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Archive for the ‘My Job’ Category

Injuries

tony-conigliaro

“It’s impossible to think of tragic injuries in sports and not picture Tony C. The promising Red Sox slugger and Boston-area native hit 32 home runs at the age of 20, and racked up 104 career dingers by age 22.

 

He was hit by a pitch just below his eye socket in 1967, and he did not play again until 1969. His vision continued to deteriorate over time, and Conigliaro was forced to retire after the 1971 season. He made a brief comeback with the Red Sox in 1975, but he was never able to sustain the success he was once assured as a young superstar. Conigliaro suffered a massive heart attack in 1982 and died in 1990 at just 45 years old.

 

Tony C’s legacy lives on in Boston and beyond. MLB named an award after him to honor a player each season for overcoming adversity. He finished his career with 166 home runs, but he was likely missed out of hundreds more due to his misfortune.”  – Jack Andrade, Boston Globe Media Partners, LLC.

 

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If we treated emotional injuries the way we treat sports injuries, people would be a lot more understanding when someone goes through severe trauma. You wouldn’t expect a football star that became a quadriplegic to get up and start moving and playing again just because his team needs him, right? In the illustration above, could the baseball industry have said, “Tony, you don’t need that eye to still hit the ball!”, “Why are you letting that ruined eye affect you?”, “What’s wrong with you? Get back in there! You need to keep hitting those homeruns!” or “I know your vision is deteriorating, but don’t let that stop you!” Ummmmm. No.

 

How about people with diseases and physical illnesses? Could a cancer patient decide by sheer will to be cured just to make life easier for everyone around them? Can we tell our daughter to stop having diabetes just because it’s affecting our grocery bill? Can people with ALS just ignore it and continue with life as usual so it doesn’t inconvenience themselves or those around them?

 

My family has had many difficult experiences over the past few years. I know we are not alone in this. Life is hard for pretty much everyone. It stinks! As always, with faith in God, love for each other, and sheer willpower we have fought through the grief, pain, and exhaustion to make everything continue to run as usual. There were highs and lows, and we tried not to let the lows dominate our lives.

 

Unfortunately, when the tank gauge moves to “E”, it can only go for so long before it truly is 100% depleted and there is nothing left to run on.

 

That is what has happened with us. We have been running on “E” for so long that it has affected every area of our lives.

 

Am I embarrassed about this? YES! We are in church leadership, we are supposed to have everything figured out, right?

 

Do I hate the fact that we are leaving our church? YES! We love our church so much and everyone in it. This has been our family for fifteen years! It is truly heart-breaking for us.

 

Do I know without a doubt that this is the right thing to do for us and for the church? YES! The church needs healthy leaders to move forward in the amazing plan that God has for them. Also, we need to get healthy again ourselves… for our family… And so we can move forward in the plans God has for us as well.

 

In the past, I always read statistics about pastors leaving the ministry (about 1,500 every month left the ministry last year) and NEVER, I mean NEVER, EVER thought that would be us. We were in this for life. It was my husband’s calling since he was FOURTEEN YEARS OLD, and it was my calling as well (as a child I knew this, just didn’t know how).

 

So what does this mean for us now? Uncertainty… Doubt… Sadness… Above all else – Hope.   We are placing our hope and faith in God for healing… recovery… and a renewed passion for ministry.

 

I hope people can see my heart and feel my pain in this. It’s not easy. It feels like a divorce, when your heart is torn in two and you just can’t make sense of it. But you will be ok. Everything will be ok. With God on your side, you are not alone.

 

I would love for you to read this link on statistics:

http://www.pastoralcareinc.com/statistics/

 

It is SO TRUE.

 

I also want people to see what it says at the bottom on improvements: 73% of churches are treating their pastors better. That is true as well! Thank you so much, New Hope, for being that kind of church! You have been amazing, generous, loving, and truly like family. You have grown so much in these past fifteen years, and so have we! I hope we have blessed you as much as you have blessed us. We love you so much!

 

Recently God gave me these scriptures for New Hope:

 

Matthew 10:29-31 — Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father.

And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

 

Luke 12:24-27 — Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap; they have no storehouse or barn, yet God feeds them. How much more valuable are you than the birds! 

Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his lifespan?

So if you cannot do such a small thing, why do you worry about the rest?

Consider how the lilies grow: They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory was adorned like one of these.

 

Let me ask you… have you ever tried to count the hairs on your head? Impossible! (Well for most people anyway!) Hey I lost numbers 962, 801, & 35 in the shower today. Seriously though, these scriptures, along with hundreds of others, show how God loves you and will take care of you (and us too).

 

This church has amazing possibilities on the horizon! Stay faithful, committed, and just be your normal loving selves!

 

Thank you for your patience in reading this extra long letter.  I love you.

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Roses Among So Many Thorns

hands

The thorns are the cares of life that threaten to hurt or bring them down. The roses are those precious people that have overcome these thorns and have found the joy in the small things. These are people I encounter every day…

Like Eileen, who lives alone and celebrates every holiday alone, because her only son hasn’t spoken a word to her in over two years…

And Pat, with tears running down her face tells me she is fighting for her grandson, who is being sexually abused by his mom… this is her daughter… whom she raised and nursed every boo boo and wiped away tears and runny noses… and who now laughs at her mother in contempt and dares her to prove it.

There’s Olive, who told me she lost her son 10 years ago just before Christmas. He was hanging lights up on the roof and fell and died from internal injuries.

And Grace, who sadly told me as her eyes watered that she lost her husband just a month ago. He was the love of her life and although a man of few words spoke loudly with his example to everyone he knew.

There are happy moments too…

Like with Ann, who danced in her kitchen when she saw a clip of DWTS on a talk show while her daughter looked on smiling, with love shining through her eyes.

And Shirley, who made me try her mincemeat pie and gave me advice about what to get my grandparents for Christmas. “A Kindle!” she said. (Too bad she doesn’t know how expensive they are.) She also remembered from our first visit that I liked her diet soda.

And Bill, a 90 year old who had mischief in his eyes, an easy smile, and squeezed my hand so tight when he shook it as if to show me he was still strong. He also talked about how cute his healthcare worker was. “I sure know how to pick ‘em!” he exclaimed.
There’s Ruth, who talked proudly about her four kids as if they were movie stars and superheroes.

And Gerald, who recognizes my voice on the phone and acts like I am his favorite person on earth, but I know he must treat everyone this way and I love it!

There’s Nannie, (yes that’s her real name), who tried to explain how to make this special bean dish she makes only for her brother, who would be in town visiting for the holidays. She wants to make me cookies and get some of my famous banana bread.

These are all precious older people who have so much wisdom to offer if someone would take the time to talk to them and listen. I’m so glad I did!

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