|Hidden Treasures by Depplain-Graphix: http://depplain-graphix.deviantart.com/|
We pulled into the church office, just north of Freeport in mid-December. The snow had held off, thank God. First priority was to get the media equipment we had brought with us from the Colorado campus unloaded at the Freeport campus. I took our two small children in from the cold, and sat in the office while Daniel and a few men from the church helped him unload.
I am to blame for expecting a welcome of some kind, I suppose. I had thought that since there had been so many departures from Crossway Community Church that the fact that someone was arriving would be seen as a celebration, just for the sake of something different. Already, the church had seen the Vancouver church site break away, and they knew that Colorado was planning to. In a few days, the announcement would come that Pastor Dean, Daniel's direct boss and the current Executive Pastor, would be leaving as well. Perhaps a Media Director and his family didn't rate quite as highly as an Executive Pastor, but I figured the very fact that we were excited about coming should at least be encouraging to those who were still here.
But God hadn't forgotten us, and just before I led our two kiddos into the office, I saw a young couple entering before me. I get to share with you their
|Abe and Stephanie Markley|
That first day in Crossway's office, where Stephanie graciously volunteered her time each week, we struck up a conversation. Abe happened to be hanging out there too, and all of a sudden these people whom we had never met, were offering to bring us dinner that very night. When they pulled up some hours later, generously offering food and friendship, we had no idea how much we would need them over the long winter ahead. It was a divine appointment and you will learn more about them later.
Now there are always two sides to every story. As I share about what happened at Freeport, I'd be remiss not to mention that the Freeport church apparently began badly through "no fault of their own". They tell a tale of a year of discontent and change, how stretched they were on every side, how pummeled by the circumstances that had rocked them since Pastor Ken's sin the summer before. They had no recourse. There was no intentional cruelty in their treatment of us. They're terribly sorry it worked out the way it did. It was never something they wanted, either. In fact, they still intend to connect with us and make sure we're all right, they've just been so busy...
|Our living/dining room in our new home|
I've already hinted at the trouble that was building before we got there with Ned. Once Daniel was settled in his office, there were no changes in Ned's attitude. And since no email was sent out to either the Network or the Freeport campus announcing the arrival of the Media Director, business went on as usual, and all media requests or concerns were still sent to Ned.
|Our lovely kitchen|
Daniel's title of "Media Director" seemed to mean nothing here. He was no longer included in any creative meetings. His job responsibilities were being demeaned while increasing. Although his video team had been diminished, he was expected to complete more work than he had been doing in Colorado. Ned was constantly usurping the major stuff and handing off to Daniel the "garbage" work, like event coverage or printing dvd labels. The event coverage itself had gone from one Sunday service each week to five weekly events, plus staying up until 2am every Saturday evening to process
|Our pretty bedroom|
Daniel was given the mundane tasks and removed from the decision making process on the larger decisions that affected everything. His work was ballooning, while being completely inefficient because of unwise decisions being made. And in spite of the fact that Daniel had four bosses, not one of them sat down with him to establish new goals or expectations. Rather, video and media requests were thrown at him from every Joe Blow who decided to pop their head into his office or send him an email.
Ned was remote accessing Daniel's computers and continuing the media role despite the fact that he
|"Weeping" by impatienss: http://impatienss.deviantart.com/|
As I watched my husband endure these indignities, I had to deal with anger, frustration, and bewilderment. Every morning, Daniel would get up in the morning and pray. God had led him at the beginning of the year to memorize the first chapter of James. He would work on his memorization and then take these men to God in prayer. I would hear my husband weeping and praying in the basement on the days where it was too cold to walk outside. Daily, he would forgive every person involved what was going on and then get dressed to go in and face another day of the same.
As day followed day, week followed week, and nothing changed, I was beginning to feel desperate. I would wake at 3am and cry out to God, asking for His help, forgiving the same men for myself, and then simultaneously boiling over with anger at what was going on. This was not good. I knew that the next time I encountered Pastor Gavin in a church hallway and he offhandedly asked, "How's it going?", I was going to let him know exactly how it was going. With both barrels.
I knew I had to talk to someone. But we had been kept in such isolation, there didn't seem to be anyone I could call on for help. Who would listen? No one knew us or our walk with Christ. Wouldn't we just be seen as obnoxiously squeaky wheels that couldn't hack a challenge? Then Daniel reminded me of Tom Shueman. We had met the elder of Crossway when we first came out and interviewed. We had felt an instant liking for him. And his wife had extended an invitation to me to visit the local Mom's group. I had liked her. With Daniel's agreement, it was decided: I would call Joan Shueman and ask for help.
Link to The Jeremiah Burden, Part Four: http://glimmercat.blogspot.com/2013/08/the-jeremiah-burden-part-four.html
To be continued...unless mentioned, all names have been changed except my husband's and my own. I write for healing and for others wounded on similar journeys.