I apologize for allowing so much time to pass between posts. Things are progressing well with Tidelands, and I am certainly keeping busy, but life has also been making the road a bit tough. I share the following, not by way of complaint or whining, but as a way to continue reflecting on this process of church planting with the hope that it will benefit and encourage others (but if, after reading, you want to give me a virtual pat on the back along with an “Aaaaw, poor boy!” – I’ll understand).
Roughly five weeks ago we made the shift to the Stanwood Community and Senior Center for our Sunday morning worship gatherings. It has been an answer to prayer for us, even if it wasn’t the ideal office/worship space combination that we were hoping for (more on that in a later post). About the same time I received word that my 95 year-old Grandmother had just been hospitalized after a fall and was having a surgery. Since that phone call I have spent many hours in four different hospitals in Oregon and Washington with family members having surgery. Here’s the story:
My Grandma (an amazing woman of deep faith that personally played a big role in leading many people to Christ) has been living on her own. She had a bad fall and broke a hip requiring surgery. I had the opportunity to talk and pray with her while she was still in the hospital. Not long after my visit, the family and my grandma elected not to pursue further surgeries knowing that her body could only take so much. She was then moved to a hospice facility where she passed away. My wife and kids made the trip back down with me to Oregon for the funeral. It was a beautiful, faith-filled service.
Earlier this summer my wife re-injured her knee while training for a race (I often preach that running is crazy and idiotic but nobody listens!). She had surgery on her ACL in high school after a soccer injury and it is finally catching up with her. Her surgery a week ago was a quick, in-and-out surgery and everything seems to have gone well. But having two young boys out of school for the summer and a wife stuck in a chair does not lend itself to productivity as far as work goes. She is recovering well, and doing much more than she probably should be already, but we had to put some vacation plans on hold until we know how everything turns out.
Finally, my 10 year-old niece (brother’s daughter) was rushed to the hospital for an emergency appendectomy the same day my wife had surgery. This has been the hardest of all. There have been complications and many very scary moments, including being rushed to Seattle Children’s Hospital. My brother and I are very close, and I love my niece to death! It has been very hard seeing both of them in so much pain. Thankfully, she is showing slow signs of recovery, but her hospital stay will likely last awhile. Something like this certainly allows one to see life from a different perspective and to appreciate the gifts that God has given us for today!
I share all of this, because these are all events that I could not foresee or even prepare for as we launched into this church planting endeavor. I am so very thankful that I am doing this work with a team of people, and that we have been very careful about doing everything in a way that allows us to maintain time for rest and play as a family (though it has been a struggle at times). While I feel stressed by all of the things that I am behind on, my faith has been strengthened as I have seen God continuing to work in our midst and giving my family strength. This has simply been one of those periods in my life when I wonder how anyone can make it through without the strength and peace that only comes through a relationship with Jesus, and serves as a reminder of the importance of sharing this Good News – this Gospel – with others.
More reflections to come. In the meantime… back to the hospital.