Thursday, September 24, 2015

When You Don't Even Get a Participation Trophy

Life has been a roller coaster this past month or so. First came the stress and excitement of getting ready for our trip to Europe, then of course the trip itself. With our tour group, Jay and I hit 6 different countries and a dozen cities in 16 days. Along the way I picked up a nasty virus, and like any good wife, shared it with my darling love.

The week we returned home was filled with jet lag, laundry, visiting the doctor, and sleep. Lots and lots of sleep. Just when I thought the excitement would die down and life would return to normal, last week a couple of big decisions about life and ministry were made.

Each of these decisions deserves their own blog, my heart is heavy and I don’t feel like I can truly do justice to the exciting prospect. Last week, Jay and I found and committed to buying a 5 acre tract of land near my family. The property is beautiful and everything we’ve talked about wanting for a home for the past 7 years. 

There will be plenty of time for squeals of joy and me telling you all about it, and I’m thankful for the opportunity. I would hate to miss out on praising God for such an incredible blessing. I just about guarantee by the time the house building process is over, you’ll be sick of me talking about the land.

In an effort to delay exploring my feelings regarding the ministry decision, I went back to reread old blogs.  With the help of my Bible study leader, I began pursing my spiritual gifts and how I could be used in the church. (Read my earlier thoughts here and here.)

On the 20th of this month, I attended my first Sunday school teacher training class. The associate pastor of discipleship handed out packets of information with both notes on teaching as well as a couple of documents of commitment for us to sign. My heart sank as I read the documents.

snip from a blog of mine earlier in the year

Turns out, I’m not Baptist enough to teach in this church. I want to choose my words carefully, because despite feeling judged and unworthy, I don’t want to be judgmental myself. Rather I don’t want to continue to be judgmental. I’m just very hurt right now.

Throughout the whole process, I feared rejection and prayed that my heart could handle it. I thought I was praying to guard myself when class started and I had few (or no) people joining me. Instead, I feel rejected by the church leadership. Please don’t get me wrong, the pastor never treated me unkindly. He stood firm in the standards set forth, but wanted to make sure I understood why.

Mostly I mourn the ministry which never got to see life. I lost hope, dreams, anticipation, and a love for the women I expected to minister to in the name of Christ.

 another snip from a previous blog

I’m very thankful to have had the support of my Bible study class, my small group, and my close friends. I spoke with several different people in an effort to get perspective. . Instead of chastising me, these ladies built me up with scripture and encouragement, so that I had the courage to stand firm in my convictions.

I feel like I’m walking away empty handed – no finisher medal or participation trophy. Empty handed, but not empty. My head is held high and my heart is full of the love of Jesus. I don’t know how He is going to use me in the future. However, I trust that this was the path He wanted me to travel. Please pray with me that none of this heartache is wasted and everyone involved will use it for continued growth in the Word and prayer.


  1. Hooray for the trip and the land! Both are such a blessing!
    I'm sorry about whatever happened with your class. Hurts that happen in church seem to be more painful than those in the world. I don't know and don't need to know how you were hurt, but I'll pray for you.

  2. Congratulations on the first two things. Very awesome. Not awesome at all on the last thing. It makes me angry. I'm not sure how you can not be, but I give you great credit. In my eyes, to say you are not "Baptist" enough is discrimination of the worst kind. My thoughts and prayers are with you. Your church obviously has no idea what a sweet, loving and devout person you are. God knows and that's what counts most. xoxo

  3. I'm sorry for the hurt you're dealing with. I don't know what happened, but my first thought is that Jesus wasn't Baptist. Not trying to sound judgmental, either. I go to a Baptist church, work there, volunteer there, and my husband is an elder there, but we are not Baptists. Not sure if it's a doctrine thing or what, but I'm sorry. Praying that you'll know where God wants you to serve.