Kind Pastor Roland

Dear Pastor Roland,
When Ted and I were raw from leaving the Seventh-day Adventist church  – when we were trying to figure out what to do with church as we didn’t want to become skeptical about Christians in general, when we were calling churches all over the community trying to think through what to do (irritating many pastors with our theological questions) trying to find a group of believers pastored by someone who understood concepts of the new covenant, with all our questions…
You were the exception
You were respectful
You took the time to listen before you talked
Not listening politely, but listening with your person
You knew your Bible
You understood the issues
You were caring
 
After a lot of thought and prayer, we came to your church. That was 15 years ago. Thank you for helping us stabilize during a really hard time in our lives.  Sitting in church week after week, just raw from the jolt of such a change, your faithfulness at keeping the main things the big deal healed our hearts.  And your jokes, those dry jokes, they helped us heal, too:)
 
Now you’ve slipped away to Jesus after a long hard fight with cancer. I can only imagine how painful this is for Dottie. For Julie.  For the entire family.
 
Dottie helped us stabilize too, as she was always the Sunshine in the church lobby that made us feel at home. Julie and Matt helped… just chasing kids, Boeing talk and connecting.  Changing churches is no big deal unless you belong to more than a church – say like growing up Mormon, Jehovah’s Witness, or Adventist. Then your church is your entire life. And so leaving Adventism was traumatic for us, losing people that were uncles and aunties to our kids, leaving a system we could travel anywhere in the world and belong.  Leaving what we knew and loved.  Thank you, Roland and Dottie, for making a church home for so many, and for us.
 
We would have never had the courage to follow what we believed and leave a church we didn’t agree with if it hadn’t been for the driving desire that our children be able as adults to worship God authentically, rather than live inside a belief system they could not support Biblically.  As it turns out, our children who made the church change with us – at that time, our 10-year-old son Marty and 8-year-old daughter Maley- are now all grown up and both serving God in their own unique ways.  Baby Henry we brought to Mountainview was same age as your grandson Jaden and they have become lifelong buddies I’m sure (well, one of the many buddies who love mud and bikes and nerf guns and ….). All three of the older kids were baptized in the chilly river surrounded by Mountainview church folks during church campouts. You dedicated our baby Mary – your last baby dedication before you retired.  I remember you made a joke about her trying to beg food off the communion tray during the dedication:)  
Thank you for staying in touch even after you retired.
Thank you for always asking about how things were going.
Thank you for being real.
Thank you for those great accordion songs.
Snohomish is lacking without you.
Heaven is richer for you.
Always Grateful,
Lisa and Family
If I have the gift of prophecy
and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge,
and if I have a faith that can move mountains,
but do not have love,
I am nothing.
I Cor 13:2
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Living Together. Might it Help a Future Marriage?

 

Today a couple friends came over to spend the day with me – helped me piece together a quilt for my baby grandson.  It’s been a long time since I sat in a kitchen, barefoot on tile floor, adult conversation moving through the hours of a morning.  The topic we happened upon – What’s wrong with living together as a next step for a couple that is moving toward marriage?  The topic wasn’t the expanded version of people living the wild life.  It was all about committed Christian adults who truly believe it’s best to first get to know someone, date, and as a next step, move in before marriage.  And why doing so might or might not be the best idea.  Scriptures were discussed, the ‘one-flesh’ and ‘the break up would be a divorce’ ideas, hypotheticals, stories of heartbreak and stories of those who seemed to have made it work, and talk of our fears. 

After all the ideas turned and turned again, I thought to myself “A trial run wouldn’t have worked for my husband and I because it would have taken all the years of our lives to get a realistic representation of what we’d be getting into.” 

Because no two years – no two days have been just alike.

Because every time I think I know him, he’s someone new.

Because I’ve changed too.

Because what cuts me deep one season is what I desire most the next.

Because anything we set up long ago has gone along the wayside and  been replaced 100 times over by the current needs of life.

Because our goals and dreams have changed.

Because it doesn’t really matter what use to be, what is now is what we’re dealing with.

Because kids have changed us.

Because jobs have changed us.

Because changing a church has changed us.

Because having cancer once and then twice has changed everything all over again.

Some seasons in the game of life we’ve been top of the world. 

Others seasons we’ve been giant losers

– just trying to make it through the day.

A trial run would not have helped us to know if we could stay together and hold a lasting love, because we would need to have given our love a spin for about an eternity to know for sure,  which is why we said I do.  That’s what the promise for us was about.  Deciding he would be the one I’d take the lifetime chance on.  And I’d be his roll of the dice. 

It has not been easy.  Because I’m not an easy person to predict, and neither is he.  That’s the problem about marriage.  Who knows how to maneuver unless we know what to expect.  The year we fell in love, if someone had told me I’d better live with him to discover that he stomps around in the kitchen and slams things down loud when he’s mad, I’d have to tell them that it wouldn’t be a fair trial as a few years later he found his voice at which time I wished he’d start stomping again and stop talking!  If they’d told me living together would help me understand his struggles with God, and how that would affect our kids, I’d have to tell them that just as I have grown, so has he, and that our kids seem to have outdone us on their love for Jesus despite our struggles.  If they told us I better try him out to know more about the way he’d adore me one day and despise me the next and that I had found myself a moody man, I’d have to say nothing has changed in this department, and probably never will.  Moving in would not have helped me.  I knew when I said “I do” that I was marrying one part sweetheart, one part demon, and eight-parts kitchen table.  In the end, who would I have married that could have made my life as full and interesting and good as the one I rolled the dice for? And how would trying out one after another help me find a better man?

I know that if I go out and lease a brand new Suburb, I’ll love everything about it for the first little while because the engine hasn’t yet frozen up – 350 miles from home.  The door handle hasn’t fallen off in my hand.  The seats haven’t yet cracked and cut into my leg.  The frame hasn’t morphed and wobbled down the washboard road. 

The heartbreaking problems that have caused the most pain in this marriage didn’t show up for 15 years, and nearly tore us apart.  They would not have shown up in a 14 year trial.  That would mean that trying our relationship out for 14 years would have not provided either one of us security. 

Date.

Take your time. 

Big Issues will usually show themselves even when not under the same roof. 

But some things don’t show up for years.

What has pulled us from the brink has not been a guarantee of a predictable soul-mate, but a guarantee from God.  God will never leave us or forsake us.  We call on GOD and HE will show us great and mighty things.  The Lord will take our hearts of stone and turn them to hearts of flesh.  God is the reason we are still together.  This one thing we’ve done right in our marriage.  Turn again to God when hopelessness suffocates our functioning.  When I took a gamble and choose my husband, I was betting on GOD to get us through.  The Scripture says to not be unequally yoked.  That one’s a biggie, and we didn’t do that perfectly either, as a person can fake their love for God.  I think in some ways we were unequally yoked most of our marriage, but because there was a willingness for both of us to turn to God in tough times (“Will you pray with me?” says one enemy to another.  “OK” says the hated one), we continued to become more closely yoked then we had been before.  For all the horrid things I know about my husband, and he knows about me, I would still choose him over any other person on the planet, and I’m pretty sure he’d say the same of me.  Most days:)

Weight Loss

Summer and Fall 2013 179
The writer and butterfly.

I use to be who I am now

Fat and covered in cellulite

Always hiding sloppy me

I didn’t the match the girl inside

And as I prayed and struggled on

Appeared, one day, just what to do

A friend I’d make

The one I hate

And over time

The change it came

Inch by inch

and

Size by size

I finally matched the girl inside

The years went by

most all was well

And then a cancer came to tare

And ripped the breast from off my chest

And choked my trust

And froze my bounce

And once again the hiding came

I didn’t match the girl inside

And still I prayed and struggled on

Appeared one day just what to do

A friend I’d make

The one I hate

And over time

The change it came

I grew to love

the one breast me

18 months of

all is well

And then a cancer came again

This time to claim

my thyroid gland

And spill around throughout my nodes

And throw my body balance off

I use to be who I am now

Fat and covered in cellulite

And now I know just what to do

A friend I’ll make

The one I hate

And over time

The change it comes

I grow to love

the one breast girl

fat and covered in cellulite

And as I friend away the shame

The outside me

it starts to

match

the girl I’ve always been