My parents are heroes in my life. I lost both of them at younger ages but I am grateful for the time I had with them and the impact they’ve had both on my life and the lives of others.
Over the years, I’ve met so many people who knew my parents and were affected by them in some way. Strangers come up and tell me stories of my parents loving service, strength to hold fast, and their effort to do everything with excellence and 100 percent heart.
I have even had people come to me and tell me how they disagreed with my folks in some way and how even then they felt like my folks were their friends.
My parents were willing to make hard, unpopular decisions. Not because they wanted to but because it was best and right in the sight of God’s goodness. Their heart was to put up the good fight for those who couldn’t help themselves like those in poverty or foster care, refugees, or hurting friends who needed an advocate.
My parents didn’t just take on a cause to take on the cause. They truly stood with resolve behind what they believed in.
When they were alive, I never understood how powerful the commitment to stand for what you believe in would have a lasting impact.
I just remember them talking late into the night about the struggle of feeling like an island with no emotion left to offer because of untrue rumors, getting excluded in community circles, and even having hurtful things being said to their face because others didn’t agree with what they were doing.
Understand my folks were not perfect or rebels. Far from it. They just stood firm with hard decisions because of Christ because it was right and what is the point of something that is good if you don’t fight for it.
Remembering these characteristics of my parents is extra precious because there have been many times I have felt like I’ve been in some similar situations.
I’ve had to make some hard decisions regarding leadership positions I’ve been entrusted to. Like my folks I tried to make nothing in haste, sought a lot of counsel, and prayed through it extensively. I feel good about my decisions.
Yet every decision still involves trust and usually affects other lives.
I have tried to my best ability to be loving without vacillating on the choices that seem to be the best.
The hardest part is probably hearing information that is going around that isn’t accurate and knowing that people are responding negatively without having all the pieces to the puzzle in any of those situations.
It’s hard to resist the temptations of trying to control the info or attacking with self-righteousness to bring justice where I think it’s needed. Those never produce good fruit.
I am blessed with friends, colleagues, coministers who stand with me and are for me. Still sometimes you can feel pretty alone. It’s part of leadership and being committed to what you believe.
Maybe that’s one the reasons why the Bible talks about trusting in the Lord with all of your heart and leaning not on your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6).
It’s interesting that God talks about the heart in this verse when it’s the mind and all the “possible scenarios” of what people are saying or doing that fuels fear and hurt.
Is it because whatever a person speaks usually reflects what’s in their heart?
Is it because the heart is often the metaphor of where Christ lives?
Is it because the heart is how we describe our passions, our loves, and dreams, and God wants us to give all of that to Him daily?
Maybe yes to all three.
To be very open with you: those times are really hard and that’s ok.
When I’m in it, I don’t know who will like me and who won’t in the end. I might learn that I need to do things differently. I’m totally fine with that as long as integrity is kept.
I always want to see God’s Kingdom come and all involved see how much God adores them and loves them in this.
I also do not want to live in my wounds or fear and lean on my own understanding. I’ve always hoped that one day my children will hear from others about how their dad helped them or made a difference so they can be encouraged to fight the good fight.
Here is my take away…
I can’t lead and make choices and measure them solely on peoples agreeing with it.
I can’t make every one happy. Sounds cliché but it’s a reality.
I must, as best I can, try to stay keep a clear conscience before the Lord.
I must remember I may never get to see the fruit of my labor and that’s ok…
Because the second part of Proverbs 3:5-6 says “acknowledge the Lord in all of your ways and He will make your path straight”
I really want the straight path. I believe that’s what my parents were trying to show me.
God is good all the time.