Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Glorious Fish Bowl

As I write this post, I'm in another state, far away from Tennessee and my church family. I'm enjoying the glory of the Lord in the mountains--a glory that is only there. :)

Sunday we shared our story--it was not easy, not even the 4th time. (Because we have 3 services and were leading a class for our adult leaders Sunday morning we had to share 4 times.) But we are glad we shared, and I really think that it's the only way to be a good pastor to our flock.

In May, 1991 I shook as I stood before our small congregation and told them about mine and Tom's struggle with infertility. We'd been seeing a specialist for three years--every month for three years. I'd had surgery, we'd undergone some interesting tests and I struggled silently away from my church family. Prior to sharing that Sunday morning in May I thought I was doing them (and me) a favor by not letting them know what we were really going through. I thought I was a better and braver minister for being willing to suffer alone.

But God told me that He wanted me to share. He wanted me to let them in to my personal pain and walk with me toward the future He had for me. He was teaching me so many things, and I had this burning desire to share them with our church. So, I stood in front of over 100 people and told them about our struggle, our heartache and our desire.

Ever since that day we've lived our life honestly and openly in front of our people. I know that many pastors and especially their wives might think we are crazy for doing that...but we have to lead the way God's told us to lead, and this seems to be the way He wants us to do it.

I'm grateful for the genuine love that grows out of honesty. I'm even more grateful for the multiplicity of prayers. I hope that our willingness to share will spur others toward doing the same--maybe not in front of 2000 people--but at least with a trusted few. God created us to be interdependent on one another. If we're going to be the hands and heart of Christ we have to be vulnerable with one another.

Life in the glorious fish bowl...it's not a life for everyone; but it's the only one for me.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

PR Plan

One of the unique elements of living in the fish bowl is the PR plan that has to accompany all that happens in our private lives. The day we discovered I had cancer Tom graciously didn't tell a soul for 24 hours. But then...we had to discuss the PR plan.

I didn't like that--having to deal with such upheavel on a deeply personal level (my colon for heaven's sake) and then to have to do it in front of 2000+ people, but it's just the nature of our lives. Tom held me when I cried a bit about it and said, "Leighann, this goes with what God has given us to do..."

And to tell you the truth it wasn't all that hard really. We were overwhelmed at the outpouring of love. I saved all the cards and took pictures of all the flowers that were sent. I still have people come up to me and ask me how I'm doing, and it makes me smile.

So, in a week or so we're going to open up and let the world in on our current situation. I can't imagine how I'll manage it but "this goes with what God has given us to do..."

We're not the first ones to walk this path, and unfortunately won't be the last. And just like the cancer, I want to do this right. A very wise pastor told us yesterday that when you are a pastor you aren't expected to manage your life in such a way that you don't encounter trouble, but instead, you are supposed to manage your trouble well.

We are going to try our best to manage our trouble well, to love God and to love people and to "Walk in the Light and Do Right." (something else our friend encouraged us to do)