I've been putting off writing about this because I just don't know how to tell the first part of the story. I've stayed awake tossing and turning and tugging on sheets trying to work out what to say and how, but I still don't know. So I'm just going to begin by giving you the basic background facts without any of the commentary I've thought of adding.
The facts: I worked as the girls' ministry director for a ministry called Jacob's Well. This ministry for teenagers was under the missions department umbrella of a sizeable church. The people that I worked with were my closest friends at the time--we spent not only work hours, but many other hours together every week. Three of those people were members of the same family. One of them did something that destroyed the whole ministry and that family. Nobody ever told me exactly what happened--I had to piece it together later and I felt betrayed by being so close to the situation and yet knowing so little. I lost my job, a ministry I believed in, and several of my closest friends in one week. The founding church (a good church, still) handled this very badly. They shut down the ministry and quickly replaced it with something else, hiring all new people and hushing up the sin and its ramifications. I and a couple of other people who had been involved with the ministry did our best to carry on at a much smaller church that opened its arms to the kids we were working with. But the ministry was now on a volunteer basis, with no funding, and we were never given counseling to deal with what we had been through. I was only twenty years old. I spent the next seven years doing ministry grudgingly and by habit, withholding my heart to protect it, never speaking of what happened even to the others who were just as devastated as I was.
Okay, now that that is out of the way, I can tell you the good part. Weeks after Jacob's Well closed, I went to visit a friend in a town about three hours away for the weekend. Just to escape the emotional rollercoaster that my life had become. Deborah was working as a nanny, living in a luxurious house and serving the Lord with joy. The family was out of town for the weekend so I went to stay with her in their home. She knew kind of the bare bones of what had happened. I remember sleeping so well that first night in a bed that felt like a really nice hotel bed, with a friend beside me who was so filled with the Spirit she just exuded it. When we woke up in the morning, Deborah told me the dream she had had in the night.
She said she had gone outside to her car to find that the entire inside of the car had been stripped--seats, steering wheel, engine--only the shell of the car remained. As she stood there she saw one of her Christian brothers chasing the man who had stolen the insides of her car. He tackled the thief to the ground and said commandingly, "You will return everything that you have stolen and more!"
Deborah told me she felt like she was supposed to share that dream with me,to encourage me. And it did encourage me for a time. I knew that God could make something good out of a terrible situation. I believed wholeheartedly in His grace and mercy for the person I had worked with who had done something so wrong. I believed He would give me a new job, which He did. And everytime good things would happen to me (new job, something going well at church, getting engaged, getting married), I would remember Deborah's dream and think that the enemy was somehow losing ground. But he, the enemy, still held so much of my life captive and I didn't even realize it. My ministry with the youth at church was so stagnant, I no longer raised my hands in worship or prayed out loud, and I lived in terror that my Bible-major-fiancee would want to go into full-time ministry. Somehow I started blaming vocational ministry for the demise of my friend's family instead of just seeing it as the result of sin that is just crouching at the door, waiting to devour.
I don't think I can write anymore tonight. I will try to finish this tomorrow. But I will tell you that it ends very well. This is a heavy post, but tomorrow's will not be. Weeping endures for the night, but joy comes in the morning...
2 years ago