I know it sounds funny to some. Did you mean me?

We met with our counselor today.

We started to tell him about some of the dreams we’ve been dreaming together…really for years, but are revisiting them some lately.

We stopped ourselves as if to say, “I know. We need to first be miserable for a while. We shouldn’t be talking about this.”

To which he says:

“Can you show me where it says that? Where the timeline is for purgatory? And how long are supposed to stay there?

If you find it, let me know and we’ll consider it. But for now, where in the world did you get that?”

Why do we feel that??

I’ve thought about it a lot today.

I think the tension is partly fed by being in ministry. I’m not going to take a stand on whether it is right or wrong. But I will say this….it effects healing.

Because when you mess up like this in ministry. Everything changes.

You lose your job, you lose your church, you lose so much. It’s public humiliation and shame. And you can’t help thinking “we deserve to be punished.”

I’ve know the verses…I understand the responsibility for a person in leadership.

Yet I also recognize how Satan uses it to bring complete destruction and defeat in individual’s lives.

Friday is Good Friday and Sunday is Easter. Judas and Peter come to mind. Christ-followers publicly denying Christ. Judas allows Satan to bring complete destruction and defeat; in remorse Judas destroys his own life. Death reigns.

On the other hand, Peter hides and weeps for days. But there on Easter morning, he’s among friends and he’s running to the tomb. Hope. Longing to hear the words from the one he denied, “Peter, do you love me? Then feed my sheep.” Life reigns.

It’s resurrection week. As everyday should be.
So we are fighting to listen to the right voice.
He’s the one on the cross. He’s the one no longer in the tomb.
He’s the one dealing death and sin its final blow.
He’s the one who in grace invites sinners, those who denied Him so publicly:
“Do you love me? Dream again. “

15 Responses to purgatory.

  1. robyn says:

    yeah, but we send our people in ministry to the front lines- we put forth our pastors to the deep front end of darkness, and then when darkness steals from them, we punish them as if we don’t know the “physics” of the situation.

    what we do to pastors is an odd, odd thing. leadership is not to be taken lightly, but even still, we hold high and fast our people who teach “where sin abounds, grace abounds,” but we don’t respond to their sin with that kind of abundant grace.

    at least, not often enough.

    it is my wish that you feel an abundance of grace this week, and that the rebuilding of shalom runs freely in your life, as you have so freely committed yourselves to it.

    grace and peace be with you.
    somebody get me an empty tomb.

  2. Tana Padilla says:

    This post is making me cry. Dang it, Jody, stop making me cry, would ya? =) This is so beautiful. I am crying tears of joy. For He is alive!
    The Gospel is not for the upright and righteous. It is for the broken and weak. It is for those who need it. Not those who think they can stand on their own. It is for:
    the poor in spirit
    those who mourn
    those who Hunger and Thirst for righteousness
    for THEY will be blessed and see His Kingdom!
    HE HAS RISEN! If He hadn’t we would have no reason to hope. To dream. To smile. To push forth. So keep smiling. Keep dreaming! Keep pushing forth!
    I’m smiling because He is alive. Because He is waiting with open arms and a smile as we wake up and get up after falling to the ground.
    Cheering for Andy and you today!

  3. Theresa says:

    Someday I hope you and Andy write a book about this. It is much needed in the church. And one of the early chapters should be titled “God sucks at spooning.”

  4. Ellis says:

    By Gary Nicholson

    Just another homesick child – tired of running wild
    Ready to stand trial and move on
    Though I’m guilty in your sight – have some mercy tonight
    I can’t make it through the fight alone

    Oh but lord, oh no, don’t make it easy – keep me working till I work it on out
    Just please shine enough light on me – til I’m free from this shadow of doubt
    Keep me out of the shadow of doubt…

    As I try to make some sense – of this world I’m up against
    Well I know my best defense is your love
    When the struggle gets insane – and the lesson’s full of pain
    Keep me calling out your name with Love

    Oh but lord, oh no, don’t make it easy – keep me workin’ till I work it on out
    Just please won’t you shine enough light on me
    Til I’m free from this shadow of doubt…

    Well I whisper in the dark – from the bottom of my heart
    And I’m searchin for one star to shine
    I will shout from mountain high – and I’ll reach into the sky
    Til you open up my eyes so blind

    Oh but lord no, Don’t make it easy – keep me workin’ til I work it on out
    Just please, please – shine enough light on me
    ‘Til I’m free from this shadow of doubt
    Keep me out of the shadow of doubt…..

  5. shannon says:

    I don’t know if I’ve ever left a comment on your blog … and last night I went back and got caught up on your reports. As I read this entry I’m reminded of sort of the overall “sense” I got from catching up all the entries last night… You seem to be thinking “somethings wrong” “We should be miserable” and you sound like perhaps you are being judged by those around you – who perhaps have a playbook somewhere about the rules of how this is supposed to go.

    You don’t have to be miserable. You’ve seen misery. You’ve touched it. I don’t know relationships from Adam… but- walking through misery with your best friend… can be fun. Misery will find you. It always does… don’t waste time looking for it.

  6. christy says:

    We all practice infidelity daily with God. We are all unfaithful to our promise to follow after Him. We sell ourselves out to whatever the world has to offer, the gossip and calloused words that slide so easily off our lips, the time that we spend doing anything but spending time with our first love. How can we say we are faithful, when we are anything but faithful to the simple promise to follow after him. We have shame on our own hands… all of us. The wonderful thing is that God has offered, as you said, to the one who sticks around for Christ to rise in us, the opportunity to be forgiven. That’s if we stick around for the resurrection part, instead of tossing in the towel or ignoring the fact that Christ has indeed risen. Thanks for sharing your gift with words with us. They are truth, and the truth will set us all free!!!!

  7. Nan in MO says:

    Do not be shoved into the world’s thinking of how you should feel right now – you know how you should feel – FREE!! Free because of Christ’s great gift, free because the Truth does set us free, and free because “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1 — So, Sister – you are free to live – to laugh, to smile, to dream those great dreams, and to accomplish as many of them as you set your mind to. You go, girl!!

  8. Michelle says:

    AMEN!! You go girl!!
    God’s grace is our special gift!! Jesus death on the cross for US gave all of us the opportunity to experience this wonderful gift. Not only the gift of His grace, but the gift of eternal life and a Love so Deep, High, Wide and Long we have a hard time wrapping our heads around it!!
    You and Andy keep dreaming, cause that’s what God wants you to do!

  9. Beth says:

    I totally agree with Robyn. Ministers spend a lot of their time preaching grace but when they fall, grace is not given to them. I understand they are a leader, but the fact is they are human no different than everyone else with sin in their life. Andy can turn this around and deliver a very powerful message of forgiveness and grace! I would listen to him any day! Miss him so much at Calvary!

  10. Teresa says:

    I just read this tonight on someone else’s blog but thought it was worded so well. (can’t take credit for any of it!)
    “Hope and despair are not opposites. They are cut from the very same cloth, made from the very same material, shaped from the very same circumstances. Most of all, every life finds itself forced to choose one from the other, one day at a time, one circumstance after another. The only difference between the two is that despair shapes an attitude of mind; hope creates a quality of soul. Despair colors the way we look at things, makes us suspicious of the future, makes us negative about the present. Hope, on the other hand, takes life on its own terms, knows that whatever happens God lives in it, and expects that, whatever its twists and turns, it will ultimately yield its good to those who live it well. When tragedy strikes, when trouble comes, when life disappoints us, we stand at the crossroads beween hope and despair, torn and hurting. Despair cements us in the present; hope sends us dancing around dark corners trusting in a tomorrow we cannot see. Despair says that there is no place to go but here. Hope says that God is waiting for us someplace else. Begin again.”

  11. Judy says:

    Jody & Andy sweet dreams, thanks for letting us be His hands & feet.
    We love you both & all your little ones.

  12. Kristal says:

    Ok I think you should heal how ever fits you both. People heal in many ways what would destroy some only makes other stronger, go by your rule book it’s your life the path you take affects you. I have to say just because someone is in leadership doesn’t make them immune and SHAME on anyone who puts them higher then human. How different people would be if everyone had to wear a stamp with there sin for all to see, how quick would the pointing and whispering be then. We all fall short why do people for get that?
    I continue to pray for all of you Standing in the gap…

  13. Dean & Tina says:

    Dearest Andy and Jody,
    You know I love you both so much. I couldn’t disagree more with your line about losing your church. We are so still here and embracing you both. You will never lose us. We are holding you both up in loving arms to our Father in heaven and praying unceasingly for you. Don’t cut us off like that. We have been a part of your life for 12 years. There is no place in heaven or earth where you can go to get away from us. So, sorry. Your church is still here.

  14. Kelly R. says:

    Jody and Andy, Keep dreaming those dreams! That’s part of your healing process. Don’t let the enemy [satan] make you feel guilty about doing any of the things that help you move forward in your relationship together. God has forgiven you; the hardest part is forgiving ourselves. Listen to the Voice of Truth, not the liar and father of lies. He has cast your sin as far as the east is from the west,[Ps.103:12] and He posted a NO FISHING! sign. So if you feel like dancing or singing or smiling or even laughing, GO FOR IT! Jesus took your misery to the cross, it was crucified with Him on that tree; He died on that Friday; satan thought that he won…HALLELUJAH!! Jesus reigns victorious!He shook the very gates of Hell, and He holds the keys of Death and Hell! HE IS RISEN! He has turned our mourning into dancing; so go ahead and smile go ahead and laugh. Move on together, learn to love and trust again. I’ll be praying for you two as you take this journey together. Sunday’s coming! Rejoice! HE HAS RISEN!! The day is coming when our enemy the devil is finally put in his place…”That will be our very best day!” [I always loved when you said that.] So keep dreaming those dreams. We’re on the winning team! I love you both and all your beautiful kids.

    The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed….Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. (Rom 8:19,23-24a NIV)

  15. freedom , FREEdom , FREEDOM!
    Andy and Jody,
    We agree totally with Dean & Tina. Please do not say you have lost your church. We love you and we miss you all at church. We cannot throw a stone for we have all sinned. John 8:2-11 (CEV)

    I found the following…not so much for you and Andy because you know this to be true…but for those people in the grocery aisles, quick marts, and baseball stands.

    ‘**There is salvation for all who will put their faith in Christ.

    I don’t care what happened last night, last month, last year, or whenever in your life. What I do care is that you will come to Jesus and receive the free gift of eternal life right now. Acknowledge to Him that you need His saving grace and forgiveness. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall saved.” “Whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world; but that the world should be saved through Him” (John 3:17). “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him” (John 3:36).

    **Resolve in your own heart that from this day on to live a life consecrated to Jesus Christ. “Go . . . sin no more.” You live the Christian life the same way you began, by grace through faith alone in Christ alone. You have the Holy Spirit within you to strengthen you and deliver you from temptation.

    **Correcting wrong starts with forgiveness, not rebuke. There is a keen reminder here that whenever we confront wrong we must be truly humble, not proud. We must take a long hard critical look at our own lives. Galatians 6:1 reminds us, “My friends, you are spiritual. So if someone is trapped in sin, you should gently lead that person back to the right path. But watch out, and don’t be tempted yourself.” Never were those words truer than in our day. Don’t let the temptation of religious pride ensnare you. If you are in a position where you deal with those who are trapped in sin ask God for wisdom, and do not try to bring healing by yourself. Have an accountability group. The privilege of condemning wrong is based on righteousness, not knowledge. Are you without sin? Any sin? Are you spiritual enough to restore the one caught in a trespass? If you’re not, then don’t. Let a more mature believer be the caregiver (Matthew 7:1-2).

    **Take a few moments right now and celebrate your FREEDOM in CHRIST. “Christ has set us free! This means we are really free. Now hold on to your freedom and don’t ever become slaves of the Law again. “(Galatians 5:1). ‘

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