As I sit in my home office on this last day of 2018, I cannot help reflecting with some sadness over the events that shaped this tumultuous year that is quickly coming to an end. It has been a year of hurt and uncertainty, a year of challenge, and great change. I feel this morning as I write these words, a great disconnect from a band of brothers I have known for years and honestly thought would walk through the fire with me. I feel that long (and what I believed strong) professional and personal
relationships have been tossed aside just like the Christmas wrappings from a week ago. These once cherished relationships, I was certain would follow me until the Lord called me home have disappeared along with the communication that once spotted my day. These connections have vanished leaving me feeling very alone on this final day of 2018 and facing the uncertainties of a new year.
As I reflect, I try to concentrate on the few positives from 2018. I can honestly and sincerely say that I am more thankful for my family today. I know everyone says words like these this time of year, but for me, this is a very true statement. I was guilty of putting my work before my family. I tried to justify this while I was fast in the work. I tried to excuse my busyness because my family was so intricately involved in the task of planting with me. I was so certain they would understand that I was doing the Lord’s work and because they understood, I would get the pass.
Because of my misstep, I had no way of knowing what was coming and unfortunately the ones I loved the most were the ones damaged. My immediate family has been through the wringer of life this year because of my vocation and the church plant that I launched in 2012. It seems now almost surreal as I think that I used to be a Pastor. I feel (maybe I am wrong) that I was a good pastor. I know that I truly poured my life into the work that I am absolutely certain God called me to do. I did all the right things, I fell in love with the community, I spent every day of those six years making much of Jesus. I kept the work before the Lord and never saw the trainwreck coming. I failed to understand the profound effects of all that happened and how it would impact my family. Knowing this now brings tears to my eyes. So today, I can say that I am very thankful for my wonderful wife who stood beside me, my amazing daughters that never stopped believing in their father. I am also thankful for my incredible son’s in-laws, and my very special grandchildren that were deeply wounded during everything that had taken place.
I am anxiously looking forward to the opportunities being presented in 2019. I have (against my will) been placed on the sidelines of ministry for now. But I can find peace knowing that my Lord Jesus spoke poignant words in Matthew’s Gospel reminding me that the Kingdom belongs to the God and His will is all that matters.
I am not sure if I will ever pastor again, this is totally up to the Lord. So in these current days, I am going to trust in the Lord with all my heart and be careful not to lean on my understanding. I have semi plugged into a church, a church much different from the one I planted. I am planning on fully involving myself in 2019 and wait on God’s next assignment.
My wise father taught me many years ago, that when it is all said and done, you will probably only have about five people that you can truly call friends. I did not believe this at the time but as I approach the sixth decade of my life, I believe this to be the case. Please pray for my family as we continue to heal.
I love you all!
Pastor Jeff <><