As with anything it's in the perception. As I was writing I thought to myself, unless it's a death, you don't really "loose" people, they are just in different places - and the relationship just changes or alters... but we still have to psychologically adapt. This is where I've been, trying to adapt to such changes and it has been one devil of a road. I thought I could handle it better, "thought" being the operative word here -- than what I actually did. Sometimes people have such an impact upon us - that we do not actually realize the depth until they are no longer in our lives. That has been the case with me. It is so painful now that I actually don't want to write about it. I know that I must, so I forge on.
My beloved Pastor of about four years left our church in April of this year. I thought I was going to be okay. However in the last few months, I've found out that I have not been able to handle this - and I've really digressed. The thing that has taken me so was how this has hit me. The denial that I had about it all and how the grief has surfaced, has really taken me by surprise. As much as I know about grief from the loss of my beloved father -- and a close friend, we (I have learned) never really know all that there is to know about how grief affects us. The long and short of it is that I've been devastated. What I don't know is - was it because of the was I handled it, or was it just how it presented itself in my life? Well, I know that part of it I have to own, for my dysfunction is part in parcel.
There's only been a couple of people in my life that have majorly impacted me. Ah, there's been a few that have given me great gifts, but when someone gives you something so precious that you have an internalization of truth, it's impossible to explain -- as it should be. I've written blog after blog of what this man has given me in grace. Knowledge, beauty, and truth that was there all the time, I just couldn't see it without his eyes. I also know now too - as I've struggled my entire life to believe that God really does love me, (as a lot of us do) what an inordinate gift from God this was. The teaching that I received, the fellowship, the friendship, and the honor of this mans presence was a gift straight from God. A gift so precious how could I not grieve? It was likened to a velvet box straight from heaven above with a vision of Jesus like I'd never seen Jesus. Something that I'd yearned for my entire life.
I was in a horrible situation when I found Midland Church. I was the caregiver for my Mother who has dementia, under the Hitler like rule of my OCD brother who is a rage-a-holic. I had been evicted from my own father's house by my brother because I wouldn't pay bills and be a 24-7 caregiver. He and my other brother stripped the house of food, and anything that they thought I might need or could use prior to putting me out. These are nasty dysfunctional people, who have had hatred towards me my entire life. I moved in one day. I'd been going to a Baptist church nearby - and praying reverently. God delivered me. He completely answered my prayers - and led me to Midland and Pastor Paul White's grace church. I'd been under such condemnation, shame, and I was physically ill from the abuse. God gave me a miracle. Grace is a miracle.
I used to leave Midland church after my pastor preached elevated off the ground. Many times I've floated out of that church... so taken by the vision of Jesus that I would never be the same. I learned to rest, and be a peace no matter what may come in my life - because my Jesus SITS at the right hand of God. Pastor taught me, and I searched for myself -- what the scriptures reveal. I was a shame based person, but no more. This was my gift from God. However the message of grace is so needed in the world, Pastor evangelized more and more. I knew that he would leave eventually and that day finally came. He taught me that everything has a season. Yet and still, letting go is so hard. Who would want to let go of something so glorious? No one. I'd gotten quite close with Pastor, and would go and see him from time to time - his anointing so great I wanted to be near him. I'd share my truths about life, and he'd listen. I felt like one of his flock. It was a really beautiful time in my life, and it felt safe. I haven't felt safe much in my life. Especially not after my dad died. I suppose this is why I clung to Pastor so.
I am not happy with myself but I also know that grief will sometimes bring out the worst in us. I've made some mistakes - as I've been trying to find Jesus by myself. I may never find him like that again, and I have to accept this. I still cry, hard. It's okay. It was a precious time in my life. I learned so much. I wish I knew all of the answers but if I did I wouldn't need God. (Lend not on your own understanding) I haven't told pastor how hard this has been for me, nor the mistakes that I've made. However I know that he'd tell me that God wasn't mad at me and that Jesus still loved me no matter what. I don't know why it is that when I'm hurting I run the opposite way from God, and some how think that He can't possibly understand - my goodness what Jesus went through for us. I guess we dehumanize Jesus and God all the time. Maybe it's natural - but I don't like it. I get angry with myself for vacillating between my flesh and my spirt man. Yet I know that even the apostle Paul said that the things that he did not want to do he did... and the things that he wanted to do, he did not. I'm human.
Grieving is difficult no matter what the loss. I watch people go through it all the time. I've been through it and some of my crappiest behavior comes out. I don't like this. God knows it. I'm just so thankful, grateful that His mercy is new every morn. I'm so grateful that I didn't fall back into my old behaviors any further than I did. It was bad enough. I'm back where I need to be, or getting there - and healing. I have to remember that I was trying to help someone when I got lost. I just wasn't strong enough at the time to help. Boy, I really dislike being vulnerable at times. It can be the root of all evil. People sense that I think, and I know that satan does - and that is all the credit that you'll ever hear me give him. Christ defeated him!!!
These last few days have been a blessing. Yeah, I hurt. It hurts a lot. I miss my pastor so badly. He may never know what he and his message meant to me after a life of shame, guilt, and remorse. He is just a man, a very special man indeed - sent to me as a direct gift from Jesus Himself. It's going to take me a while to get over this. However, God did not take away the gift. This is what I have to know. Things change - and I meant what I said when he went away -- others need what he gave me. I'm not selfish, and I want the grace message to be spread throughout the world. I'd never begrudge someone of what I've received. People out there are praying that same prayer that I did - and need him too.
I will forever be a student of life and the Lord. I'm hard headed. I'm lazy too - to an extent. Pastor had fed me Jesus like no other in my entire life. The four years I went to Midland church were unlike anything I've ever experienced, and will probably again (not to limit God). However, I must now seek to find. If I am to have the kind of relationship that I truly want with Jesus then I have to pay homage to it. It's just like any other relationship, it takes dedication. Not works, but I can't just sit around and wish for it, like God is some kind of Genie. No it takes devotion for me. It's more than just prayer time, which is important no less, but there's more to it that this.
It's really simple, what you put in is what you get out. If I want to know Him more then I must seek Him out. It's not rocket science and it's not magic. I know that grace is what holds me together. It is a free gift and it will always be there. I am the daughter of the Most High, and I am made righteous in Jesus Christ. This is my identity, this is what Pastor Paul taught me. The grief caught me off guard, but I know now what I need to do. I totally believe that everything is our teacher, especially the most painful stuff. Pastor's teaching continues, and I watch - no it's not the same as when I could get a hug and hear him tell me that he loves me - but I know this in my heart. I just have to trust that things are the way that they are because this is what the Lord wants. I'll see him again. It's just that for now he's about my Father's business. Actually I wouldn't have it any other way. I've made some mistakes, but never to fret, they're covered by grace. I just forgot who I was for a little while because of the grief. Praise be to my Jesus, because of what He did at the cross - my spirit is flawless!