Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Dark Night of the Soul

Two nights ago I received an email letting me know that we were not going to be called to the last church we had applied to almost eight months ago.

I was broken.

Not because I was told no by some church search committee, and not because I was really desperate to move where the church was located.

I was broken because it was the last in a long string of no's: "No, we're not ready for someone like you. No, we want to say yes but the Lord is telling us no. No, your ministry is somewhere else and they will be blessed to have you."

I was broken because just as a year and a half ago a no meant a leaving of all that I knew and now this no  means an even deeper leaving...the leaving of the pastorate.

This was our watershed moment. Our moment to see what the Lord wanted the Greenwoods to do next. It was either leap back into the comfortable and familiar saddle of the pastorate or get on a new horse with a new unfamiliar saddle and ride into the unknown (pardon the western illustration).

So, I cried. I got angry. I mourned. I grieved. I was and still am...broken.

Almost all of it has been stripped away. No money. No job. No home. No comfortable. No familiar. No normal. (I am thankful that my health, my family, and my wonderful helpmate all remain)

I still want to be a pastor, but for the next season the Lord is calling us to something new. Something scary. Something undone and untried. Something that seems...not not impossible without the hand of the Lord.

Being a pastor...loving people...teaching people...being there for people...I delight in it. Is it hard? More than most know. Is it for everyone? Not at all. Am I incapable or unqualified? No, I do not believe so...but I am disallowed...for now. How long? Who knows but in His time and through His grace maybe once again down the road.

So, what now? Well, there is a plan. There is a path. There is a journey.

In the days ahead, many of you will read about it. Many of you will have a chance to be a part of it. Many of you will have the chance to dream the impossible dream (song's in your head now...sorry about that) with us and pray with us the prayer that never fails (Jane Karon Mitford reference).

Only you, my loyal blog readers, will know the depths from which we have come to set out on this new adventure.

But I want you to know that just as St. John of the Cross penned mighty truth in The Dark Night of the Soul, so there is truth here. All is not dark. We will press through. We will be where we are supposed to be and be better for it. The pain will not last. The loss will not defeat us. The unfamiliar will eventually become familiar and this dark night of the soul?

It will lead to joy, and it will lead to Light.

But until then...pray for us.