First let me start this off by saying, I am not writing this for pity, I write to inform. In many ways, 2007 was good. But, in many other ways, it was one of the worst years of our marriage. It started off with Brian's grandfather dying in February-good thing from that was it was the last time we would see his mother. Shortly after, many, many tests, it was confirmed that we are infertile. This was hard news and we had very little support. When Brian did confide in some close let's say very close partners in ministry-they were not supportive at all. So, there was no solace for him in that. Not to mention the vulnerability it took for him to share that which just confirms in his mind or at least mine. for sure..that it doesn't pay to be vulnerable (a lie I know)
We did begin going to infertility therapy and that helped a great deal......Then, in May, Brian resigned from his longtime position (and the whole dang reason we are in this small town in Indiana!) Since then, unfortunately, we have been totally disconnected from many we loved there as conspiracy theories were planted in people's heads. How sad. We also found out that our first infertility treatment did not work.
We decided to pursue fostering again and a great opportunity presented itself. However, after one week with our foster daughters, Brian's mom died and I lost my job. Brian and I both started new jobs. Although, most thought we were crazy to continue to fight to keep fostering, it just wasn't the sane idea for us or the kiddos....but that doesn't keep you from feeling like a failure.
Then, things at my work became stressful and with budget issues and the such, I resigned from there in October. But, the week before that, Brian's mother suddenly died from a massive heart attack. I resigned the day we came back from the funeral. Nancy dying was shocking to say the least and much healing will continue to take place. Then, we were turning a corner...Brian got a great job with a company his mother worked for-how bizarre-and I got a Sales Mgmt position. Within weeks, I was number one in the midwest for sales and continued on a major streak- I thought I had finally found my niche. My store was also number one consistently and my staff were really excelling due to my leadership skills. That felt so good. Brian also received a promotion. Two weeks ago, right before Christmas, I found out that our organization was closing nationwide affecting 400 stores....nice. I had to let my staff go that very day....to say the least it was heartbreaking.
We also stepped out in May, believing there is a call on our lives to plant a church. Brian is a true visionary and has fabulous ideas. However, when he asked for support from other churches, we were told that "it just wasn't a good business idea for them" as this is a rural area and they wouldn't see a great return. That is something about "ministry" I am not sure I will ever get over....the business side.....nor the sickening territorial side of churches in the same area....what a disgrace. However, we are still doing monthly services..yet it is hard for Brian to work a Mgmt business position and focus on planting a church. Not to mention, the walls that are up in our hearts. Maybe we are "on a shelf" to heal and grow before going back into ministry. Only God knows.
WE have really been struggling with our faith and leadership in the church, but God is bringing both of our hearts back and after a lot of pain and resentment, we feel God changing us. This has affected every area of our lives- as you know, if you aren't truly submitting to God, and especially if you are hurt or angry with God, it affects everything-your personal identity, marriage, parenting, etc.
We have thought about just fleeing instead of fighting. In our message at church today, the pastor spoke on obeying and believing in faith. I leaned over to Brian and said you have to know what He wants you to obey, to actually obey. But, I was told many years ago by a wise mentor, that until then, you just obey what you do know He says.....from his Word.
Brian just graduated with his Master's and has 14 years of experience. But, I know in the end, all that matters is where God places us and what He wants us to do. My commitment for 2008 is to let God heal me, heal my relationship with Him, the Church, my marriage, and overall sanctify me. This won't be easy to do and I (we) appreciate all of your prayers and support. We have had wonderful mountain tops in our marriage and ministry and right now we are climbing back up that mountain. It is hard to stay gripped...and the dirt and muck that gets on you in that process isn't pretty. In fact, it gets very ugly-and many around you don't know how to handle it. But HE is the one holding us up. (and who better could you ask for?) And because we have been on the other side, we know how wonderful it is when you do allow Him to be the one leading you, comforting you, holding you, teaching you, and walking in complete surrender. How we long to be back there.
I feel I have let God down and a lot of people down in my life.(God, my immediate family, my family overall, my friends, etc)...not using my gifts-especially b/c one of my strongest is encouragement to others...it sucks. But, God knows and works all things out together for good to those who love Him. We hope and pray for a better 2008. In my heart, I know all of this will be used to glorify Him....as long as we let Him.
ps There were good things that happened and you can find that post that Brian wrote if you scroll down on old posts.
2 Corinthians 8:2,3 "Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability....entirely on their own.
This is a powerful verse and my prayer for our family in 08