I’ve alluded to the following on my personal Facebook account enough that multiple people asked what they could pray for. Before I say anything else: Thank you. Thank you for being the kind of people whose first question is How can I pray? I am continually overwhelmed by the sincere goodness of the people surrounding me.
For the sake of discretion, I’ll make a long story very, very short: Last Monday evening, someone with whom I have been very, very close informed me, without any warning signs, that she was breaking fellowship with me, our family, and our church, effective Sunday.
It has been a hard week.
I have never met someone more like me, at the depths of who we are, than this friend. If you took away the experiences that have shaped us into who we are today, really found the root of our hearts, ours would be the same. I have never met someone so like me before. In the past year and a half, she has become my little sister, and I her older, in a very real way. The love we share is familial.
I’ll be honest, a whole lot of my sadness is personal. It hurts me, and deeply, exacerbated by the fact that I completely disagree with her reasons for leaving.
I worry for her. I worry the way I worry for my own sister. Again, for discretion’s sake, I’ll leave it there.
But while I’m discouraged and extremely saddened in this situation, my mission and my passion for it never faltered, and I wanted you to know that.
God’s hand is amazing. I have found comfort in so many places.
Literally the day after our friend dropped the news, one of our elders from home posted an article on the topic of leaving (or not) one’s church.
This was in an email that my dad sent, reflective after having been through similar situations in the past:
“As you kids grew you would get ‘growing pains.’ It is the way that God designed the human body to grow. As congregations of His church, we will also experience some pain as we grow.”
One of the church bulletins I receive by email had 2 Timothy 4:9-18 on the front page this week:
“Timothy, please come as soon as you can. Demas has deserted me because he loves the things of this life and has gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, and Titus has gone to Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me. Bring Mark with you when you come, for he will be helpful to me in my ministry. I sent Tychicus to Ephesus. When you come, be sure to bring the coat I left with Carpus at Troas. Also bring my books, and especially my papers.
Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm, but the Lord will judge him for what he has done. Be careful of him, for he fought against everything we said.
The first time I was brought before the judge, no one came with me. Everyone abandoned me. May it not be counted against them. But the Lord stood with me and gave me strength so that I might preach the Good News in its entirety for all the Gentiles to hear. And he rescued me from certain death. Yes, and the Lord will deliver me from every evil attack and will bring me safely into his heavenly Kingdom. All glory to God forever and ever! Amen.”
Even Jason Mraz lent a little encouragement in the text my best friend sent this morning:
“I don’t wanna be someone who walks away so easily.
I’m here to stay and make the difference that I can make.
Our differences they do a lot to teach us how to use
the tools and gifts we got, yeah, we got a lot at stake.”
And then the countless, countless comments from people who didn’t get nosy or gossipy, but sensed that I really just needed to be reminded that we have an amazing support team behind us. I love you all.