I want to write about this past year. Why? Well, it’s good to do on a few levels. First of all to recognize the good the bad and the ugly in my life, did I move forward, back, have I been going the direction I said I wanted to go at the beginning of the year? Second is to give praise and thanks for any changes, victories, challenges that have taken place. Thirdly would be to say thank you to all in my life that have helped me, loved me and walked with me this year. I had some very personal goals at the start of 2013, first was my marriage, second was my family…. all of my family! Third was to get to a place where I could just function in life, be around people without crying and falling apart. And above all my relationship with the Lord…..open, honest, raw, and very humble. So, let’s take a look at how things have changed in my eyes anyways over the last year.
In 2013 both of my daughters Meghan and Rebecca got married…my son Noah and his wife Tiffany has a precious little baby … LIAM!!! Adam graduated and is in his first year of college…..been a year of change for our family. We are now empty nesters….it’s good, it’s different…it’s perfect for our lives….and yet I MISS the family dynamic we had.
I want to start off with my job. It was very difficult going from full time ministry for many years to a full time job with office hours, a few bosses and all the drama that goes on at any place of employment. I am VERY thankful for my job. I am 61 years old and going into the job market is very scary and very hard. When I was hired one of their biggest fears was that I would be a pain because I was a pastor. Instead of worrying about if I could do the job or not the worry was would I preach to them and the customers. I had to assure them it would not be an issue. I found that having a background as a pastor is not the best in the world. LOL…. but they hired me and it’s BEEN a great relationship. They have treated me excellent with no problems at all. When the year began I was promoted to “internet Manager” and man I fought for this position. I wanted it bad, wanted off the sales floor and into an office dealing with people one-on-one. I found it to be a horrible job but I worked hard and tried hard after about the 6th month I was starting to hate my job and started looking for a new job….it was then that they took me out and asked me to stay and work on the sales floor. It was hard, it hurt, but it was the BEST thing that has happened at my job!!! I am happy, enjoying the job, and doing WELL!! Making a living and being the best employee I can be.
Everyday I wake and pray that I would be a light, be humble and be a great employee!! I can get caught up in the junk, talk, gossip and drama just like anyone else, but the Lord always reels me back in….HE has been so faithful. I really do love my job, I have opportunity to meet some GREAT people, witness, and even pray with some of my customers. I have had some call me for advice in their lives, I even had an older couple that are celebrating 50 years of marriage ask me if I would renew their vows at the celebration. I was invited to speak at a HUGE party for a woman who was celebrating her 106th birthday in Lodi…..I thank God that I have the chance and the opportunity to minister in His name still. I may not pastor a church any longer, but the Lord still uses me…..I remain in awe of Him, and very humbled as I enter into his rest daily. I am the old guy at work…..and I love it.
Next I want to look at our church. We settled in a new church this year. Burson Full Gospel Church. After being part of a community in Tracy for about 18 years leaving that behind and trying to find a new church was very emotional and difficult. We went to many churches and just couldn’t find the right one. We finally stepped into this church and decided to stay. Been there almost a year now and still we are not really plugged in fully, it may be us….not really sure. We love this church and the pastor. I have had opportunity to preach a couple times an that was AMAZING and made me realize how much I missed it. I could preach every day if given the chance! Diane and I gave our testimony and it was well received by everyone (as far as we know) this has been a great place for us to heal and start getting involved slowly. I am very thankful for Burson Church.
Some of my friends. Just about ALL of my friends were all connected to me as a pastor, so when all this went down a year and a half ago I lost just about all relationships. Most were by my doing. I know most do not understand what I went through and how devastated I was, I ashamed I was, how broken I was. After all it was ME that caused it all, so I do not expect anyone to understand. In fact I just stayed away from everyone, would not allow anyone in or close to me…..I just couldn’t. Many tried and I’m really sorry but it could not have been any other way. When I tried to explain what I was going through it appeared that I was trying to get sympathy and that is SO FAR FROM THE TRUTH!! I just couldn’t be around anyone. Some got offended and mad and just quit trying and some would not relent but gave me the space and time I needed. Diane played such a big part in all of this, standing between me and people. If you are reading this and think I just ran away, or I was feeling sorry for myself, or I just REJECTED you for no reason. I am sorry from the bottom of my heart!! Some just showed up, or set it up with Diane for us to meet. I have met with a few people, some showed up when we gave our testimony…..I am very thankful for everyone. I know I have hurt so many and I know that there are so many that probably get angry just at the thought of me or the mention of my name. I am trusting God for my future and long with the future of any relationships that used to be. For those that have loved me and allowed me to crawl through this year I want to say thank you!! Diane Nethaway you were amazing through it…… protecting me and helping others see me and understand me. I am so very grateful.
My counselor. Dr. D!!!! What an amazing, loving man that is in the perfect ministry!! When he showed up at our testimony I was moved so deeply. He really loved us and believed in us. I owe him so MUCH!! Thank you Dr. D
My Grandchldren. As of this year I now have 11 grandchildren. From babies to adults. This past year I finally realized what a horrible grandfather I was. Not as an excuse but I never had a grandfather, well I had one but did not know him, I think I met him once or twice but have NO idea what kind of a man he was and he sure did not know me. Now, in his defense, he lived in Michigan and I here in California. My father was not a good grandfather, he didn’t take the time to know any of my children. So it was never modeled to me. Like I said it’s not an excuse at all, it’s just how it was. For me my life was about ME………well those days are gone and now I want to try and build strong relationships with my grandchildren. It has been one of my goals this year and for 2014 it is one of my main goals. Again my wife Diane has played such a HUGE part of bridging the gap between us all. I can see the JOY and NEED in being a loving and strong grandfather!! I will say that the best model I have, who has shown me without even knowing it is my brother Cary. He is SO loved by his grandchildren, but HE SO LOVES THEM…………his life is about them!! He invests his time, love and finances into his family and I have learned a lot from him in this. Thank you Cary!!!
My Children: This has been a year of healing and restoration for all of us. My actions last year caused pain in each one of them, more for some than others. My reality is I know that I’ve caused the pain, I know that I’ve caused pain for many years. I have 9 children, 4 from my first marriage, 4 with Diane and 1 we adopted. With my first 4 I was not a good father at all, even after I was saved and my life changed so drastically I was not a good father. I tried to say the right words, but my actions did not match up. I poured myself into my life………I was a good father with my other children with Diane, I loved them, spent time with them, did things with them…….they loved and adored me. But I cared more about me than I did them…….I had secrets in my life that they had NO clue about and when all was exposed it devastated them,….. my first 4 have been through this before and when it hit again after they all thought I was a different man……….well that just about took them over the edge with me. So my life with all my children was pretty damaged.
In this past year, I realized that it was ME, I was the horrible father, I was a liar, and nothing GOOD will ever come out of that. Even in ministry I would gravitate toward anyone who thought I was all that…….and sucked it up….leaving my family out in the cold. It is completely and totally up to me to repair the damage that I’ve caused. With my children we have come a long way…. Meghan, Noah, Becky and Adam all forgave me and eventually Brandon did too, as they watched first hand their mother forgive me and walk in that forgiveness. They watched as we healed and they saw the brokenness in me, one by one they came to forgive me and our family is STRONGER than ever. We all rejoice now and have found that forgiveness is a powerful thing.
My children, Jenna, Misty, Shirley and Ryan are all on the road to healing. I get that it’s on me not them. Diane has played such a huge part in this area of my life, along with Misty. I believe healing is taking place as I begin to spend time with them, get to know them, who they are, what they think………as I try to be open with them in my life now. This year has been good and I’m looking forward to what 2014 holds for us.
I know that they are ALL incredible loving human beings, they all have GREAT families and I’m going to spend the rest of my days loving them, learning how to be a good father and grandfather. I LOVE LOVE LOVE YOU all so very much – it’s never too late and I plan on ending my life LOVING MY FAMILY and making a difference.
My Wife Diane: I love her with all my heart. It’s been a long year but it’s been an incredible year! We were in deep counseling in January and by about May we were released by Dr. D….. so much has happened but today we have a good marriage and it’s on the grow. I am looking forward to growing old with my wife investing our lives into our children, grandchildren and probably in the near future great-grandchildren. (ouch)
Diane has played a huge role in restoration with my family and with her family. She is the CENTER of the entire picture. She has gone above and beyond considering that she was in the middle of her own pain, she still thought of ME, and our family.
I love you Diane so very much — you have all of me!!! Thank you for all you are and all you’ve done. Thank you for loving the Lord so much that it spilled over to me!!!
What will 2014 hold? I am not sure – in my life I know that the Lord’s call upon my life is NOT dead — but not sure what will happen, where we will end up, but I do know this…..I will do only what the Lord calls me to do and if He calls me to anything at all it will be a joint venture with my wife!!
So wherever you talk me Lord I will go and if I am to remain quiet and still, supporting others….I will
Happy New Year!!!!!