Country Mile

Wow I haven’t blogged in awhile. So much has been going on with ministry and life and everything that the blog has kind of fallen behind, but I’m going to let you into my brain for the next few posts.

Have you ever thought about where you are going? Seriously. I remember being 18 and a freshman in college and having the next 10 years of my life completely planned out. Really. My plan was to graduate from the University of Memphis with a BBA in Marketing and then find a job in the field. Then I wanted to go back to school for what I really wanted to do with my life and that was work in a church. I wanted to be a pastor. Not a senior pastor, but pastor nonetheless. Somewhere between those two things I wanted to get married and be heavily involved in a thriving youth ministry.

I figured after getting my M. Div that I would become employed at a church and maybe one day really begin my “career” in ministry. (Sidenote: ministry career is a funny phrase). Then after beginning church work, then I would want to become the best dad this world has ever seen. Not your run of the mill good dad, but I figured that maybe God didn’t really gift me to make a difference in the life of young people, maybe he created me to be a dad to the most spectacular children this world has ever seen.

But man was I wrong. From the move to SC, not finding a job to save my life. To continuing to date my then girlfriend and getting married to her, to God placing me at Brookwood Church. Everything was moving at such a fast pace. No way was a 22 year old getting to do what I was getting to do. Married to the girl of my dreams and God using me in the local church.

Then God threw some more curveballs at me with some transitions at church. I was asked to be the leader of a brand new ministry and not only that but my wife and I were seriously considering buying a house… then we did. I mean if strolling through a meadow of life or cruising down a life path is actually possible we were in the middle of it.

24 homeowner, leader of a thriving ministry, goals, dreams, vision, and passion for leading change for students. Then it happened.

My wife found out she was prego!! Are you kidding me? Could my life get any better??? Little did I know my life was about to take a huge turn in a direction I never would have asked for and still aren’t very fond of happening.

8 weeks into the pregnancy we arrive at our first ever ultrasound with dreams, wishes, goals, and nothing but excitement. My throat had felt weird all day and my hair seemed a bit more spiky than normal, and that was just on my arms. Then the nurse had an inquisitive look on her face.

Well…. I’m having a hard time finding a heart beat…hmm….let me get a measurement.

The fast track that I was on had suddenly been hit by a semi truck towing other semis loaded with explosives.

I mean all of our friends are either pregnant or have just had a child. We waited until after marriage. We love Jesus. He loves us.

Let’s wait another week, because we could be off on the timing. Let’s come back next week and see if there is any change, maybe we’ll see the heartbeat.

All of this a few days before the Orange Conference. yeah. Kristen and I decided it would be better to have some alone time to just pray and ask God separately for healing and hope and God just give us this baby…. please.

So I’m at the Orange conference and I hear lots of wonderful stories and some encouraging ones. I had one person even ask me about children. Then this person asked me, “How is that going, have you had any complications?” “No” I replied. Torture but yet so incredible. I had such a time with God. Emotional connection and purer worship than I’ve ever had in my life. SPIRIT. And truth.

Then I get back home and immediately it’s time for our doctor’s appointment. We have been praying, knowing that God can do absolutely anything that He wants to do and we believe that God can create a heart and make it beat and we prayed harder, more intense, more consistent than any other time in either of our lives.

…..still…um….still no heart beat…..

All I can remember is tears and my wife’s face. The disappointment. The fear. The sadness. This gift was suddenly snatched from us without as much as a blink. How could this happen? How can I teach kids about God’s faithfulness, when I’m so disappointed?

We scheduled our appointment to have things “cleaned up”. It was awful.

How? Why? Good? God?

So many thoughts, so many emotions.

Still praying and wading and waiting to see God.

I’ve never had a “tough” life. I mean I’m not a silver spoon kid, but I had food and school and clothes and toys. How do you deal with this and WHERE IS GOD?

Then after the procedure my wife is in recovery and we are still just emotionally ridiculous. Then God gave us a hug in the form of a nurse. She let us know that it’s common and that she had a miscarriage herself. Then she pulled out a verse she had kept in her pocket for the day. It was about crying out to God. I don’t remember the scripture and I don’t remember the nurse’s name but I knew that God had placed her there just to say:

Kristen, J.C. I Love You. I’m with you.

So over the past few months, there has been so much going on with ministry. Success, attendance, spiritual growth for our students. An incredible Adventure Week and our first ever camp with Switch. We changed everything about student ministry at Brookwood and parents are on board, volunteers are on board, and students are on board.

Yet my dreams seemed gray. It’s much tougher to dream, when your dreams show themselves and then disappear.

But. God is with us. His whispers, his hugs. There are easy days and hard days. Sweet people and people that just don’t know any better and yet through it all, my understanding of God and His love for us has deepened and my passion for Him has grown.

But the dreams…. still are tough to come by. The vibrancy isn’t back yet and the zest isn’t as bright. But God is with us.

I don’t write all of this to tell you some awesome, we are so much better and God completely took away our pain, cause that didn’t happen. But. God is with us.

I do write this because for me and Kristen’s it’s time to say goodbye to the child that God gave and then instantly moved back into heaven. I’m not smart enough to know whether we will see our unborn child when we move in with Jesus. But we do know that God is with us and will be with us for the rest of our life.

We are continuing to heal and this post is a part of that process. I’m not writing a book or starting a ministry. This post is for us.

I ask that you pray for Kristen and myself. Grief is relatively new for both of us. It’s tough. We really don’t want advice, it hurts more than it helps. But we do want your prayers. Please pray for us and our dreams. It’s been nice over the past few weeks to dream again. I’m praying that God would just continue to redeem this pain.

Thanks for your support of this blog and my ministry. I’m thankful that there are people around the world that care. Thanks for what you do for Christ and thanks for pouring real love into the students and kids and preteens and parents and pastors and singles and people of this world. God is in control and He is with you, just as He is with us.

  • http://savedsister7.blogspot.com Wendy

    JC – Thank you for sharing your heart friend. Know that you and your wife are in my prayers.

    • http://jcisonline.com JC

      thanks Wendy. We definitely appreciate it.

  • http://www.ruthrussell.com Ruth

    I’m about to text your wife and tell her what I really want to say. But I couldn’t read this and not leave a reply. I’m sitting in a McDonalds in Hershey, PA so anxious to get back down there. You guys are amazing.

    • http://jcisonline.com JC

      thanks Ruth you are awesome.

  • http://smalltownkidmin.com Jared M

    I’m sure this was tough to write, but thank you for sharing.

    • http://jcisonline.com JC

      thanks Jared for all you do my man!!! Thanks for the prayers

  • Phyllis Riecke

    JC and Kristen. We are so blessed to have you and Kristen as part of our family. Our prayers are with you. We love you!