high.

One of the things Kat and I always pray is for God to make it "blatantly clear" which direction we should go. That way, we won't have any FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt).

Word sister! love ya!
-d

Christine said...

Love you more. Mainly because I'm sitting here watching you make spare ribs.

http://www.katcurlee.com/2009/02/15/spare-ribs-dave-learns-to-make-spare-ribs/

Not even 10:00 am, and I'm craving ribs. THANKS.

Sara said...

Back when I was in the church...I felt called to provide my gifts at a new church. I had to leave my church family and they FREAKED. They didn't get it. They thought I was mad, they thought I was "divorcing them" when I didn't want anything of the sort...I was just taking my gifts where i thought God could use them better. I was only a senior in high school and my church FLIPPED! I can only imagine what it is to be the PASTOR and tell your flock such a thing. I support you though. *hugs*!

ali said...

this is gonna be the coolest thing EVER! and, you better blog EVERY SINGLE DAY so i can live vicariously through you. just cuz. love, Al

T & T Livesay said...

I am smelling what you're stepping in ... it is frustrating to be misunderstood but following THE Leader is the way to go ... the feelings and emotions will subside.

With love from yet another misunderstood chick-

T.

Kristen said...

I SO get where you are coming from. I remember having to make the same clarifications when we left church work:

http://thehowertons.blogspot.com/2008/08/on-leaving-ministry.html

But it sounds like you will DEFINITELY still be in "the ministry". :)

Jennifer said...

How awesome! We would love to do something like that. We stopped in Gonzales on the way to San Antonio a few weeks ago and it is a neat little town! Can't wait to read more on your adventure.

Elizabeth said...

Hey, my parents worked in Zambia for 2 yrs as long term volunteers. It's a pretty nice place. Not so sure about Gonzales though. It is hard for "church" people to see ministry outside of the church which is a shame. We are all called to minister where we are...especially outside of "church".

Summer said...

I noticed a town nearby called Summerville. ;)$

Threads of Light said...

I wish you well, all of you. God has a great work for you, and I am so glad that your moving won't (I hope) take you away from the internet which is my only source of contact with the inspiration I get from you regularly.

My children don't have RAD, but so many of the things I read in your posts have helped me deal with various behaviours, I'll always be grateful to you.

Elizabeth said...

oh, we get the "where did you get him from" question all the time too. Charlie is full Hispanic & we are so not. People always look surprised & disappointed when I saw Rosenberg, TX.