I resigned from Gateway this morning.
It's later now. I wanted that out there asap because it was going to be out there in different places and I preferred to control that information. Might as well go to the horses mouth.
And this afternoon I had day 2, part 2 of the funeral, then a council meeting, then driving Micah to youth.... you get it.
So I'm in my beloved office, easily the nicest office of any Canadian Covenant Pastor I believe.
Yes, I resigned this morning. One of the toughest things I've ever done.
Things were shifting it felt like, since this past winter, and I couldn't determine what it was exactly. It felt like the church was at a great place, a kind of wide open space and I wasn't getting any sense of new direction for us.
And we struggled through Lauralea's health scare, then a daughter got married and two sons were graduating and my course was drawing to a close. I felt like it was a good opportunity to spend some discernment time about what I wanted to do for the next part of my working life. I quietly listed some of the dreams we've held on to for a while, and wondered if now was the time for some of those things to come alive.
It was a tough spring, feeling like we were waiting for the other shoe to drop, and something to fall into place and give us clarity, but nothing gave us clarity or peace.
Calls came from other churches, asking of we were open, and each one was processed & prayed through by us and some of the church leadership here, and nothing stuck, nothing seemed right or gave us that peace.
And then late one night an email came from a friend who asked if I would be willing to consider a church that needed some of the things I had to offer.
I knew this church and have known it for some time, and I need to say that I have thanked God many times that he had never called me to pastor it. For my own biased reasons, I never wanted to pastor that church, or truth be told, live in that province.
And just so you know how arrogant I can be, I have told God in the past, never that church. Please.
The reasons are my own, but I remember crawling into bed and telling Lauralea of the email and who had sent it. Once she heard who was asking she said "That's probably it then eh?" I said something smart like not if I can help it.
So we processed this call like any other, and I fought for a long while to get my heart to the place where it didn't matter if we went there or not. Obviously I had things to deal with about my perception of the place. Or at least, about my arrogance in telling God what I would or wouldn't do.
Fighting with God gets old, and I tried to get my head to the place where I could actually believe that God didn't care where I was working. But like Lauralea asked one night, "How do you feel about living in the belly of a fish for a few days?"
Really this process has been about coming to terms with my wants and wishes being contrary to Gods. And how to live in that space.
Fortunately or not, this church wouldn't get out of my system, I couldn't shake it. I had less peace when I considered dropping it, than when I considered walking it through. And the people who were discerning with us were agreeing. So we met with the church and they with us, and we were impressed with who they are. Good, prairie people, with a few systems issues and a long past history to live out.
It is a rural church, located in a field, in Alberta, at the crossroads of two grid roads. There is a manse beside the church, and a cemetery beside the manse.
It's a rural church, did I mention that? I've pastored in Southern Ontario with tons of people, then in Winnipeg with lots of people, then in Prince Albert with a few thousand people. But who am I when I pastor a church in a field?
Like I told a friend, my world seems to be continually getting smaller, or perhaps more focused.
So there is much to be nervous about, yet there is a great deal of peace that goes with this decision. I am good, really, about going there and I'm starting to look forward to it. I'm not so good yet about saying goodbye to this place. Gateway. Prince Albert. Saskatchewan.
And in all honesty I'm trying to process how it was that I felt like I wanted to go in one direction, and the direction God had for me, for now, is an opposite one.
Then the fortune cookie I got last March makes bizarre sense. It sits in a frame on my desk now because it has sat on my desk all spring and summer, taunting me with the words:
"You will find your solution where you least expect it."