28 Nov The Time I Dropped An F-Bomb In A Meeting -or- A Message For Single Parents
A few weeks ago I dropped an F-bomb in a meeting.
It had been a long week, emotional and exhausting. I was (and still am) in the midst of trying to find some semblance of rhythm in this new season and… it just sort of slipped out.
“I’m so f—ing tired,” I muttered with my face pressed into my open hands.
Luckily the only two left in the conference room were my executive pastor, who may have been distracted devising a plan to ban children from our worship services (just kidding – sort of), and our worship pastor, who became vegan a couple months back and likely blacked out during my profane moment due to a lack of protein.
Actually, both guys looked at me and said simply, “We get it, man.”
December 1st will be two months to the day since I stood before my church and shared that my marriage was ending. Although I am eternally grateful to my church leadership for – after seeking scripture, prayer, and the guidance of God’s spirit – choosing to retain me as their pastor, it has not been an easy two months for me personally.
I’m lonely at times.
Balance feels impossible.
I feel guilt for the emotional toll I’ve inflicted on my kids.
I could compile quite a list of things I’m feeling right now, but no one needs to see that. Truth is, it’s easy when overwhelmed with personal struggle to become inwardly focused.
“Why me, God?” we say while throwing our hands into the air.
I’d be lying if I said there haven’t been a few of those moments. That’s expected.
Here’s something I wasn’t anticipating…
God is opening my eyes to things that I couldn’t have seen without this hardship.
Isn’t it funny how God does that?
Don’t mishear me, I’m not saying God orchestrated my divorce to open my eyes. Rather, I do believe that He is choosing to use this struggle to show me things.
Let me expound…
Can I confess something to you, as a pastor of a large church?
Until becoming a single parent myself, I hadn’t considered how trying it is to be you.
Can I confess one more thing? (of course, Ryan, this is your blog, on with it already)
I don’t think I’m alone in overlooking broken families.
I think many churches overlook families not comprised of a traditional mom, dad, and ‘x’ amount of kids.
It’s not intentional. Most churches don’t shew away single moms and dads… they’re just not considering them. They’re not thinking of them. Because most churches are led by people who are not “them.”
Last month our leadership team came across an interesting statistic. Canton, Ohio (and it’s surrounding community) is significantly higher than the national average in single parent households. 15% higher to be exact. That’s a lot.
Now, if you know anything about the church I pastor, you know we strive to be a place for all people. That’s, like, our thing.
We strive to be a church for all people, regardless of one’s baggage, issues, or self-perceived disqualifiers.
With that said, I’ve come to believe – through this hardship of mine – that we can do a better job ministering to those who don’t have perfect family situations (whatever that looks like).
Of course I’m not going to stop speaking on marriage and it’s beauty and significance… but, single parents, I want you to know that I get it. I know what you’re going through. And I am not forgetting about you. I am you.
Would you please accept my apology for rolling my eyes when you arrived to service ten minutes late? I get it now.
And would you forgive me for not understanding the weight of your financial burdens? Or custody battles. Or broken-heartedness.
Please forgive me for not considering you.
I’m sorry if you feel the Church has forgotten about you.
We can do better. We will do better.
Husband to Jenn. Dad to Story, Journey, Asher. Lead pastor at First Christian Church, Canton.