Thursday, January 07, 2010

Throw Up, Broccoli and My Soul

Anson threw up earlier. Hoping it's not the virus that is wiping out our town. Maybe it was just the left over pork loin he ate for lunch. I don't want him to have a virus, but I also don't want to have poisoned my child. Throwing up is the worst. Poor baby!

I posted some of my favorite broccoli recipes on the Family Supper Club website. Broccoli is really cheap right now at the grocery store. Check out the recipes. We have loved them!

Deep breath.

It might not be "well" with my soul, but things are definitely heading towards "better" instead of plummeting towards "worse."

I could never begin to untangle the web of hurt, frustration and bitterness in my heart well enough to adequately describe it.

Maybe you've been there before where you can't quite figure out where "it" all started, or really what "it" is but you find yourself sitting in a big pile of "it" whatever "it" is.

That's been my life this semester, and I'm ready to get out of the fog.

A lot of the issues had to do with school. Things have been terrific this week with our new schedule. This is working. Hudson is getting all the attention and discipline he needs (or that this sinful mother can give him). The things on our lesson plans are getting accomplished every day. Huge sigh of relief. I'm feeling more productive as a teacher and mother. Not perfect...but at least like I have a fighting chance to do the things I know the Lord has called me to in this home.

A lot of the issues had to do with church. The church I'm in and the church I left.

I could never pretend to understand all that has gone on with two new churches starting out of one. I wish with all my heart I had a bunch of super spiritual things to say to explain the reasons behind starting the new churches and the way in which the churches began. I remember there being good reasons. But no matter how great the reasons were, I don't think I was prepared for how much I was going to miss the people I love...who have loved us...who have watched Aaron and I grow up, been there through every birth of the Hendrick children...seen so many of our days.

I don't think I was prepared for how much faith this was going to take, or how much hurt was on the horizon, or how much I was going to have to submit and follow Aaron. I had no idea how much I would much I would doubt Aaron's leadership...maybe all leadership.

For sure...I had no idea how much changing churches was going to affect every single other area of my life. Maybe that's a good thing. If you've ever doubted the "church thing" I'm here to tell you that connection like you read about in the Bible still happens today. Until now, I wasn't sure how much "church" meant to me, or how much a part of my life it is. Now I know. The church means so much to me that when things are yuck, or off, or hard, or broken, or difficult it affects how I wash dishes, how I speak to my husband, whether or not I want to get dressed in the morning or get out of bed.

I know these new church starts were not supposed to feel divisive. There was not a church split. We started two new churches, but in many ways (for me personally) this has felt like a divorce. It has felt weird, awkward and hard. Relationships that weren't strained are, and relationships that were once close are not any more. There has been a lot of insecurity, a lot of wondering if the church we just poured 10 years of our lives into even cares if we left or misses us like we miss them, a lot of wondering if we will ever fit in to this new place where God has us. A lot of wondering why I'm here and what on earth I'm supposed to do in this new place that seems so foreign to me.

No one needs to remind me that this all sounds horribly selfish. I know. Believe me, I know.

No matter how great your imagination is, a new church is hard to imagine. Anything new is. There is a lot of good in this new place, but it's nothing like what I thought it was going to be. My reaction has been anything but godly. Lots of idols have been revealed in my heart. Lots of things not like I thought they would be, not the way I like them, not the way I was imagining and as a result I have shut down. All the way down.

On top of all that gunk, I didn't realize that I was going to need to grieve the relationships we left behind. I felt pushed to move on, and maybe no one meant to do it, but I truly felt like I was made to feel guilty for hurting...for longing for what used to be, and for the relationships we had.

Usually I love meeting new people. I love getting to know them. It's been difficult at our new church to even conjure up the desire to connect with the great people God has brought our way. I have felt horribly guilty for not being more willing to jump in and "make friends." That's really unlike me. Maybe I've been selfish, or maybe I had not fully grieved the loss of the people I left behind. Honestly, I think I've had a hard time making new friends when I still wanted my old ones. My mind is still busy trying to figure out a way to get back to that other place where everyone was together. Our old church feels like home to me, but not without Aaron leading worship and now when I think of "Pastor" I think of Allen Duty, and lots of the people I love are at our new church, and lots of good stuff is going on where does that leave me?

Wanting something that does not exist...dealing with the fact that things can never go back to the way they were. That's good, but doesn't make it any less weird or painful.

Like I said...I know that there were good, gospel centered reasons for starting new churches, and maybe one day like a good girl I'll be able to regurgitate those reasons when asked to explain all has transpired this year.

But right now, it is what it is and I'm weary of pretending.

I love a lot of things about this new place that the Lord has us, (honestly...we left bunches of friends behind, but lots of our friends are here too), I love the vision of this new church, but no matter how much I love all that, it does not change the fact or make up for in any way that I have hurt over the connections that were lost. My children have grieved lost friendships, and their open and honest inspires me to be real with myself. I've caught myself dismissing their grief, chanting to them the reasons why we started new churches. It's good to remind them and myself why we're in this new place, but it's also okay to acknowledge loss and let ourselves feel it. I've had to apologize to my children for trying to turn them into robots when I have failed horribly at being one myself.

God is big enough to heal our selfishness and big enough to heal our hearts from the hurt over losing people we love to do the things God is asking us to do. I don't want to minimize those truths to our kids. All of it can be true...the selfishness, the need to share the gospel, and the pain...but most importantly the healing and sufficiency of Christ in our time of need.

Last night all three churches came together for a huge worship and prayer service.

Aaron led worship with musicians...precious people we love...

We saw so many people we had not seen in a very long time. I had tears in my eyes the whole evening.

It was incredible. It was moving. There was something so healing about being with the people we love, seeing the gifts God has given the body on display...

I haven't been in a worship service so worshipful in a long time.

Don't know why exactly or how...but I left that place changed.

I felt like I had been home. It felt like a tiny drop of heaven was visible in that room.

So that's where I am...

Throw your stones if you want. But it has been good to ask God to take me back to where "it" all started and stitch up all that has been bleeding.

Besides...I'm tired of feeling guilty for missing so many people we love. If we had been able to leave a church where we had served for 10 years and it not hurt, how jacked up and dysfunctional would that have been? No thanks. I don't want to be that kind of person. God may have called us to leave, but not because it would be easy to throw everyone away who meant so much to us. It's been hard, and I think I'm finally okay with admitting how hard it's been.

More than anything God has given me so much hope over the last few days.

Hope that He will heal all that is hurting in me.

Hope that the gospel means God is at work in me through these trials.

Hope that no matter how much sin and nastiness these trials till up, God is faithful to sanctify me and has already paid for everything lacking and offensive in me these trials are sure to uncover.

Hope that God will knit my heart somehow, someway with this new group of people in a way that would make me sick with grief, unable to function well for awhile if we ever had to say good-bye.

Hopeful that this stuff is coming to an end so that I can start participating in the things God has called the church to do...make Him known.

He has brought joy in my heart towards the church once again...the church we left behind and the church we find ourselves in.


bekah said...


Thank you for your transparency.

I cried myself to sleep many nights when I first moved to LH Bryan. It was like moving away from home for the first time and home was 15 minutes down the road, but you weren't allowed to visit. I missed my family, I missed the comfort of the building, I missed the schedule.

It was like moving to Mozambique with a bunch of great people but it was a one way ticket. And serving in the same ministries wasn't the same, and oftentimes downright awkward.

And then people leave your little remnant of a family and your heart shatters. Why did they have to leave, lord? Who else is leaving? Who can I trust?

It is still not nearly as seamless and smoothrunning and "together" as I remember old LH, but I know the lord allows our hearts to get completely and utterly broken, so that He and only He can fix it. And the Lord is unchanging. while seasons change, he is still faithful and sovereign, ministries are not and people certainly are not.

The silver linings and the sweetness and the resurrections because of obedience are unfathomable, and more than worth it.


Gabbie said... up and broccoli....not sure what to make of that! I am so very touched by all you much so, that for now, I am at a loss of words. I'm sorry for the hurt you have experienced, but not really, because Jesus uses the crappy stuff we go through to change us and make us more like Him. I love you, Heather and miss you!

Jenn Harrist said...


I sat and read this tonight and know all of that. And as I read what you were hoping and praying for God to accomplish in you, I have been saying those same prayers these last few months.

It was also hard for us to leave LH, while not on the same level as you guys, still hard. And just as we were adjusting to NL, here we go again. There have been many times in these last months that I have cried over missing New Life and Living Hope. Missing all those things that you just mentioned and more. Some days when Chris and I pull out of the parking lot of our church here, we say " Hmmm good, but not Allen, or not what we would have happened at New Life." That has been very hard for us, and something that the enemy has used to keep us from fully being a part of our new body. I have even had dreams where we are back at NL fully in worship and feeling at home. I have had to stop reading the NL blog as well because I always get a sense of loss for the growth that I know we would be experiencing if not for this other growth experience that God has us going through right now.

Thank you for being so transparent. I do wish we could have been at home with all of you last night. But some day, we will get to do all that again as our family comes back together in heaven.


Hi. My name is Alanna. said...

"But right now, it is what it is and I'm weary of pretending." Good words. Honest, real, and true.

I haven't been there for your journey, but I know it well from my own - especially the parts of coming to the end of oneself. Thanks for being real. The truth of your life speaks volumes and I know so many people can relate. It's taken a lot of time in my life for me to learn that it's really okay to ache, to hurt, to miss people. We really don't have to be great and fine and dandy all the time. And sometimes we have to walk a while in the desert - not because we're lost or walking away from God - but b/c that's just simply where we are today on this road we call life.

Thanks for sharing your road with all of us who read here. May you find healing in green pastures, clarity in still waters, and joy set before you in the months to come. Blessings and Love to you Heather.

Susan, wife of 1, mother of 4 said...

Heather! I'm so glad that you wrte about this again! I meant to comment last time that it's great to know someone who is honest about hard things that God calls us to do. I'm sorry for your loss. I admire your willingness to persevere (even if it's because you have chosen to submit to Aaron - that still counts...maybe even more!)

God never leaves you or forsakes you. He never gives you something too hard for you; and he always has GOOD in mind when trials happen.

Hang in there, sister. You are a shining light and very refreshing to see. I'll pray for you.

Anonymous said...

"There has been a lot of insecurity, a lot of wondering if the church we just poured # years of our lives into even cares if we left or misses us like we miss them, a lot of wondering if we will ever fit in to this new place where God has us. A lot of wondering why I'm here and what on earth I'm supposed to do in this new place that seems so foreign to me."

My wife and I know exactly how you feel... We not only left dear friends, but moved to a new city. After almost 5 years those questions still remain, relationships we were once encouraged by have become painful reminders of what we left (if we let them). The only hope and peace and comfort we have is in knowing God has us here and that He is sufficient.

Our Lord never leaves us or forsakes us. He never promises to check on us only to forget us. He never leaves us alone or fondly thinks of us from a distance. He is always near... always faithful... and always enough. Take courage - God is always good and blesses our obedience.

Amy said...

Hey Heather,

I appreciate your vulnerability and transparency with us all. I feel like I can identify with you in many ways as we've moved a lot in the past few years and recently moved cities again.

It's hard to let go of certain places and season, especially ones we poured ourselves into or ones with really deep relationships. I'm encouraged to hear you being honest with yourself and others with where you are in processing and grieving these changes. And I know that time does heal some of these. God will bring about good and there will be those "ah ha" moments where at least some of this will make sense.


PS have you ever read Hinds Feet in High Places? If not, it's a must! :)

Megan Fletcher said...

I admire your courage to put yourself out there. I'm always wondering if certain people will read my blog and be offended or hurt by my transparency or being honest. I, for one among many, appreciate your openness!

We left the churches we served in Arizona to move to PA. That was hard. I had been in AZ for 15 years and it was my home. PA was exciting as we were first married and it was our first full-time ministry position together.

We served in PA for 5 years and it was truly our family. Even those closest to me didn't understand the pain of moving away when we moved to TX to join GFA staff b/c we were so excited about serving Asia. It wasn't until my last visit in September that one woman remarked "wow, I don't think I realized just how important we were to you." That hurt in many ways. Why didn't she know? I said it often.

I had to reprocess through that move (from PA to TX) this summer as my closest friend in PA was going through a very hard time and shut down and would not return my emails or phone calls. It was easily the hardest friendship thing I've walked through. It hurt so badly, I would just sit and cry.

It's still hard sometimes. It's hard to be open and do life together and then have that taken away. I don't know any answers. But, I know God heals all our hurts and always redeems ugly stuff for His glory.

Praying for you as you continue to walk with Jesus and seek His face in all this.

Bob & Judy said...

The day that Rockdale called Bob to be their pastor, I stood at the front of the church as people came by to congratulate us -- and boo-hooed. And obviously not tears of joy. Awkward.....

Being called - it sounds so clean, so sure. But "called to" necessarily means "called from." And I have never found it clean or sure.

It's difficult to maintain the old relationships, because even though they want to be supportive, there's always an undercurrent of, "what was wrong with us?" I always felt like I was justifying the move and defending the new place. Probably just me, but it's what I felt.

And it has been hard - everytime - for me to throw myself into new relationships. Cause I know the searing pain of leaving. And I doan lak it.

You have the added complication of being right there, so the pain never gets time to scab over.

I don't think anything you're feeling is wrong. Or unusual, I'm sorry to say.

Just don't get so friendly with the pain that you like it better than the possibilities.

Keep on walking.

Faithfulness is really the only scorecard. Obedience - it's all we have to offer God.

You have our love always. Grandma

Bob & Judy said...

And Poppi has the stomach virus.

Kelli V said...

I don't know what led me to your blog today, but here I am feeling so many of the feelings that you have shared. No, we didn't leave the church to go start something new, but honestly, I have often thought, that would have been easier at least more exciting. I know that isn't true, but in so many ways I felt like we were being abandoned and left to pick up all the pieces. I miss people. We were like family and it hurts when you're separated from those you love. Wednesday night was beautiful. I was full of joy and thanksgiving to be able to reconnect and worship with the other two bodies. I really don't know what all this means but I do know that God is faithful and knows my hurts and my questioning heart. He will not forsake me.

Anonymous said...

Your post was as if my soul had written it. As a pastor's wife, I have feel many times the things you spoke of. Going where your husband is led by God can have a big change in your life and your children. People in the new place expect you to be excited in their church but sometimes that is hard when you miss the place you came from. Paul says that we must look ahead and not look back or we are not worthy of HIs kingdom.
May you draw closer to Him in your walk with God.