|June 2012, Cancale, France|
I have blogged in the past, but the service where I've hosted my blog is going away. So it is time to start over. Well, that can be a blessing sometimes. First of all, I'm inviting my wife to contribute to a blog that will belong to both of us. I thought it might be fun and it will make updates more regular. Secondly, I'm about to have a major operation. What a better time to start a blog. I find myself, more and more, reflecting: on life, God, and my family.
Two years ago I had a very big year. I graduated seminary, started a new time of ministry at First UMC Pontiac, and got married to my beautiful wife, Carrie. The past two years have brought a lot of new experiences. I know what it is to love someone so very much as I love Carrie and yet I've experienced the difficulties of learning to be married to someone so different from myself. I've had deep frustrations with the church where I am in ministry and yet found incredible joy in serving there and coming to know these faithful people. I left a place that I loved (Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston) and went to a very different sort of place in rural Illinois...and I've loved living here and found good people and good ministry here in Pontiac.
Suddenly, though, I have found myself in the midst of trauma over the past few months. This church finally faced their financial reality, and so we will be leaving the church as it right-sizes itself from two pastors to one. In the midst of that process, we discovered that I had a brain tumor. Then, as had long been planned, the directing pastor left town for more than three weeks for vacation and a renewal of wedding vows with his wife along the Gulf Coast (we had three funerals over ten days during that time).
It's funny how these things work. I was so busy running a church of nearly 1000 members that I didn't have time to consider my own condition. If you had asked me if I wanted it that way I would have said, "hell no!" Yet, God has a funny way of putting things in order, sometimes. With so much transition and so much to do, I found that I was better able to cope. I was filled with energy and filled with purpose over these past few weeks. I was also surrounded by an outpouring of love and support by my family of faith as they walked with me during these last weeks. I am thankful beyond words for the blessings God has shown me over these past weeks.
Now that I am officially on medical leave and I await a surgery in just 7 days I have had a moment to catch my breath and to ponder what is coming. I can't imagine my brain surgery failing. All I can imagine is a year that will be filled with excitement like I experiences two years ago. I will be sad to leave the people of Pontiac, but I look forward to the adventures that God will give me in a new church, living in a new community and living alongside a strong, confident, and talented wife. I look forward to the wedding of my sister-in-law to her fiancé and I look forward to a family vacation next fall. God has given me many great things to look forward to and I look forward to sharing them with you here on our new blog!
God is good, eh?