Katherine has been doing a masterful job of keeping everyone up to date on our situation, and I appreciate her efforts greatly. But I thought it was time for me to share a few words of my own with you all.
As I write this, I am sitting at my dining room table, on the verge of my last weekend at Fair Oaks Church. And while there is certainly a measure of sadness and grief in my heart, the overwhelming emotion within me is peace.
Peace because I know that I am loved, first and foremost by our Heavenly Father, but also by the good people of Fair Oaks, the students in the ministry there, and countless friends and family members who have called and e-mailed these past few weeks.
Peace because I sense that the students of Fair Oaks have understood my heart; my passion for God's Word, my commitment to discipleship and spiritual formation, and my desire for them to make their faith their own.
Peace because many of the students have heeded that call. Just this month, the Student Leadership Team (a group of 12 or so high schoolers) decided to meet on their own, without adult prompting, to discuss the future of the ministry after I leave. The result of that meeting was a decision to fast and pray together. And so they did. They met together, fasted for 36 hours, shared life, and prayed for one another and for the ministry. In the face of difficulty, they chose to draw close to the Lord, to seek His face before doing anything else. There is a reason why God chose them to be leaders of this ministry, and I could not be more proud of them.
Peace because God's hand of provision is already on display. Katherine landed a great job in only three weeks of looking in the midst of the worst job market we've ever seen. God is clearly taking care of us.
Peace because I look forward to what's next, whatever that may be. Katherine and I feel pretty sure that a return to full-time school in the fall is the right move. Taking a couple of years out to finish my Seminary degree will give me the break I need from ministry to get well, and it will prepare me for a return to full-time ministry down the road. No matter where the Lord leads us, I am optimistic about this time of healing, reflection, and preparation.
Peace because I have an amazing and godly wife. Katherine is my best friend. She is a woman who hungers and thirsts for righteousness. She yearns for more of Jesus in her life and in the lives of those around her. And she has been so very good to me through my struggles with depression. Her hope, her faith, her belief in me, will me forward when I feel like I can't go on. She reminds me when I forget that God has given me a gift to preach. She supports me, and comforts me, and loves me. I am blessed among men to have Katherine for my wife.
Peace because I trust Jesus. In the past, I have quit jobs for Him. I sold my house for Him. I followed Him all the way around the world. I have held orphans for Him, preached in dirt streets running with sewage for Him, and been insulted for Him. I have had my heart broken for Him more than once. And I would do it all again. He has never steered me wrong, never put me to shame, never abandoned me. And He won't this time either.
Thanks again for all of your warmth, prayers, love, and suport. I promise to try to write more in the days and weeks to come.