Wednesday, February 13, 2013

When saying goodbye feels more like a bad breakup than a release

This is a hard post to write. There's a certain amount of vulnerability when we admit we've been wounded - especially since the wound still aches and there doesn't seem to be a resolution coming any time soon. But still, I feel like opening my wound for inspection might be part of the healing process.

Mike and I once had the opportunity to partner with another family to plant a church in Richmond. Everything about the partnership appealed to us; we had been praying about starting a church but knew we didn't have the experience needed to do so. This other family had tons of experience, and were really awesome people.

So we started to dream. We talked about having a church so influential in Richmond that if the mayor had a problem, he might call us to discuss ways to solve the issue. We dreamed of having a world-wide influence with video feeds in Richmond to show us what our international partners were up to. We launched the church in a hotel that eventually moved to our house. And it was great. It was casual and cool. It was friendly and had such great potential.

But things started changing. Phone calls stopped being returned. Emails were overlooked. Meetings were forgotten or canceled. Eventually we stopped dreaming. We stopped communicating. A conference that was meant to inspire us served only to make us feel more isolated.

And then I got pregnant. With triplets. We wrestled with whether to stay in Richmond or to move. I desperately wanted to be near my family and to have a strong support system, but I didn't want to leave my city. I also didn't want to leave my church. The other families said they supported us regardless of what we decided, and we would always be considered members of the church even if we were a few hundred miles away.

After much prayer, we decided to relocate to Jacksonville and our church sent us on our way with a launch party/baby shower. But after we moved, it was as though we ceased to exist. There were no emails, no calls, no notes from the family with whom we started the church. Even though they frequently called or Skyped with church members who lived in Sweden, we didn't get a single indication we were thought of. We made a few half-hearted attempts to communicate with them through emails and facebook comments, but our efforts were ignored.

Seven months later, we still are hurt and confused as to what happened. Was it us? Did we mess up? Was it a spiritual issue, personality issue, leadership issue? Could it have been avoided?

I don't regret the church plant. We learned valuable lessons about how to lead a Bible study and to start a church from scratch. We met some incredible families in the process and truly saw lives touched/changed. But I regret the ending. I wish there had been a more amicable split rather than this aching hurt like I am recovering from a bad breakup. And I wish I knew how to let go rather than dwell on the disappointment of it all.


Blank Canvas said...

I could answer this so many ways but I will only say one. I am praying for you. It was not you. It was not Mike. I know we haven't talked in months but if you need to, you know where to find me. Will try to send an email or Facebook message once my brain starts functioning.

Melissa said...

I can feel your pain. We went through a situation very much like yours but we were local. If we missed a Sunday or two it seemed very easy to get lost and nto want o go back especially knowing that no cared enough to reach out to us. We finally realized it was not us. :) It is one of the reasons we love Journey so much the people are real. I know there are a handful of people that would be calling or texting if I was not around for any period of time. I hope you have found that their as well. As far as starting a church maybe that is why God brought you here? That is what Journey is all about going out and spreading the word and sharing God with the people of Jacksonville. Maybe the timing wasn't right but thinkof it this way. God may have been planting that seed in your hearts to prepare you for a bigger church in a bigger city where you could reach more people! May God continue you to bless your beautiful family!