On April 13th, 2009 I wrote this in my journal:
Last Thursday afternoon I came home feeling discouraged. Feeling forgotten. And really feeling like nothing was ever going to change. I was on the verge of tears. I wanted to cry as I drove up to my house. I sat in my car in the my parking place at home holding back my emotions. And then, as I walked into my house I was nearly in tears as well. I just walked in and sat down on the couch next to my wife. She knew instantly I was hurting, that something was wrong. I questioned whether sharing my continued frustration and hurt about where I was at in life and ministry truly mattered any more…and of coarse it did…it mattered to hear, and keeping it in was only going to hurt me. So, once again, I shared my feelings of discouragement, of feeling forgotten and my fear that I was never going to be a “pastor” again. From the pit of my hurting heart came this thought: God, I obeyed You!!! I did what You asked. I followed your promptings and left my place of ministry and moved. I obeyed You Lord, without reservation, I followed Your leading in my life.
I look back on this journal entry and I see my brutal honesty. I wish I could say that since last December this was the only time my feelings and fears overtook me. I wish. I don’t know how many times my heart would be sad, not for the hurting of this world…not for the people who need Jesus…but for myself. I’d turn to my wife, or a family member, or a friend and puke out all these selfish emotions. And time and time again my wife and family and friends would listen to me, love me and point me to Jesus. I’d refocus my attention on Him. Ask Him to forgive my selfishness and my heart pure before Him.
Just recently, almost to the year, the Lord provided me with an amazing opportunity to serve at Riverside Wesleyan Church, here in Sacramento, as the Student Ministries Pastor. We are so excited. And throughout this last week I’ve re-read some of the things I’ve written in my journals, or in e-mails to friends, and even on this vary blog…and that was some sad stuff. It was a tough spot to be in. But I wasn’t alone in it. There were people who I thought cared about me and my future in ministry and they never once called or wrote or anything. But God gave me an amazing wife, my biggest fan…and incredibly dedicated family who cheered me on through it all and the Lord revealed to me true friendships and partnerships in ministry that I know now will last a life time. God used this time to strengthen my relationship with Him, and with my wife. I got her undivided attention and she got mine. It wasn’t shared with an already busy or full schedule of ministry or anything else. My love for my best friend was deepened during this time. My thirst to know the Word of God and my passion to share that with others grew as well.
I’m walking into a new place of ministry with a deeper sense of God’s calling on my life, and with a new belief in His calling for my wife and I as we partner in ministry at Riverside. The core group of students is amazing and the youth staff is top-notch. I’m walking into a great place. The church is experiencing His power and grace in some amazing ways and we know this is a place where it’s already starting to feel like home.
Thank you for all of your prayers. God used them in my life in a mighty way. God wants to do amazing things in and through our lives. Continue to be available to be used by Him and when you come across a guy like me, like where I’ve been this past year…don’t pass by, grab their hand, and point them to Jesus and keep running straight towards the Father!