My mother passed away early this morning in her sleep. 81 years old. Went to bed and didn't wake up. No suffering like her parents did before they passed. My sister found my mom in her bed at the home she's lived in for the past 5-6 years.
Mom was with us recently. She came for my youngest daughters baby shower. She was planning to come back down to help care for our new grandson when my daughter went back to work.
Family meant a lot to her. Her last request of me was for a picture of me holding my grandson. That was a couple of days ago. I meant to get around to it, but got busy at the church with meetings, visiting, sermon prep, planning, emails, etc. The honest truth, I chose to be busy.
Why? Because years ago I made a very bad decision. One I have regretted for many, many years.
My bad decision? I willingly gave my soul to the "church."
As a result, there were times I sacrificed my family's needs of me because I believed what the "church" needed from me was more important.
Many people don't know that my family put me on notice back in 1999, that my focus would change or they would kick me out. My wife and two teenage daughters told me plain and simple that I did not have their permission to sacrifice them to anything.
I was scared, truthfully so. They meant it. This was a second chance. I took it. Glad I did.
Please, learn from this older preachers mistake. No "church" has the right to demand your soul. If they do, then they are not a church in the Spirit of Christ.
Today, in honor of my Mom's passing, I took my soul back, and gave it to Christ.
The church ... will be just fine without my soul. I have gifts, abilities and strengths which I gladly offer to the church. But not my soul.
God's grace still amazes me . . . ><>