Shattered Living in Compromise

February 14, 2010 at 5:18 am (Introspection, Leadership, Musings) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

So many thoughts flood my fragile soul.  Just when I think I have what it takes to step forward and conquer the challenges that lie before us, a light breeze blows across the landscape and smacks me to the ground.  Like a grocery bag in the wind, it doesn’t take much to toss me about.  Forget the storms of life, I can’t even get out of the harbor.

Too many tell me to move one, let it go, lay it down.  All of which are great suggestions – and I’m trying.  But it feels as if my soul is empty of any source, sauce, or sanity.

Tonight, I was awoken by my son crying in the other room.  My short two-hour nap left me now wide awake.  In the dark, as I contemplated my options, I wondered what I could do to stifle the voices tonight?  Often I’ll find release in some mindless Internet-fueled entertainment.  Other times I’ll peruse the news, finding solace in the plight of others and the reminder that I am not alone, yet even quite blessed.  Often, sleep is elusive and only in the dawn do I begin to succumb to the fatigue of another sleepless night.

Formal, verbalized prayers are uncommon from my lips during times of trouble.  These past few months have been no different.  I rely on the promise that the Spirit interprets my groanings and cries.  Sometimes, during our walk down the beach-heads of life, we have to be carried into battle.  The alternative is to lie wounded in the surf and wait for the waves of the incoming tide to engulf our soon-to-be, lifeless bodies.  I don’t mind being carried.

Tonight, I lifted my family in prayer.  Tears fill my eyes as I realize I haven’t had the energy, means, or cognition to extend my thoughts outside of my own embryonic isolation.  As I prayed for my wife, my daughter, and my son – I felt the assurance and strength of my God.  I know He has been carrying them too.

In many ways, we will all carry scars from these events – and I don’t mind the wounds.  I’ve been wounded before.  Ultimately, these scars will blend with the others I carry; but my family?  This is a different story entirely.  The innocence lost – as I watch it ebb from their hearts, I begin to feel some of the pain Jesus must have felt as He stood on that lonely hill overlooking Jerusalem, surrounded by the crowd, He wept.  He wept for the souls lost and the pain of the process.

I would have stopped attending church awhile ago – had it not been for the needs of my family.  The Church is broken and has lost it’s focus, mission, and vision.  People perishing within the walls of a superficial community, but there seems to be no recognition of the blood pooling in the Foyer.  My faith in God has not wavered, but I continue to seek a community who are equally faithful and passionate.  A community that can lead and carry a broken family forward.

A couple of weeks ago, as I sat here writing, I received a text message on my phone: “I’m done with that church.  Let’s take the kids to SS and then go to the beach – or hiking or something?

I finished what I was working on, and retired to our bedroom.  After crawling into bed, I asked her if she meant that?  My heart barely containing my glee.  We talked at length, and that following weekend after the kids spent time in their classes, we drove to the beach and had a great afternoon!

It felt as if the pressure had been lifted from my shoulders – it’s the best gift I’ve received in ages.  And yet, I’m not sure this is a survivable plan for us.  When she speaks of church, which is never far from our conversational topics, I’ve noticed an increasing cynicism in my wife’s words and tone.  While this, in and of itself isn’t bad – it does pain me to see the innocence lost.  I’m one who has always thought that a healthy dose of cynicism will protect us from untoward abuse – but we were created to live innocent lives.

It is the love of God that sustains us.  I need Him to fill me to overflowing.  I need the overflow, not for myself – mind you, but for the care and thirsts of my family.  They need me to be back in the game.  Pray for us.

Lyrics to Washed By The Water (Needtobreathe):

Even when the rain falls
Even when the flood starts rising
Even when the storm comes
I am washed by the water

Daddy was a preacher
She was his wife
Just tryin to make the world a little better
You know, shine a light
People started talking
Trying to hear their own voice
Those people tried to accuse my father
Said he made the wrong choice
Though it might be painful
You know that time will always tell
Those people have long since gone
My father never failed

Even if the Earth crumbles under my feet
Even if the ones I love turn around and crucify me
I won’t never ever let you down
I won’t fall
I won’t fall
I won’t fall as long as you’re around me

[ Washed By The Water Lyrics on ]


  1. Kristin Edwards said,

    WOW, Thank you for your transparency and for sharing your beautiful soul! God is still using you in big ways! ; )

    • Mt. Tabor Vistas said,

      Thank you. I’ve been wanting to write this post for a few days. Trying to decide on the venue. Last night, after praying for my family, I rolled out of bed and cleaned the kitchen – then I settled down to write. Just then I received a message with songs from a band I’d never heard of (Needtobreathe). A friend was inspired to send the album to me.

      The music was great – a cross between The Fray, Jars of Clay, and U2 – with a southern-gospel feel. Several of the songs spoke directly to my heart and soul. (I could have posted the lyrics of several of the songs).

      I downloaded the music as I began to write, then listened through the album – occasionally checking the lyrics (something I do) – then loaded the music onto my phone and lay in bed – listening with headphones, holding my son, as I drifted off to sleep.

  2. gpooleii said,

    I know the glee. As 2009 closed, I felt like I was fake. I knew where my thoughts were taking me about our little fellowship and it’s affiliation with the old system. People would say something about that issue and I would grunt something or use words like “yeah, maybe someday, if God leads us that way.” – You know, those useless cliche’ we use when we don’t know what else to say.

    But at our leadership meeting in January, I came clean. We had a discussion on the subject and though we are letting it settle until our March meeting, I know we’re going to go the independent route. I told the leaders face to face that I was never going back.

    Relief. yeah, and maybe deep down inside, glee! But so much relief. And that should tell us something about what was happening to us in those places that we have so wanted to escape. Why have we waited so long to do so.

    I have felt much better in the last month. Yeah, still challenges and discouragement but that was a hurtle that’s behind me now and I can tell.

    Sounds like it’s similar for you guys. I hope so. The road leads ever upward until it joins some larger way.

    You’re on the way.

    • Mt. Tabor Vistas said,

      We are starting to get heat from those still wrapped in the mindset that the only way to be “saved” is within the confines of the Church. But here’s the rub – I think for most, to step outside of the box, it would be very dangerous.

      The walls of my house serve two purposes. One, they keep intruders (and bad weather) out. Two, they keep my children and pets in. Both offer safety and boundaries. The Church can offer the same paradoxical boundaries. For many, without the confines, they would wander into Babylon. For others, they would miss the opportunities of exploration into a deeper relationship with an infinite God.

      And really, isn’t it a bit arrogant to say that I have more information, higher ideals, and better insight than millions of other people who are still in the church, operate the church, and lead the church? It is very arrogant – and at the very least, not very humble.

      I think those who put pressure on us may be wrestling with their own fears – even if they don’t know it. Quite possibly, they are concerned that if they accept our “straying” they may also stray – and it is possible that they are the kind of people who need more tactile boundaries in their lives.

      As leaders, we are often influential in ways that we are not aware – and sometimes those we’ve led, struggle with wanting to still follow, but concerned that they don’t have what it takes to continue on the paths chosen. So, in other words, their opposition to our choices, are really just arguments with themselves.

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