Moving on (by Linda)

March 10, 2007 at 8:21 am 17 comments

Over the last month, number of people have encouraged me to move on – good advice.  I believe moving on involves a look back, a look back that allows me to learn from the past in order to move into the future.  Here’s what I see as I look back: On the night of October 30, 2005, as I grieved over the knowledge of what Greg had confessed to me on the 28th, and as I prayed for wisdom for how I was to respond to that confession, the Spirit brought this verse to my mind:  Create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me.  (Psalm 51:10)  At that moment, I knew I had to forgive Greg.  Forgive Greg for my own sake, I wanted/needed my relationship with my Father to be whole; for his sake, he was broken and wounded and needed healing, and for our sake – we loved each other, having weathered the storm of losing a son, I wasn’t going to give up 33+ years of marriage. 

During the first weeks of November, God brought several counselors into our life; one mentioned the story of the prodigal son.   

 Most of us know the story from Luke 15 and the three characters involved.  A son takes his part of the inheritance from his father and leaves home; after squandering all of his money in wild living, he finally comes to his senses and returns home to beg his father’s forgiveness, planning to ask to be a hired as a servant – he believes he’s lost the right to be called a son.   The father, having kept watch for his son, sees him coming down the lane and runs to meet him.  The son confesses and asks for forgiveness.  The father calls the servants and tells them to prepare a party, and party they do.  The older brother comes home from working the farm to find a party going on.  He is angry with his father for restoring his brother to the family as a son, reminding his father of the sins his brother had committed.  The father says, “We had to celebrate this happy day.  For your brother was dead and has come back to life!  He was lost, but now he is found!”  (Luke 15:32)  That story became, and continues to be, a picture of our lives. The son came home after he came face to face with his rebellion and separation from his father. 

Looking back:  Greg was that son; he had come face to face with his sin and had confessed his sin to his Father.  I was that son; I realized how independent of God and prideful I was and am.  I came to this realization within the first days: knowing that “everyone” knows your business because others are publishing letters and having meetings about you and what you have done, causes you to face the issue of pride rather quickly.  I had to let my pride go, it wasn’t and isn’t easy.  I am a private person; knowing that as I functioned in this small town, others would see me and think they “knew” what was going on in my life, scared me to death.    

Moving on:  I have come to be the daughter who runs to her Father and crawls into His lap to say I’m sorry, to weep, to laugh, to talk, to say thank you and to just bask in His love.  Does it take me longer some times than others to “see” my sin and confess?  Yes, but knowing how prone to pride I am, and how deceived I was about that sin in my life, I’m much more willing/able to listen to the prompting of the Spirit in that regard as well as others.  God used this experience, as wounding as it was, to create a clean heart in me. Without hesitation, the father forgave his son, restored him to his place in the family, and called for a party. 

Looking back:  I forgave Greg on the morning of October 31st, and we began restoring our family that day.  We celebrated and continue to celebrate the rich blessings of God’s grace, mercy and our restoration.  There were those who thought I forgave too quickly, that I didn’t know what I was doing, that I didn’t really know what Greg was like.  I knew, I knew it all – he told me.  But that wasn’t the point; the point was:  What was I going to do with his confession and request for forgiveness?  Was I going to wait to forgive until he “got it”?  Was I going to wait to forgive until I “felt” like forgiving?  If God was going to renew a right spirit in me, I had to obey His call to forgive as He forgives. 

Moving on:  I want to be about the business of forgiving, quickly.  I want to see the person, not the sin.  I want to grieve for the loss of a family member, and I want to call for a celebrate when they return.  Do I always forgive quickly?  No.  Do I always see the person?  No.  But…I’m better, much better at it, than I was before.  The brother, angry about his father’s forgiving and restoring his wayward brother, refused to join in the celebration, even criticizing his father’s actions. 

Looking back:  to be honest, I didn’t’ find myself in this character, at least in this situation.  We were the ones forgiven and others seemed to be angry, wanting Greg to “get it” before reconciliation or restoration could begin.  Have I ever had my nose out of joint over the

decisions my Father has made related to my brothers and sisters?  Sure! 

 Moving on:  Do I want to be like the older brother?  No.  The brother broke relationship with his father over this.  I don’t want to make choices that break my relationship with my Father.  Just as we, as parents, treat each of our children uniquely, our heavenly Father treats each of us uniquely – that’s His right.  Who am I to question? 

 Early this morning (3 a.m.) the Spirit made me aware of a fourth character in the story of the prodigal (lost) son…the servants.  The father said to the servants, get a robe, a ring, sandals, kill the calf; we are going to celebrate.  “So the party began.”  (Luke 15:22-25)   It is understood from the text that the servants obeyed the father’s instructions.  They planned, prepared and participated in the party that celebrated the son’s restoration. 

Looking back:  at the end of October, when I made my decision to forgive and restore, I believed I would have the loving support of the decision-makers of my church.  Having been loved and taken care of through the deeply-wounding loss of the death of our son, I had no reason to believe it would be any other way.  God had used worship and contact with those I knew and cared about to bring some healing during that time; I expected and hoped for the same.  As the days of November passed into the months of December and January, I realized I was not to have that care and support from those who I looked to as the “servants” in our story.  For whatever reason, the decision-makers were unable, or didn’t know how, to care for us as wounded people or to make reconciliation or restoration come about (how to make the party happen).  I know in my heart that those men wanted the best for all involved. yet the pain of their indecision/in-action shouted against it.  For the longest time, I couldn’t figure out how they couldn’t get it – the Bible tells us to forgive and restore – I was doing that, why couldn’t they?   But God lead me to know that decision-makers are just men, men who make mistakes, who don’t always get it right.  They are, in fact, just like me.  I don’t always get it right, and I do make mistakes.  Men in leadership, individually or in a group, are just as capable of being deceived and sinning as non-leaders – look at Greg, he was a leader of the leaders.  We are all sinners, redeemed by Jesus’ death on the cross when we accept God’s free gift.    Our gracious Father provided other “servants” who came into our lives during this difficult time to bring healing and celebrate with us – “old” and new friends from FBC, people from other churches here in town, new friends from Australia, Idaho, California, and Oklahoma.  Friends who said…it doesn’t matter what you did, God loves you and so do we.  You ARE worth restoring. Moving on:  I want to be a “servant” (a party planner) who helps bring about healing and restoration, healing and restoration to the wounded within and those outside the “church.”  Life is about relationship, relationship with God, our Father, and with each other.  Jesus said the world will know we are his disciples when we love each other.  (John 13: 35)  The world will know when they see us loving each other.  I want the world to know I am his disciple.   I am thankful that God has and continues to answer my prayer:  my heart is clean and my spirit renewed. Thank you for “looking back” and “moving on” with me.

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Entry filed under: By Linda.

Why do you think they call them elders? Competent but ineffective?

17 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Lorissa Kingsbury  |  June 19, 2009 at 11:43 pm

    Linda,

    That was so good. Actually the best thing I’ve read in a while. I love you and learn from you every time you open your mouth or use your pen. So for that I say thank you.

    Your realness and willingness to share your life the good and the bad creates an atmospthere for everyone around you to get well. To repent and seek our “Father” and know that we can crawl in His lap to be held and restored.

    God is using you and Greg in such an amazing way. We are so thankful for yall. Love ya, Lorissa

  • 2. Charlie Kingsbury  |  June 19, 2009 at 10:38 am

    Greg and Linda,

    Does church as we know it need a few adjustments or a revolution? I say a revolution! We run around speaking of our perfect doctrines and how we have a tight “church family”. What we(I’m part of the church) really mean is you will be part of the “church family” as long as you meet our expectations. We have are little lists of sin and as long as you do not break the big 3: sex, drugs and rock and roll, you can be in our club. All in the name of holiness. Today’s church, in regard to holiness, drives the sinner away. Jesus’ holiness drew the sinner. Instead of our list, we might rethink sin. Whatever you do that does not proceed from faith is sin. Wow, I have a ways to go. GRACE, GRACE, and GRACE. Hey Greg and Linda thanks for being here for me. With your parenting I am being conformed from a happy plastic man into a kingdom rescuer.

  • 3. Jennifer Kilts  |  July 13, 2007 at 9:28 pm

    Linda your strength is amazing. You’re little but God sure did put a whole lot of fire inside you… 🙂 Passion that is contagious! You are inspiring me so much! I really am glad you are willing to write this journey out. I am sure it is hard and cleansing all at the same time. I just feel a bit protective of you two right now, even though I haven’t seen either of you for years it feels like yesterday. Prayers will have to do for now…

    thanks for being real. It makes me want to go down that hard road too. love you

  • 4. sumijoti  |  May 31, 2007 at 8:17 pm

    Wow, Linda. I know this is an old post and I’m jumping in late…but I just wanted to say how precious your words are. God bless you and Greg as you continue this journey with Him.

  • 5. nucone  |  March 21, 2007 at 6:52 pm

    I have read this,Linda, several times now. I have cried through all of them, including the comments.
    I miss you and Greg tremendoulsy. As one who has had to forgive, I forgive Greg. As one who has also sinned repeatedly, I applaud your forgiveness.
    My pain still gets in the way of life sometimes. I am willing to accept that. But my Redeemer lives, he has comforted me in so many ways. I know by reading your words, you have experienced the same.
    We are fallen, he is risen, we will rise again. I hold on to that continuosly, that becomes my mantra.
    I still grieve for our church’s loss, I am sure it was all part of the perfect plan. But like my own family struggles, I am bewildered sometimes.
    I am struggling with the letter the church wrote about Brad. For a church that is so focused on the truth, it was a perfect example of doublespeak, reeked of political spin.

    We love you, miss you. Please continue your contact via the blog, I am feeling blessed to have been referred to this site.

  • 6. renversgirl  |  March 15, 2007 at 8:40 pm

    Linda,

    Thank you. It isn’t enough to just say those 2 words, but they are all i have. i look forward to the day i finally meet you.

  • 7. Unknown  |  March 13, 2007 at 12:10 am

    Okay after crying well reading this, I grow such a greater respect for you as a women of God. Your heart to follow God’s will and doing what is right to you and taking your time moving on.

  • 8. Linda  |  March 11, 2007 at 5:20 pm

    Another look back –

    Greg’s questioning of tradition(s) and traditional thought and his teaching on the Word, both as my husband and my pastor, have been tools the Spirit has used to help bring me to the spiritual place I am today.

    God knew I needed an on-the-edge questioner and thinker to help me be all He intended.

    Thank you, God! And…thank you, Gregory. I believe you to be a man who truly seeks to be a man after God’s own heart.

    Linda

  • 9. Brandon  |  March 10, 2007 at 7:57 pm

    I love your style. I love your grace. I love that you always say and do what you think is right, it’s not a choice for you that’s just the way it is. I was sometimes scared for you and your heart through this becaouse of there being such a vacume in the place were your spiritual family should have come around you and held you abave the tide. But your relentless drive to follow the Father and walk in his foot steps has taken you to such an amazing place. Thank you for sharing you have lifted my spirits.

    “Higher up and Deeper in”

  • 10. Doug Wright  |  March 10, 2007 at 1:00 pm

    There have been many wells filled in or taken over. It will be nice to dig a new well that refreshes and gives life into thirsty souls. Let me know if you need help digging it then lets have a party!

  • 11. Glenn K  |  March 10, 2007 at 11:49 am

    Thanks Linda. There but for the grace of God go I! We all must move on and things will turn out right!

  • 12. TraciA  |  March 10, 2007 at 10:10 am

    Mom- Thank you so much for sharing this with me. I am looking at the prodigal son in a different way now and seeing more how it applies to me thank you. Thank your for trusting the Lord through this process and keeping our family together by making your marriage a priority above all else. You are a wonderful woman and I am so thankful to have you as my mom.

    It is unfortunate that the “storm weathering” was made so much worse by other people’s in ability to forgive. My dad made a bad choice but the bad choice stopped when he confessed and gave his life back into the father’s hand. Much of the storm Brad had to “weather” was the result of people unable to let him be seperate from is dad’s “sin” and to forgive his dad and provide a way for restoration. Sorry to be argumentative here but I am offended by the “storm weathering” statement. Don’t we get it! My dad’s choice sucked! but other people’s choices have been just as damaging and long lasting.

  • 13. KC  |  March 10, 2007 at 9:59 am

    Thank you for sharing your heart, insight and personal path of restoration with us. This post gives me so much spiritual encouragement and comfort.

  • 14. Diana Burke  |  March 10, 2007 at 9:33 am

    Thank you Linda. Amen.

  • 15. Ron Marrs  |  March 10, 2007 at 9:31 am

    Linda,

    You have written an absolutely wonderful piece. I applaud you for living in light of the truth. I know it hasn’t be easy. I hope you find yourself encouaged in thid day. I pray for you and Brad often.

    Ron

  • 16. Warren Scandrett  |  March 10, 2007 at 8:51 am

    If I hurry, I can be “the first”.

    Linda, I like the way you use the Scriptures.

    ww

  • 17. Beth W  |  March 10, 2007 at 8:44 am

    We make choices every day- some good, some not so good.
    I applaud Brad’s choice to move on with his life after weathering a long storm created by Greg’s choice.

    Set me free from my prison, that I may praise your name. Then the righteous will gather about me because of your goodness to me. Psalm 142:7

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