The brisk Colorado breeze wrapped around me as I sat watching the snowflakes land one by one on the windshield. I tugged at my gloves and tapped my feet to keep warm. At my insistence, Barry was filling up the gas tank before our date. Aside from being as cozy as a tin can, the beautiful blue 1977 Bronco was notorious for running out of fuel. Blame it on forgetfulness or a broken gauge, but either way, there were many dates that ended with us walking hand in hand…carrying a single red gas can as the Bronco sat idle in the distance.
I loved that vehicle.
But I hated feeling stranded.
As I have been mulling over this entry, there has been an unsettled temperance in my writing. Something I couldn’t quite place my finger upon until now. The words “the journey from stranded” have bounced around in my mind all week. I’ve wondered why a term so dark could somehow ring a bell of hope in my soul. As if it were signaling the beginning of something beautiful and wildly adventurous!
Maybe it’s just the season, but the new year always makes me feel alive and refreshed. I look forward to the blank slate that January 1st brings and this year is no different. 2010 was an intense time for Barry and myself. His help as I started my blog went unseen, but he provided a steady stream of encouragement, love and strength in the midst of a very difficult year. We had no idea the amount of support or backfire that would be received with each stroke of the keyboard. For months, I prayed and carefully typed My Story, hoping that God would somehow make sense of everything we experienced in our early years of ministry. All the while believing that change would come…if only in our own hearts.
Looking back I can see that writing openly about our experiences was the healing part of my journey. I had to complete the final leg of my voyage…the emotional trek back to whole. And it hurt…man it hurt a lot. A piece of my heart was still stranded in dysfunction and gaining it back meant facing past mistakes, losing old friends, and making new ones in the process. But, I can’t imagine feeling the freedom I do now, without taking those first few steps. The same goes for many of you…you have been so brave to write and share your stories, struggles and victories. Thank you for walking with me and championing me on towards a greater life. Thank you for not giving up either, for not growing bitter…for not staying stranded.
My prayer is that just as 2010 will be remembered as the year of the journey for many of us, may 2011 bring with it the restoring, redemptive, joyful qualities that mark every great adventure!
Side Note about my blog:
A few weeks ago, I started feeling pretty good about my blog. Much of the initial shock that surrounded my writings had dwindled and I felt as though life was returning to normal. But, just as I was settling in for the Holidays a rumor was released online about a pastor Barry and I worked with at our former church. Not just any pastor, a man we have known and loved for over a decade. The news left me speechless, angry, defensive, but more than anything it made me want to know the truth.
As you can imagine curiosity over the situation escalated quickly and my blog received a number of visits in order to confirm the accusations. At the time, I felt positive that they were false, but being so far removed from their lives…I couldn’t say for sure. However, I didn’t want to be associated with the rumor mill that can so easily form online or endure the emotional strain that I knew would accompany the commotion. So, in order to keep the integrity of my blog as well as my personal integrity, I shut down My Secret Life for a few weeks.
During that time Barry and I made a number of phone calls and sent some emails regarding the subject. And after quite a bit of research we feel confident that the rumors of theft and physical abuse are far-reaching and not characteristic of a man we have known for over a decade.
If you have read my story, you know the emotional strain Barry and I lived under during our stint on staff at the same church. We witnessed many lines that were crossed on a consistent basis and boundaries that were blurred as a result. My concern continues to remain the damaging amount of control that congregational and staff members live under as a result of being asked to remain submitted to an authority figure that is abusive. I feel that recent events only strengthen the need to call for the top two senior pastors resignations before more damage is done.