When I began typing this morning my first thought was “What? Could it be possible that we are already on Chapter Five?” The answer to that was clearly “no”. We are only on Chapter Four (..because I ditched y’all last week. Sorry about that.) but man is it a loaded one. Church Can Hurt, girls. ‘Tis sad, but true.
Before we get rolling, I want to be sure to say once again that you are always free to jump in the discussion at any time whether you’ve participated at all or randomly.
So, yeah. Church can hurt. I don’t want to sound flip but I need to let y’all know up front that I am one who deals with painful/complicated things in a private way and will then try to smile my way through it in public. Healthy, right? My therapist thinks so, too. If I seem like I’m not laid low by the heartbreak we’ve experienced in ministry, it’s for two reasons: a) I refuse to be. b) If I were I probably couldn’t tell you in this format.
With that said, if you’ve read the book you heard me tell about a heart-wrenching ministry experience (p. 87-90) that at the time was very painful. However, I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything and I mean ANYTHING because it literally saved us later when we saw a similar situation begin to rear it’s ugly head again. We wouldn’t have known how in the world to stop it in it’s tracks had the same scenario not played out from beginning to end once before.
What I want to encourage you with today is the knowledge that NOTHING you will undergo as a shepherd of the church is a wasted suffering. We are refined through persecution and we are perfected by learning that we are sometimes the ones in the wrong. As impossible as it may seem, as much as you are able, embrace the ugly. God speaks through it all, girlfriends. Luke and I wouldn’t be even one fraction as capable ministers if it weren’t for the mileage of misery. We want to be shocked by people and their actions but the truth is, when Satan is in the mix, anyone is capable of anything – even the family serving behind the pulpit. Knowing that, we can be aware of his schemes to divide the body and hopefully head his forked tail off at the pass.
I want to keep today’s discussion positive without ignoring the fact that many of you may be in the midst of hot controversy even as we speak. Here are a couple of questions to consider. You are free to elaborate but try to keep the length manageable:
1. What lessons have you learned in your most current season of church conflict that have made you and your hubby better servant leaders? What methods of forgiveness did you employ? Did you realize your own mistake and make amends?
2. If you are still embittered because of a painful church experience, state as succinctly as possible why you’ve been unable to move forward. If you aren’t currently in a mess, speak encouragement in your comment to a sister who is.
3. Anything in particular resonate with you from this chapter?
Thank you girls for hanging in with me! Oh, how I’d love to have these conversations in a coffee shop with you somewhere. In the meantime, consider yourself hugged.