A few days ago I mailed out a letter seeking to raise support for my upcoming mission trip to the Caribbean to teach church history (if you are interested in that ministry check this blog over the next couple of days and I will be writing about that ministry). As I wrote, I realized that many of our friends and supporters as they received the letter would have little to know knowledge about the events in our lives over the past 18 months so I wrote a couple of short paragraphs explaining those things but it ended up making the letter too long. So I put in a note to ask folks to check this blog for a bit more info on what God has been doing in our lives the past 18 months. Here is what I originally wrote in the letter:
As most of you know last June the session at Trinity requested my resignation. As you can imagine it turned out to be a sticky situation and after praying about it and seeking advice from several of the men who have been mentors in our lives we decided to resign. The church provided a severance package through the end of the year. Around the first of the year I began working with several friends who had started a commercial real estate service business (Insight Commercial Real Estate – I would encourage you to look us up on the internet to see what all we do) doing a variety of jobs but ending up specializing as a photographer. Here is a link to one of the real estate tour I recently shot and produced: http://www.vpix.net/index.php?tour=8688
The company is a start-up company and I am not on salary but get paid on a “per job” basis our finances have been very tight but it has been a wonderful opportunity for Debbie and me to see God provide in a number of way.
I have not “given up” on being a pastor.Over the past year I have come to a realization that being a pastor for the past 30 years was not something I did but is who I am. The difficulty is that most churches are not looking for someone my age. So Debbie and I pray and wait. I have opportunities to preach every month or so and the church we attend and where Debbie is a member (City Church of East Nashville) allows me to be involved in celebrating the sacraments on a regular basis. As you can imagine this has been a time of testing and trial for us and when folks ask how we are doing I basically say there are good days and there are more difficult days. Overall we are praising God for his faithfulness, seeking to grow deeper in our relationship with him and with each other and just about daily asking him to make our path plain (right now it feels like we are in a fog bank). So we appreciate your prayers and love for us and for those who have contacted us to express that love and concern be assured that your words have meant a great deal to us.
So that is what I wrote and pretty much reflects our current situation. But I know that there are many individuals and couple out there like us who ended up in a situation that they never planned on, that they never desired to enter. One of the elders who requested my resignation told me at our of our meetings: “It may not look like it now but one day you will come back and thank me for this and you will look on this as the most important day in your life”. Well there are important days and there are important days. It was an important day when my daughter Bethany was born and important days when my sons were born and those are days I rejoiced in. It was an important day in August of 1999 when I broke my shoulder 4 weeks before heading to a 3 week missions trip to Ukraine. The broken shoulder made the entire trip more difficult not only for me but for my traveling companions (especially Ron Clegg! still after all these years Ron, thanks for your willingness to sleep on the floor when I had to sleep in a bed propped up) and I would say that it is a time when God taught me much but I don’t think it likely that I will thank the rip tides of Edisto Island for breaking my shoulder.
With that said I am learning a great deal about giving thanks in all situations. My friend and fellow “rotten” Dave is constantly encouraging me to give thanks in all situations and look for how God is molding me through difficult time. It is not an easy lesson to learn and one that takes much time to fully grasps but I am learning. So as Debbie and I head into 2012 we are not certain where God is taking us but we are willing to trust him in that process.