A Year Later…And the journey God has taken us on!

Well I have to be honest this is a hard post to write. As a matter of fact, I didn’t even want to think about it. I spent most of this week trying to actively not thinking about it. But, after talking to my wife last night and us praying and thanking God for the past year of our lives and the blessing we have received in the midst of the hardest time we have gone through up to this point, I decide it was time to write about the events of this week one year ago.

Today  is the one year anniversary of me getting fired from “TCC” in Ringgold Ga. Not only I but all the staff (accept the new pastor in the course of his first 8 months).

The story in a nutshell – I got fired a year ago today. My son Kaden was born just hours later, early in the morning of the 15th. Last year on this day  I got a call ealry in the morning from good old “father time” took me to lunch and it was at that lunch meeting he handed me this…”18 signs you have lost your mind” hand written on it, you can see it at www.perrynoble.com it actually called “18 signs a staff member has lost his mind” Anyhow, after I was handed that it was back to the church, I was met with the news from the man himself. I asked if I could please have 2 months to work this out. One, I needed the money. Two, that would give me 2 months to start finding another church and Three, so the student didn’t think I was just leaving them. But they could hear my heart…I was told I could have 2 months to make the process smoother (Also; So I didn’t have to go tell my wife who was about to give birth that I had just been fired), Kaden was born just hours later and after 5 nights in the hospital because of complications all was well.

Until I received a phone call from the “pastor” the day after we got out of the hospital telling me that I could not have 2 months but that the upcoming Sunday would be my last day at the church (Kadens first day at church) and I needed to write out a resignation letter that I could read to the youth group… WHAT! I had been fired, I was not resigning! But I was promised that if I wrote a resignation letter I could have 4 months severance pay and a year of insurance. Well, I had no job lined up so I did it. Only under one term that I could read it to the whole church not just the youth group. To that I was told No. And I was also told to never come back. To this day I’ve not received one check of severance pay and insurance was cut off just days after Kaden was born. (still paying on ALL the medical bills from his birth)

WOW. My world went crazy…. It’s kinda like life got put into this huge blender, turned on high but the top was not put on…LIFE WAS GOING EVERYWHERE.. I had a new-born baby at home and Huge rent payment and a wife that was on maternity leave. What was I going to do?!?!

We spent 7 months struggling, but looking back a year later my goodness did God provided all the way through. That’s the important part of the story – God provided. That’s the awesome part! I don’t even know if I can recount all that God provided

I found enough part-time work mowing grass and traveling with the group Three Bridges singing on the weekends and preaching here and there to help ends meet. I also want to give a big thank you right here to Billy at Burning Bush for allowing me to speak the week after so the student that were apart of our student ministry could hear my heart and know that I loved them and I was not leaving them by choice and that I would always be their youth pastor, not just for the 3 years we had together…(Go read the post two down from this).

That doesn’t mean that everything was hunky-dory. It was a difficult time. There was uncertainty, anger, confusion, sadness, and all sorts of other emotions. There were many times that we thought we’d found the direction God wanted us to go in, only to have the door slammed in our face. Then, when we reached the very end of our financial/mental tether, we found a church that wanted to hire us. After being a candidate at 7 churches God opened a door here in Salt Lake City, Utah for us at the Canyons Church www.Canyonschurch.com WE LOVE IT HERE! The student God has blessed us with are amazing… We are super excited to watch them grow and discover who they are in Christ as well as His plan for their lives!  We found a house 10 minutes from the church in a nice neighborhood that is just the right size for our family. God’s provisions go on and on and on.

It was a tough year, but one that I believe we grew significantly in.From this ordeal, I believe we learned several things.

  • I LOVE MY WIFE and FAMILY!

Kym is the most amazing person I have ever met in my life. I love her so much. The events of this past year made us closer than ever. I’ll never forget that night we got home from the hospital and I told her the news that I had lost my job at the church. She just hugged me and we both just stood there at the foot of our bed crying like babies. As we cried we prayed that God would provide for us, and that we would be great parents for this new baby boy. After I was done praying she said,

“Honey?”,
“Ya, I answered.
“Why do people have to be so mean?”
“I don’t know.”
“well, I still love you. And, don’t forget you’re the best Dad in the world And God is going to provide for our family”.

I can not put into word on this blog to tell you how much my wife means to me. But I do know this; I can’t do anything without her! Ha ha, I just fall apart when she’s gone. And God has blessed us with a very healthy talking/walking/EATING EVERYTHING little one year old and another baby boy on the way!

  • God is in control

It’s hard to believe sometime when you’re in the midst of the storm, but God is still there and He still is in control. Because as a man my instinct was to be the one in charge providing. Thankfully I let God handle things because who knows where I would be if I tried to do things my way.

  • Recognize your emotions

Being fired is an emotional ordeal! I had good days and I had terrible days. Recognize and honor your God-given emotions. It’s ok to grieve, to be angry, to be sad and even to be depressed. It stinks! Don’t repress them or try to be all macho. Don’t buy into the Christianese junk that says you have to be happy all the time. Jesus wept, so can you.

  • Don’t let your emotions control you

This one was hard, even for someone who is not an overly emotional person such as myself. There were days when despair would threaten to overwhelm me.  Other days anger would be the dominate emotion. It took a lot of help to not be overwhelmed and to be the one in control of my emotions rather than the other way around.

  • People are good – and not so good

This is probably a good life lesson in general but it really came through in this past year. We had so many great friends who supported us, encouraged us, and helped us. It was awesome to see. I got to talk and connect or reconnect with many friends who encouraged me. On the flip side, I saw how horrible people could be. We had people from the church we were let go from who were our dear friends who wanted nothing to do with us after we were let go. We had others who said that it was just fine to kick a family out with no job  and that everything would be just fine. Others said that there were plenty of jobs out there (in the worst economy in 50 years, sure). I’ve had to learn to ignore the bad people and cherish the good people (obviously still working on the first part!)

  • This too shall pass

At times, it seems like nothing can go right and the world is crumbling around you. In times like those it’s good to remember that there will be a way out. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but someday. The ironic thing is that the more we think things will never get better the less likely they will. Times get tough sometimes, but they won’t stay that way.

  • God is fair – life is not

This one was hard to learn as well. Life is not fair. That’s pretty true. But don’t confuse your momentary life circumstances with God. God loves us and He takes care of us. That doesn’t mean He rids life of all unfairness. Would I rather have had things go smoothly and perfectly? Sure I would. But God has taken care of me through the whole ordeal, even when I was ticked off at Him. This is probably a whole book of theological thought, so I’ll just leave it as that.

  • Growth does come through adversity

We preach and teach this, but when it comes to us we say, “Why me God?” Yet it’s true, we grow more when we struggle than when things are fine and dandy. I don’t think God caused this so I can grow (again, a theological discussion for another day) but I went through the experience so I might as well emerge from the other side a better person, Christian, husband, father, minister, etc.

Being fired was the worst thing that has happened to me and my family in a long time. Not just losing my job, but losing my friends, the suffering my family and I went through, and the uncertainty of the future. But a year later I can look back and praise God that He was faithful to us the whole time and He never turned His back on us. If you are going through this, I hope this encouraged you a little bit. If you need someone to talk to you can always contact me. If you’ve been through this before I’d love to hear your responses as well.

Wait on the Lord be of good courage, and He will give you strength. Wait, I say on the Lord       

 Psalm 24:17

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5 comments

  1. Staclynn · January 13, 2011

    Hey man I enjoy your blog. Thanks for the encouragement on this particular one, sometimes I feel like not working in ministry full time is a waste of my time but I realize God is in control and I have to work where I’m at.

  2. Eddie Bolin · January 13, 2011

    Hey JC,
    Wish I could have kept you from that train wreck. However, I know that we have both had a chance to grow and learn from our experiences. I’ve learned that your stature in life or the title on your door does not confirm whom God called you to be, He does that. I also learned that sometimes even the eldest are Babes in Christ. Most important like you i’ve learned that God is with me no matter who is against me. I just have to be faithful. I’m so glad we became friends and brothers during our time there. I sent an email the other day to a “pastor” not only asking for forgiveness for anything i might have done, said or thought; I also told him I have forgiven him. I pray that we all understand that going to a brother you have a problem with is about you forgiving them, not them forgiving you. Once you let it go you and I no longer have to dwell on it. I pray that the apology was accepted not for my sake but for his. I love ya man, may God bless your minsitry. It looks like you have overcome, how awesome is that, use it to teach others. your brother…

  3. Shaunae Cushing · January 13, 2011

    Bless you JC for sharing! I love you and Kym even more. You are true treasures from God that have been sent to all of us here!

  4. jcgroves15 · January 13, 2011

    Staclynn. Keep your head up bro! You are doing a great job and God has big plans for ya dude.. How’s the singing?

    Eddie. Dude, we went through it huh! I love ya bro. you are a good man with God’s touch on your life. Keep leading people to Jesus!

    Shaunae. Thanks.. We are stoked to be here!

  5. Jason McNair · January 14, 2011

    I know that was a hard post to write. I, for one, am very pleased with the end result; you and your family giving your life to students at a great church in Utah. Trust that you are right where God wants you to be, even if the circumstances that placed you here were less than ideal. Great leaders (both Biblically and historically) often attribute moments of crisis as compass points that guided them right to the center of God’s will. This is one of those times. I count it a privilege to have this opportunity to work with you so closely here in Utah. Keep changing lives, one student at a time.

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