14 March 2013

Ask Lisa - you moved. Was it hard to leave your home?

Many of you know that last week we moved. Well, not actually moved...more like "moved out". We sold our home in Michigan, and we are living in Indiana in a rental.

The question has been asked, "was it hard to leave behind your home in Michigan?"

The answer? A definite "no".

The follow up question. "What? You lived there for 9 years. You raised your kids there!"

Answer? Still, "no".

Let me back up. 
My husband leads music in a church. For some of you, you might be saying "what the what?". What does THAT mean. It means, he is not a pastor. He doesn't teach. But he leads the band and leads the church in worship music. ** Side note? He rocks at it. **

Anyway, year 2004, we were living in Indiana when he was asked to move to Michigan to be a part of a new church start up. We knew the players. We had lived there before. Jonathan is from Grand Rapids, Michigan. Our family was there. It seemed like a win-win. 

So we moved. We, meaning, four kids 9 and under...the youngest just a toddling two year old.
August 2004 - the summer we moved
Talk about excited. We were eager with anticipation about the future that was before us! How God would use us. How our kids would thrive. How the church would grow.

If I could insert that sound a needle on a record makes when it slides off the vinyl...I would do it here.

What we were unprepared for was some of the most trying, difficult and painful years that were to come.

In a move of selfish gain, the leadership of that church fired my husband. Fired. Not because he wasn't doing his job. Not because people did not like him. It was truly a move of someone wanting to be number one, immaturity and fear.

In life you expect people to hurt you. You expect disappointment. You expect conflict. What blind sided us was when the church we came to start turned its back on us, and left us winded ... spinning ... and crushed.

It even felt as if the God we loved. The God we served. The God for whom we picked up everything we knew and moved, to follow His will for our lives. Had rejected us.

Then it began to break down.
In THAT home.

My husband crashed. I crashed. Our marriage crashed. The next years were a series of hurt, disappointment and failure. It was ugly. 

I'd like to say there is a happy ending to that church story. That we understand why things happened. That those who so intentionally hurt us have reached out and asked for forgiveness. But that is not the case. There has never been a single word from anyone.

I have been angry and bitter and called out for judgement....
but I've grown.

We chose to "just keep swimming".  We chose to learn. To trust. To forgive. To heal.

We chose to focus on our God who is bigger than we are. To allow him to move into our hearts, our marriage, our family. It wasn't, isn't, easy.

Funny. Our kids miss THAT home. They miss the memories. Isn't that ironic? Protected. Covered with grace. And for that we are so very thankful. They grew up in that home. Some learned to read. Some learned to ride bikes. Friendships grew. Trees grew. Bulbs were planted. There were Christmases and birthdays. Short hair. Long hair. Puppies and kittens.

It makes my heart ache. Because I feel like I missed so much of that. I was so lost. It was so dark for so long. But yet, I am glad they have those memories to hold on to and treasure. Forever.
December 2012 - in our rental home
But as for me. Was it hard to leave my home? No. Not at all. Chapter closed.

And truly...I do believe...the future is very, very bright.

Thank you for reading. For hearing my heart. As always...I am grateful for you.


** my small side note. This is not a negative, against church post. The church we were last involved with in Michigan was unbelievable. Truly a picture of what church should be...and we miss everyone there so much. THAT was hard to leave. And, the church we are a part of in Indiana is also proving to be a place I long to go and be a part of. We are so excited to be! **


  1. HUGE hugs, beautiful Lisa!

  2. So happy things are looking better and spring is here (actually and figuratively.) Stories like yours, and I hear them from time to time, are one reason I don’t participate in churches. I sometimes find that churches lack kindness, love, or compassion. Which is, to me, what’s valuable about a religious community. I believe in Love & Compassion. Every day, to every one. xo!

  3. Home isn't a house. Home, for me, is where my heart goes *sigh* in the bestest of best ways.

  4. You truly are an inspiration, did you know that? I'm so sorry that you had to go through the pain and heartache of that situation, and appalled that people who call themselves Christians would put you through it. But forget all of that.

    The reason your kids miss the old house, the reason they have such fond memories to hold on to is because you and your husband are amazing people. In a time when you could have taught them hatred, bitterness, pettiness and spite, the two of you gave them joy and laughter and things worth holding on to. Because you were able to do that, you created a home for them that will always be remembered fondly.

  5. Church hurts are some of the hardest to bear and the slowest to heal, I think. Praying this move is the fresh start your family - and your hearts - need!

  6. Church hurts are the worst because, in part, we know there is a better way. We know we are called to repent and be reconciled. We expect better of her because of who she is bound to. The Bridegroom's reputation precedes His bride and so we expect better. But she is broken and blemished, bruised by other lovers that she runs after. She will run over her own in the pursuit. We expect that she will do good in the world and to her own because we believe the gospel is her fuel that drives her to Jesus and out of herself towards others in mercy. That's why it hurts all the more when you see her pouring out her fuel to set a fire around you. But even this, He is using as a refiner's fire, driving you, pressing you in, to the one place that is more consuming than all other fires, His heart.

    So thankful for His healing in you. Praying that the church people experiences true repentance and can taste the joy of freedom in the gospel.

    1 But now thus says the LORD,
    he who created you, O Jacob,
    he who formed you, O Israel:
    “Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
    I have called you by name, you are mine.

    2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
    and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
    when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
    and the flame shall not consume you.
    3 For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior

  7. I think it's always hard when a person who is supposed to be Christian doesn't act very Christ like. I'm glad you are gaining a strong testimony from the move and are happy in your new house!

  8. Hugs hugs hugs to you! I can relate to a tiny bit of that. We are just trying to keep swimming too. Might have to chat in email again. All WILL get better though. Take care!

  9. Oh my sweet friend I do love you so. I pray for you a future of healing and mercy and grace and all the things God loves to shower upon us! Thank you for being so open here. You bless me! Lisa~

  10. After helping start a church in my small town over a year ago, I can understand some of your sadness and pain. All the planning, hoping and dreams for your church even before it opens. Plus how important the worship leader's role is. 2 Corinthians 4:6 “Let light shine out of darkness, made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ."
    I'm so happy you found a great new church.

  11. To go through something like this only serves to make you stronger. It should NEVER have happened, and you've all gone through so much unnecessary heartache, but you HAVE come out the other side and you ARE still all together. Love & hugs to you all at the beginning of your new life. Onward & upward!xox Bearsie

  12. Where in Indiana?

    As a PK, knowing the ins and outs of church life I FEEL with you. I've moved numerous times and been part of lots of churches :)

    A church family can be one of the greatest blessings or pains- as is true of any family and body of people.

    Many blessings in your move!

  13. Lisa,
    I landed here from a link in a tweet. I was so glad to see that you chose to lean in to God for healing and comfort. We've had several times we've stepped out in faith and felt like the bottom fell out from beneath us. Not because of hurt as you had, but by circumstances falling apart.
    Rather than making us afraid to trust God these times that we felt God had let us down served to make us fearless.
    We don't get peace that passes understanding by knowledge but by trusting even when we don't understand.
    May you be blessed in your new place.

  14. i love this lisa. so honest and so beautiful. xo

  15. Lisa, what a beautiful post. A thousand thank yous for writing and posting it. So poignant and powerful. Your greatest blessing amidst all the hurt and heartache is your staying TOGETHER, not giving up on each other, and continuing to serve the Lord in faithfulness and truth. So many in your shoes would have said, "You know what? It's not worth it. The church is not who "she" says she is. We quit. We won't be a part of such hypocrisy." That's what MOST do, you know. They run the opposite direction of church and "her" participants because they group all believers into one broken box, accusing everyone of hypocrisy instead of just the few.

    I'm so, so glad you and Jon have found healing and a place to begin anew. I have loved you both from the first time I met you. I don't understand what all took place, never have, never will. I don't even know for sure which church leader let you down - or if it was from the church before you came to the "one I attend" or actually my church of which you speak. (Not wanting to name names here.) I just know for a very long time I've wanted to tell you that I miss you and Jon and I regret most of all that I never got to know you to the extent that I wanted to, probably because I so rarely got to see you - and you guys lived so far away from church. That drive had to be the hardest thing for all of you!

    Anyway, I digress. This was supposed to be a short comment, and it's turned into an epistle!

    Thanks again for posting. So glad I ran across it.

    Love and lots of hugs.


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xo, lisa