>Catching up. . .

>I have wanted to get on here and just catch up with my own thoughts. We have so much going on that it is overwhelming sometimes. God continues to give us strength through the storm and we are so thankful. I have to let everyone know what has been going on.

We were part of a start up ministry since fall of 2006. For almost three years, we poured our hearts and our souls into trying to build something for Jesus. We poured our time and effort into a pastor and his family to be a support unit to them. This Pastor has such charisma and charm and when annointed by the Lord, it is amazing how lives are touched. We were just honored that God had led us to be part of the work of God that we knew was going to happen.

As time passed, Pastors flaws became apparent, but hey, we are all flawed people and God loves us just as we are as long as we are striving to be more like Him every day. I equated my Pastor to David of the Old Testament, flawed but loving God, mistakes abounded but the repentance did too. This was enough for my family to stay even when literally hundreds of people came in and out the doors never to return. Our hearts were confused on why these folks didn’t have enough strength or perseverance to stay and see it through. Little did we know that God would use this as a tool to show us the truth when the time was right.

Around six months ago, God started tapping on my hearts door and letting me know that we would break away from this ministry and begin our own work for the Lord at some point. I think this is God’s love shown forth because if I had not started to break away emotionally all those months ago, I would be so hurt by the last few weeks that I would not be able to function. It is God’s divine grace that has sustained us through it all.

Two months ago, my husband told me, God is telling me we need to stay here. “We are staying here and supporting Pastor and his family until God makes it clear that this door is shut and that another door is opened.” In loving (okay sometimes not so loving) submission, I waited on God and my husband to confer about the appropriate time-line. God’s time is not always our time, but He is always right on time.

Three weeks ago this Friday, the poo hit the fan, so to speak. It seemed like out of the woodwork people began to tell us things that hurt our heart so badly that I would not put them on a blog for anyone to read. Our Pastor had basically said untrue things about myself and my family and that was our final straw. That was the door shutting in our face and though it hurt like you know what, it was a relief of sorts. I was so spiritually tired of trying to be a help to a ministry that was built on falsehoods and I was so relieved that I could breathe again. It seems like it had been six months since I took a really deep breath.

So much has been unearthed in the past few weeks, our email accounts have been attacked and compromised and our facebooks hacked and mine even deleted. Even my work email has been violated. The vile and hateful attacks of the enemy during this time have not dampened our faith, have only strengthened our resolve to move forward for Jesus. I said sometime ago that people hurt people, not God or Churches.

There are only about three families left at my old Pastors church and I pray for them everyday, that they will have the strength and that they will hear the still small voice of God when he shuts the doors for their families. I remember when families would leave and they would say to us, you need to leave, this is not where you need to be and we would say, this is where God wants us to be. And that was true – for the time we were there, God wanted us there, whether it was to expose the enemy for who he was or just to learn how to be better when our leadership time comes, whatever it was, it was God teaching us something to use in the future.

I miss my Pastor and his wife, or at the least the people I thought they were. Today is mine and Brad’s third wedding anniversary. My pastor married us, that was one of the most awesome days of our lives and they were there, front and center, sharing that with them. It is my prayer that this family really find where things went wrong and get back on the path God wants them on . It is my prayer that everything comes to light so that their true healing and redemption can begin. Someone once told my pastor that to be truly used of God, you truly have to be broken before him. I sincerely hope that this is how he views this time, that he finds where God’s direction should be leading him and his family. Most of you don’t know this family, but they need your prayers. While we are hurting, we do have others around us lifting us up, we have a body of believers who are standing united together. This family does not have a strong support system and greatly need prayer. Please pray for them because if through this, they can come to repentance, that is the heartbeat of God.

I know this is quite lengthly but it has been in my head and heart, a jumble of emotions and prayers. We are thankful that as we start our new work as a body of believers who broke away, we had 45 people at our service last Sunday for mothers day. I am thankful that people are choosing forgiveness over bitterness. I am thankful to be a part of the Kingdom of God that refuses to let human pain paralyze us spiritually.

Pray that God leads our church body as we pray about leadership and about board members. Pray that our focus at Bethesda will always be what Bethesda means (healing waters – house of grace). Pray that we get so much of Jesus in us as a body of believers that others are compelled to ask about the God within us. Brad taught on Sunday about how Mary birthed God ~ literally. He talked about how she was moved as God moved within her. That is my prayer for our church body. As God grows within us, help us to move where he moves. . . .

Blessings.

Shelly

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