Disloyalty: The Relationship Squasher

Disloyalty: The Relationship Squasher

I stood on the back porch of our small gray bungalow on the street corner of Alexander and Johnson Street, wondering if my twin friends thought I looked any different. Our family had just returned from a year-long sabbatical to Argentina and they were one of my first visitors since arriving home. After being apart for the entirety of our third grade year, they were now tan from swimming at the pool all summer and their blue eyes danced with excitement. We stood exchanging chit-chat while our moms stood nearby catching up. This was when email... text... even long-distance calls were difficult. We had relied on snail mail for our communication... and it would take months sometimes to arrive in Venado Tuerto from the States.

"There's two new girls that are gonna be in our class this year!" Sarah told me, her face lit up. New people were rare to our small town... so anyone new, was exciting and usually immediately popular. You must realize, I had grown up with 28 of basically the same kids in my class since I was in preschool.

"They're both from California..." Abbie whispered. And to those of us kids who were born and raised in Nebraska? California was an exotic place... full of Disneyland, Hollywood, surfing and beaches.

Those two California girls were seated at the same table with me that first week in 4th grade. Over the next couple of months, I found myself becoming friends with both of them: one with beach-blond locks and a carefree attitude and another with dark hair, dark eyes and a sweetness I had never seen.

 

But I remember the exact moment I chose to be disloyal to one of them. With all the change of moving back home, realizing that friend loyalties had changed in a year, and moving into the 4th grade (with all its new responsibilities), I made the choice to distance myself from the sweetest girl I've ever met. In a mad scramble to stay in the "Cool Girl Group", I gossiped about that sweet girl and ignored her for the rest of the year. Maybe the next 4 years.

How awful was my heart in those moments? I am acutely aware at how insecure, powerless, and out of control I was: that lanky, skinny girl with green eyes and hair she'd spent an entire year worrying over as she grew out her bangs.

And in my desperate attempt to fit in- I alienated myself from a sweet and lovely girl who continued to show me grace and love, even when I did not.

 

Had my adult-self been able to sit that terrified 4th grade girl down and have a conversation, I wonder how much different my life would have been. Because that dark haired, sweet girl? She became one of my best friends in high school, once I decided I no longer needed to fit in, but began opening my eyes to the people Jesus led me to.

 

The Choice

C'mon. You've been there.

In that moment, when you make the choice to abandon all loyalty to something or someone and pick something new. It could be as simple as a skincare line, brand of chips or deciding to attend a different church. But, you cannot deny at least at some point, you've been disloyal.. to someone... or something.

Now, it could be that at some point, these things are not worthy of our loyalty. I mean, a chip brand... really? Unless, your grandpa used to work for them, or it's your family's company, I get it. But, when we choose to be disloyal to things that truly matter, we can lose out on a crazy amount of good. And I'm not talking about chip brands here. I'm talking about deciding to walk away from a person. A family. A job. A church. A responsibility. A calling. You name it. When it comes to relationships of any kind, disloyalty does no service for you.

It may seem to temporarily fix the problem. You can go YEARS without noticing any hurt or angst for yourself personally. But, it will catch up. Just like it did my freshman summer, when I looked around, and realized that there was one person who had consistently been kind to me. A sweet, dark-haired girl who continued to reach out and ask me to hang out to watch a movie or go shopping. I had missed out on years of friendship with this girl. Thankfully, we have the type of friendship that I can call her at the drop of a hat, and we pick up right where we left off.

 

The Connection of Faith and Loyalty

"So, what's the problem with disloyalty, Meg?" you may be asking. I mean, we do live in a culture where we are constantly bombarded with the next best thing. I am guilty of not being loyal to skincare lines. I give them a month, tops. If I'm not seeing results or the cost is crazy high, I move on to something else.

When the thoughts began forming in my mind regarding disloyalty, I looked up synonyms on it. Because, surely, there's a cooler word than disloyalty that I can use to title this thing with- right?

The words that stared back at me hit me like a ton of bricks.

  • Infidelity
  • Fickleness
  • Betrayal
  • Unfaithfulness

Ouch. Disloyalty is similar or the same as these words? And when I went to scripture to see where disloyalty was mentioned... it wasn't much better.

Psalm 78:8

They would not be like their ancestors- a stubborn and rebellious generation, whose hearts were not loyal to God, whose spirits were not faithful to him.

If we look closer at this verse, there is so much wisdom to be found. Notice how loyalty and faithfulness are almost succinct with each other. And the behavior that accompanies that disloyalty and unfaithfulness? Stubbornness and rebelliousness. If we pretend to have faithfulness to our God, but then choose to be disloyal to relationships around us? What does that make us?

Hypocrites. Yikes!

 

Because when it comes to relationships, disloyalty does more harm than good. Disloyalty halts your ability to grow or mature. You will never have to look that person in the eye and own up to your portion of the problem. You won't have to ask for forgiveness or allow the offender try to apologize to you. When you choose disloyalty, you are choosing to alienate yourself from a possible relationship. And in a world where we are so disconnected, especially now, why would we choose that? Why choose loyalty when disloyalty is so much easier?

Why? Because loyalty means staying with it, no matter how hard... how dire it seems... no matter how frustrating. But what do you gain? Commitment. Deepened appreciation. Thankfulness. And trust begins to build. (More on that to come...)

John 15:13

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends.

Here's that thing about love and relationships again... and its pretty intense. Now, maybe your brain is going in circles with all I'm trying to connect for you. I mean, asking for you to lay down your life for your friends? Yep. Intense.

 

But here's the real predicament.

How can you learn forgiveness, if you choose to walk away from every relationship the minute that they show their imperfections? How can you learn to give grace to those we come in contact with, if we avoid every possible chance of conflict?

When it comes to disloyalty, we may be missing out on a grander plan. There may be things that we are not maturing in. Could it be that if we were to choose loyalty to those relationships... that job... that responsibility... that church... that family... that we may gain so much more?

We can never fully mature if we cannot truly love others, forgive and give grace to those we live life with on a daily basis.

So, how do we push past disloyalty and move into loyalty?

It's pretty simple actually. Just choose to be loyal. Stick with it. Push through. It comes down to endurance and patience. Now, that may sound simple... but it's far from easy. Choosing loyalty means you may have to get some abuse from those who don't understand loyalty. It means that instead of looking out for you, you're looking out for others. It means that you may have a tougher life while you navigate awkward conversations and begin to look conflict square in the eye.

But the reward of loyalty? It could mean you will find:

  • a friend for life
  • a safe place within your family to rest in
  • a relationship that stands the test of time and hardship
  • a job that you can grow and learn in
  • a church family that will stand beside you in love, no matter what
  • a calling that leads you to unimaginable joy

On top of that, you may find:

  • commitment in your marriage
  • true appreciation in your workplace
  • genuine thankfulness from your family and friends
  • others who trust you

I mean, if these things don't excite you... then don't choose loyalty. It's as simple as that.

 

 

What’s the Deal with Context?

I remember it vividly. A well-known and loved professor screaming at the top of his lungs, “CONTEXT IS KING!” At first, I had no idea what he was talking about. I felt out of the loop, like he had this private club that I didn't have the key to. But the more I learn...

Finding the Kingdom During Covid 19

Finding the Kingdom During Covid 19

March 2020

I sat with a towel twisting my wet hair up on our bed, back in our master, while our worship pastor, our children's director and my husband sat no more than 10 yards away and I listened to their honest, pure, worship. Tears began to fill behind my eyes and threatened to stream down my face. The words that rang throughout my house were, "You are making all things new..." And yet, as I sat in bed with a fever and a desperation to heal quicker, I knew and loved that my church was still being a church.

In the Confusion

This time with the craziness of Covid-19 has been a whirlwind or as some have referred to as being like the movie, Groundhog's Day... over and over. Social media has gone RIDICULOUS with people now having free time to spout off their thoughts and ideas about the situation (I've seen an immense amount of good come out of our situations) but this morning... I could just be... and listen... and softly sing to my King while no one watched. Honestly, I could barely get the words out. Here's the conclusion I've come to amidst all of this chaos and disorder:

  • I've found peace where once my heart was jumbled and stressed.
  • I've been able to breathe, really breathe in, and experience pure joy with my kids daily.
  • I've been able to dig into Scripture and geek out to the possibilities I find there.
  • I've been able to worship with no one watching.
  • I've been able to spend time reaching out to my church family more regularly to ask for or pray for them.
  • I've watched my kids settle in and just be... without the crazy amount of time constraints they used to have.
  • I've been able to see all of my church family's faces via Zoom and laugh with them.
  • I've watched our church family come together in a tighter knit community to support and love on each other even virtually.

Chaos and the Church

It's not the same... we can't meet together collectively. It's not normal... we aren't allowed to worship together in the same room anymore. It's not even similar... we are spending church virtually instead of spending next to flesh and blood. But here's the thing... we are meeting separately... but we are together in spirit.

We've got to let go our our stubbornness... our resentment for how things were handled... our need to want things our way... and move into a time of healing, rest, and thankfulness that we live in a time and age where we can still meet- even if virtually.

I think back to one of the first Sunday's after Jesus' death. We find the disciples and Jesus's followers spread out all over the city of Jerusalem... hiding. Some followers had even left the city and were headed home to Emmaus. But when Jesus finally appears to them in Luke 24, they think he's a ghost. They can't even believe he's back!

The Kingdom they thought was coming... didn't.

The life they thought Jesus had alluded to- was completely upside down.

I mean- the guy they'd been following around had been preaching of a new Kingdom... and then, whelp, he was killed. And now, they were huddled in a house, just waiting for something and thinking that there was no way this Kingdom was going to happen anymore.

"Then he said to them, “Don’t you remember the words that I spoke to you when I was still with you? I told you that everything written about me would be fulfilled, including all the prophecies from the law of Moses through the Psalms and the writings of the prophets—that they would all find their fulfillment.”  He supernaturally unlocked their understanding to receive the revelation of the Scriptures,  then said to them, “Everything that has happened fulfills what was prophesied of me. Christ, the Messiah, was destined to suffer and rise from the dead on the third day.  Now you must go into all the nations and preach repentance and forgiveness of sins so that they will turn to me. Start right here in Jerusalem.  For you are my witnesses and have seen for yourselves all that has transpired. And I will send the fulfillment of the Father’s promise to you. So stay here in the city until the mighty power of heaven falls upon you and wraps around you.”

Here's what's crazy about us humans: we think we're soooo smart. The disciples thought it was all over when their Savior was killed (and who's to say we wouldn't have thought the same?) They thought the Kingdom that Jesus preached, would never rise up. And yet, it did.

The Kingdom is happening around us. I'm seeing it in the faces of people who are selflessly dropping off food on our porch so that my husband doesn't have to scramble to make dinner for all of us after taking care of us all day. I hear it in the voices worshipping from my living room. I receive it from the texts and social media messages that encourage and build me up with promises of prayer and healing. I read about it through the words of my King in scripture. I feel the Kingdom when I pray while weeping when no one is watching. It is all around us. God is with us.. even when we feel like church isn't normal. The Kingdom is here... do you feel it?

The Crazy in Church Planting

10 Years Ago...

  • We felt God tugging on our hearts in regard to church planting
  • Attended a Weekend Church Planting Q&A through Ozark Christian College

8 Years Later...

  • We felt God leading us to plant a church in a city where my husband worked
  • Realized- we would eventually have to leave our recent “home” church in order to plant God’s leading only 25 minutes away
  • Had a family uproot themselves from out of state and move into the area to help us plant
  • Got pregnant (whoops… there goes smart planning…)
  • Dreamed about where to plant, prayed about where to plant, talked about where to plant…
  • Began meeting with our team (at the time it was a total of 7 adults…)
  • Had TONS of prayer teams all over the country begin to pray for our team
  • Joined Nexus Church PlantingMichael began to be coached by an experienced church planter
  • Had our 3rd baby boy (people were not joking when they warned us that going from 2 to 3 was “a whole ‘nother ball game!")
  • I began battling post-partum depression (1st time ever… our crazy life definitely wasn't to blame… ha!)
  • Attended a weeklong assessment process with Nexus (making sure we were actually adequately prepared to plant a church.)
  • Had our first Outreach Event… and the only people that attended were… OUR TEAM. (We were literally giving hotdogs away to people that walked by our Pavilion at the park… sad.)
  • Had another Outreach that was more promising… I think there were 13 people there that were not comprised of our team??
  • Lost part of a salary that we had “in place” for our first hire due to a change in support from a church
  • Was given a warehouse and space in a strip mall for next to nothing
  • Lost 3 of our team (I cried a lot during this time) but gained 4 more team members
  • Had our first church BBQ. It was a hit and I began to have hope (not like I’d ever questioned God or anything- that was sarcasm.)
  • Gained a worship band… and we were two weeks from our “Pre-Launch.”
  • Spent an insane amount of hours:
    • Cleaning the building
    • Re-drywalling an entire room (there was carpet on the walls.)
    • Peeling glue off the cement floors (several times)
    • Primed and painted every single wall in those areas
    • Cleaning more…
    • Painting more…
    • Scraping dog urine and feces off the warehouse floor with this crazy rented floor scraper (It had been a doggie hotel. Yes, I am serious.)
    • Climbed up into the dropped ceiling in the warehouse to discover… wait for it… PILES of dog hair from a dog hair vacuum vent. Took several trash bags to dispose of it.
    • Cleaned out the ductwork (think hair…)
    • Glued down carpet squares in two rooms
    • Scoured 4 bathrooms (one with a weird shower…)
    • Procured a stage and then had to fix it due to huge holes in it.
    • Stained the concrete floor upstairs
    • Had random worship practices while sitting on the concrete floor or upside down paint cans
    • Found huge cable spools for tables
    • Borrowed a sound system… and

Take a Breath... I think that's it.

My emotions during this time? Numb. There wasn’t time to pause and think about it. It was constantly… GO…GO…GO.  And then the doubt crept in. We lost our first hire within two months. We lost most of the worship band but gained a dedicated worship leader. We lost support from those close to us. Previous friendships faded and almost ceased to exist when our lives became fast-paced with the church plant. We saw people walk in the doors, tell us that they would be back- and then they wouldn’t. On our actual Launch day, a woman stood up and walked out during the sermon. (When there’s only 16 people in attendence… you kinda notice.) And all this time, I am weeping inside, mostly because of my pride and insecurity. I wanted to run. I wanted to leave. I had thoughts of loading up my car with my children and driving 7 hours to my parents just to escape the constant drama of church planting. We (as a church) were accused of: 
  • Being too young
  • Putting our young family in danger because of the workload of ministry
  • Being egotistical to think that we could (even with God’s Help- goodness!) plant and grow a church
  • Planting a church in a city of churches
  • Trying to be too forward thinking in regards to how church should run
  • Trying to run the church like a business
  • Not giving clear expectations to our first hire
  • Not fulfilling expectations of what a church plant would look like to our original team
  • Miscommunication… a lot.
  • Unorganization
  • "Playing" church instead of being the church
I still wrestle with the pain of all those accusations. I feel deeply about this church that God grew in our hearts to plant. And because I feel deeply, most all criticism hurts. That and the complete and utter physical exhaustion of planting a church can wear on a person. But God has assured me of one thing over and over. He is there. Forever. And he hears my cry for help. No matter how many times…

Psalm 18:6-19

When I was in trouble, I called out to the Lord.
 I cried to my God for help.
 From his temple he heard my voice.
 My cry for help reached his ears. The earth trembled and shook.
 The base of the mountains rocked back and forth.
 It trembled because the Lord was angry.
 Smoke came out of his nose.
 Flames of fire came out of his mouth.
 Burning coals blazed out of it. He opened the heavens and came down.
 Dark clouds were under his feet. 
He got on the cherubim and flew.
 The wings of the wind lifted him up.
 He covered himself with darkness.
 The dark rain clouds of the sky were like a tent around him.
 Clouds came out of the brightness that was all around him.
 They came with hailstones and flashes of lightning. The Lord thundered from heaven.
 The voice of the Most High God was heard.
 He shot his arrows and scattered our enemies.
 He sent great flashes of lightning and chased the enemies away.
 The bottom of the sea could be seen.
 The foundations of the earth were uncovered.   Lord, it happened when your anger blazed out.
 It came like a blast of breath from your nose. He reached down from heaven. He took hold of me.
 He lifted me out of deep waters.
 He saved me from my powerful enemies.
 He set me free from those who were too strong for me. They stood up to me when I was in trouble.
 But the Lord helped me.
 He brought me out into a wide and safe place.
 He saved me because he was pleased with me.

Update 2020:

There's a lot of things now, looking back, that my husband and I would change if we were to go back and have a do-over. We would have prayed more firmly about our original church plant team. We had two couples join us from the beginning, and church planters warned us that our original team would leave us eventually. We were naive and thought, "No way! These are some of my husband's best friends!" One couple left us before the first year was up. The other stayed with us through thick and thin... then left after 5 years. I am grateful for both of these couples... because without them we would have never been able to get off the ground. None of us knew the depth of what we were undertaking until WE WERE IN IT. What we didn't understand was that God would send us the couples and families that we would need to survive past Year Five. These families and couples have been a complete GOD-SEND. They have been flexible... full of grace... and there for us like a true family. These are the people who I call when we're experiencing an emergency, heartache or frustration. Since this post was written, the church God planted has moved twice. We've grown, then lost people, then grown some more. We've gone through great interns and several great children's directors. But through it all, we've stayed faithful to the church that called us to plant. And we're still plugging away......Sharing Truth (through discipleship and teaching)... Giving Grace (learning to accept God's grace and give it to others)... and Loving Others (with our words and actions.)
Called Out.

Called Out.

This oneness seems to be elusive to many churches today. And I wonder if it’s because we are looking for the wrong thing when we look for a church family.

Dutch: Protector of our Family

Dutch: Protector of our Family

“Mom.” My seven-year-old son’s voice broke through my pizza-eating revelry at our favorite pizza joint. Titus had whisked away my phone and was scrolling through photos of our local pound’s adoptable animal photos. He had been begging us for a pet for around a year now. My husband, Michael and I had tried every excuse in the book to avoid the commitment of getting a dog. “You’ve just had another baby brother… we should wait until he’s older.” “Our house is too small… we need to wait until we move into another home.” “We’re not sure you’re ready for the responsibility of a dog, Titus.” This time, there was a tone in his voice. Like he meant business. I looked up from my slice of pepperoni and across the table at him. He had a bright light in his eye and an excitement I had not seen on his face in a while. He handed my phone back to me with a photo of a very frustrated, older Huskie dog trying to jump the fence of the kennel at the pound, enlarged and prominent on the screen. There was sadness in this dog’s face that I instantly understood. A sadness that words cannot define.   I was struggling from post-partum depression after the birth of our third son… and that look in the dog’s eyes grabbed me. When I turned to my husband, he rolled his eyes, but made no dismissal. I immediately messaged the pound asking for details. Within days, we met Dutch for the first time. He was a nine-year-old Siberian Husky, with one brown eye and one blue and he shared my birthday. His fur was so soft; you could not help but stroke his back every time he passed you. One of his ears was bent, while the other stood proud. It only took a half hour for our two older boys to fall in love with him. I was hesitant… who was this dog? Why had he been relinquished? Could he be trusted with my children? Was he a “good dog?” Those questions and more were all answered by that evening. After laying our children down for the night, my husband and I prepared for bed. Dutch circled the rug next to my side of the bed and lay down. He seemed to wait for us patiently to finish our bedtime routines. As soon as we settled and turned the lights out, he got up and disappeared into the hallway. Worried to see where he was going, I reluctantly left my warm bed and went to look for him. I found Dutch, curled up next to our baby’s crib, sound asleep. It only took a couple of days for him to flow into our family’s lifestyle. He began barking to sound the alarm whenever someone approached our home. He LOVED walks… so much so, we could not even SPELL the word out loud anymore. He became my vigilant running partner and would run beside the jogging stroller where my youngest was along for the ride. He lay in the kitchen while I cooked, waiting for crumbs to drop to the floor during the process. He was an extrovert and made sure to meet all the dogs in the neighborhood.  Everyone remarked at what an amazing dog he was; he was well loved by our extended family and friends. Of course, he wasn’t a perfect dog as he was terrified of fireworks and thunder. He had an obsession with cupcakes and hotdogs (when I left out two dozen lemon cupcakes to cool; he ate 10—including the wrappers.) We could never leave the front door open, or he would dart out to explore the countryside for hours. He would distract the cats and eat their food; later, his loud toots would clear the living room. He learned to sit patiently next to our baby’s seat at dinner… and the baby learned he could feed the dog anything he didn’t want to eat. Occasionally, when it rained, his arthritis would kick in and he would be pretty grumpy and impatient with the boys’ antics, but he never snapped or showed his teeth. But no matter how imperfect he was- he was perfect for us… and me. On my dark days, when my husband was at work, he would lay next to the couch where I lay. He followed me around the house those days, making sure I was never alone. He would snooze when I would, and when I woke up, he would perk up his head at me and give me this look of understanding. When the baby would cry, he would gently nuzzle me with his cold nose to wake me up. He was my helper; and he slowly walked beside me until I was back to normal. He wasn’t just my companion. Our boys began to want him to sleep in their rooms and they talked about sled dog adventures all winter, waiting for it to snow. They dressed him up in costumes, and he sat, participating, as long as his beautiful fluffy tail wasn’t pulled or stepped on. He sat, stayed, shook and rolled over on cue from them. Our middle son, Elliott, taught Dutch to catch popcorn in his mouth while lying on his back. And finally, Dutch worked his way into my husband’s hesitant heart.   One night, only months after his adoption, I heard my husband wrestling him in the living room. When the play was over, I looked over. Both my husband and Dutch were grinning at each other. I watched as Michael stuck his face into the fur on Dutch’s neck and mumbled, “I love you, Dutch.” My heart caught in my throat. We had a wonderful year and a half with Dutch. I often think that God sent him to us when we needed him the most. Suddenly, without warning, he got sick one night while my in-laws were visiting. My father-in-law, Pat, took care of him during the night, not even waking my husband and I. We went to church the next morning and he seemed fine. By nightfall, I began to worry again and told my husband to call the vet. But it was too late. As I was getting ready for bed, my husband crashed into our bedroom, tears running down his face. “Dutch is gone….” was all I could understand. In our grief, my father-in-law decided that right then was the time to bury him. We followed him, numbly, picking a spot in the backyard to bury him (we had just had our utility lines marked in the yard for our new landscaping plans.) In the chaos and grief of the night, as Pat began digging Dutch’s grave, he hit the gas line that ran into our home. We had to wake our children, call Source Gas and fire department and wait on the cold pavement next door, while our children cried for Dutch. It was awful. Days later, after everything was fixed, the gas company sent out a man to double check and make sure we didn’t have any gas leaks leading into our home. After finding out we had just lost Dutch, he kindly said he would check our furnace and water heater as well, just to be nice. After tinkering around in our garage for several minutes, he called me into the garage. “Ma’am, I wanted to let you know, that your water heater has been leaking carbon monoxide into your home since it was installed improperly.” I was stunned. He turned to me. “Not to be blunt, ma’am,” he began again. “But I think your dog’s passing saved your family’s lives.” Suddenly, Dutch’s death made sense to me. He had always protected us from the time he was introduced into our family. It made complete sense that in his death, he would protect us as well. He was not just a good dog; he was our Dutch.
When The Unexpected Happens

When The Unexpected Happens

Our family had a great summer... lazy days... trips swimming, kayaking, biking, etc... and we highly anticipated a trip to Colorado for our family trip.  We had it all mapped out; spend a few days with my brother and his family (grab a soccer game), then a few days in the mountains exploring, mountain biking and renting a boat on a lake; finally topping off our trip by staying the night with our good friends in Denver (with plans to take in the town) before we headed back home. And suddenly, my husband (who is hardly ever sick) was down for the count.  And when I say down, I mean- lying on the mattress in my brother's basement for days, and sporadically running for the bathroom.  By the third day, he rolled over and whispered to me, "I think I need to go to the hospital."  That was scary for me, as he hates even going to the doctor for a sinus infection. Two days later, and a night in the hospital, we still didn't have answers.  (And even two months later, we still don't.) His body just crashed and couldn't recover.  He still is not even back to 80% of his normal energy level and strength.  And this all happened before we were given access to Thrive's new building.  Within two weeks of his hospitalization, we were on full-force at the overhaul of the new building.  And I watched, as he tried to help... but he couldn't.  He had to rely on the help of his congregation to do most of the heavy duty stuff.  It killed him. As he gained some strength and energy back, he began to rip some old musty carpet out of the foyer.  The next day, he collapsed at the building, all alone... and he called me in a panic.  My heart was in my throat.  He told me to call his doctor and set up another appointment.  I was seconds away from waking napping babies and speeding all the way to the building to check on him- but he assured me he was alright.  He had collapsed in the bathroom there and laid there quite some time.  Suddenly, the maintenance man dropped in unexpectedly to check on the air conditioner and found him.  He got Michael some water and helped him up to his feet.  Thank God for that man. Our church has had to pull together while Michael recuperates.  I was blown away by all of the generosity and love that the people of Thrive poured out on us.  It literally has brought me to tears several times.  Men and women (not to forget the teenagers!) stepped up where gaps appeared.  And our church family grew closer, tighter... together in the time of adversity.
John 13:34-35 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.  By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”