Monday, August 5, 2013

The Jeremiah Burden, Part Two

   Some will call us naive.  Some will say we were too idealistic or that we should have kept quiet along the way.  But I believe that who we are is made from the little choices we make in such trying situations.  And even though hindsight is 20/20 and Daniel and I now have a better understanding of what we were fighting against, I cannot say I would change any of the ways we went about our fight.   So when my husband arrived home late that day from work looking haggard and told me his concerns, knowing what we do now, I would not change the direction we chose to go then.

The last few months in Colorado.
  "Marv came in to the office right at five.  He had a counseling appointment, he said.  This lady showed up, a single lady, and she met him right outside my office door with a big hug and a peck on the cheek.  They went into Marv's office and shut the door with the window shutters closed.  No one else.  I didn't know if I should hang around or not, so finally, I left." 

   Daniel sunk his head into his hands and groaned.

  "Ahhh, man.  I don't want to get into this.  But what is the man thinking?  This church just lost one pastor through infidelity.  Everyone knows you don't counsel women one on one with the door closed."

  "You've got to call Pastor Dean," I said.

  "I know, but I'm not looking forward to it.  Marv has already been pretty icy to me.  Every team meeting, he asks us what we think about breaking away from the Freeport campus.  I'm always pushing for getting God's heart on it.  Marv doesn't like that.  He's planning on pulling the Colorado campus out, whether God's into it or not, and he's not happy with me for being a voice of dissent.  Man, is he going to be pissed off if I call the Executive Pastor and tell him about this late counseling meeting with the excessively friendly lady."

  Pastor Dean sounded as ill about the information as Daniel when he heard the news.

"You realize I'll have to talk to Marv and I'll have to tell him who clued me in."

"Yeah," Daniel said, "I do."

First plane ride to Freeport, IL
Sure enough, Marv's coolness increased.  But he said nothing though little if anything changed with the one-on-one counseling meetings.  Marv seemed to be ignoring us; putting up with us since he knew we were leaving soon.

  We had started preparing for the move to Freeport before the year ended, and happily we discovered that our buying power in rural Illinois was going to be infinitely better.   We were getting excited about the move.  From what we could tell, the maturity and strength of the whole church seemed to stem from the Freeport base.  We  believed that God's favor was really on us in that He was moving us to Freeport so that we could help them build.  We really felt called there.  And we were.  Just not for the reasons we thought at the time. 
Our Freeport home

  We had found a lovely brick farmhouse just 4 miles from Daniel's new office.  It seemed ideal.  On the edge of the property was a huge old barn in excellent condition.  Although the barn was not for sale, we were given the okay to build a green screen set-up in the barn.  For media folks with big dreams, this was a perfect fit.

  We put in an offer and got an immediate acceptance.  This was what we were hoping for.  As far as we were concerned, the sooner we could get away from the mess that we feared was becoming the Colorado church site, the better.  Our biggest concern was the friends we were leaving behind there.  But we knew they would have the Lord no matter what transpired, and so we tried to leave our worries in His hands as we prepared to move our family to Illinois.

  When we had first flown out to Illinois for our initial house-hunting trip, in my excitement I had tried to discover more about the area we were adopting as our home.  I have learned that God has placed secrets in the history and heritage of towns and cities that often share hints about His divine plans.

So, eagerly, I discovered that Freeport's name was derived from one man's excessive generosity.  A man named Tutty Baker gave so many people free passes across the Pecatonica River, he was credited with having a "Free Port".  God had been teaching Daniel and I more about generosity since reading Robert Morris' The Blessed Life, so my soul thrilled with excitement about this chunk of Freeport's history.

  In fact, we were pleased and excited overall about our coming move to our very first home.  The only niggling problem left for us to deal with was the issue of Ned. 

  Ned was another Freeport man,  and the only Network Staff member from whom we had received no welcome when we arrived over a year before.  He was the network technology guy and seemed to see my husband as a threat to what he considered his own territory.  Now, growing up in the Silicon Valley, Daniel had worked very well with some of the best and most gifted of techies, so he was willing to try to work with Ned.  But Ned didn't want to try to get along.  Brash, rude and pompously arrogant, he had challenged Daniel's role from the start.  And though the role Daniel was hired for was
supposed to oversee Ned, the man simply refused to acknowledge it.

  Pastor Dean had eventually allowed Ned his independence.  Ned was based in Freeport, and Dean reasoned that it didn't make sense for Daniel to oversee him while living in Colorado.  So rather than insist that Ned tow the line, Pastor Dean decided to step in as Ned's overseer.  At the time, we had shaken our heads over the decision.  It seemed to us to be an unwise move as it only increased Ned's arrogance, but finally Daniel shrugged it off saying, "Ah well, Ned was no fun fellow to oversee anyway.  It just takes a burden off my back, that's all."

  But now that our move to Freeport was certain, the issue was sure to come up again.  Daniel spoke about it to Pastor Dean in a phone call before we left Colorado.

  "I'd like to suggest that you either put Ned over me or me over Ned, Dean.  Otherwise, in all honesty, I think we're going to end up on your desk a lot more than you have time for.  Ned won't take orders from me.  He questions or is antagonistic about every new idea I propose.  And on top of that, he still hasn't turned over the other campuses' media questions to me, as you asked him to do. "

  In spite of Daniel's suggestion, no decision had been made when we left Colorado.  Nor had Ned turned over the responsibilities he had been told to give over.  But although we saw Ned as a problem, he seemed a minor one.  Surely, once we were part of official Freeport staff, these differences he seemed to have with us could be ironed out.  I mean, there were more important things to deal with than the petty territorialism of one small-minded tech guy in rural Illinois...right?

Link to The Jeremiah Burden, Part Three:

(To be continued...This story is true.  The names have been changed, except for my huband's and my own.  I write for healing and for others who have been through similar situations.  God Bless!)



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