What do you do when all you want to do is run? Amy and I have been working through this transition in our lives and even in the midst of it all, we are still learning what it means to follow God. I experienced a lot of trauma while in ministry. Some day I will share more but it has been extensive and that trauma has slowly taken control of my life. To the point that when God was moving me into a deeper form of ministry, I took it as an opportunity to run.

I like to analyse things so this is how we can break it down. These are the things that are true. I was called by God to get my masters in therapy so I can break into that field and help provide holistic (and wholistic) therapy for people. I was blessed to be accepted into the program at Calvin Seminary. I was also meant to find this job in ABA so I can learn more about ASD and help families. All of this was from God and meant to add a deeper purpose to the ministry we have in Alma. So that leaves one thing that was not from God but was my focus; leave Alma and move to Grand Rapids. Now (because I am a good Wesleyan) I know that had I chosen to do this even though it would have cost an arm and a leg, God would have worked with me through my mistakes and missteps but God was not calling me to leave, my trauma was.

Trauma is a tricky beast that manipulates everything around it and rots all that it touches. I am learning that more and more. It has taken a toll on my physical, mental, emotional, and relational health. Trauma must be dealt with or life will always be a struggle. The conviction that I have from God is that I am not meant to run away to deal with the trauma but rather to find healing where I am at. That is easier said than done. Now it does not mean I must stay with the church I am serving at. I do believe that God has called me to these people but I also need a time of rest and healing. A momentary time of respite is not the same as running away. One of my dear friends put it this way; "You are at the end of a chapter and starting a new one and the rare moments in a book where white space is okay is in between chapters. You need white space." He also wisely said that we should never be running away from something but rather running towards something.

In the pain of my trauma, I had failed to remember the depth of my calling. As a pastor, I am not just called to a church, I am called to a place, a people, a community. If we only see our calling to a local church, we will only seek the welfare of the church, often to the neglect of the greater community. Yet, when you have a deep theology of place, every person you are surrounded by becomes part of your calling. I have been called to this area and there are fields ripe for ministry.

Rural America is often a forgotten area. Often poor, under funded, and under educated. Just like urban ghettos, rural America has generational poverty, addiction, and trauma. There is a great need for healing and kingdom life here and that is where my future work will come to fruition. As a therapist, I can help address the mental health needs and that will have a profound impact on the generational issues that keep people enslaved.

Before that can be done though, I must find my white space. I need healing from the trauma. As my therapist made a comment, I have complex PTSD which takes a lot of work to heal from because as you heal from one trauma, the next one will come up, and you just keep tackling them until they are all dealt with. I will keep you up to date about it.