Thursday, October 29, 2015

Perseverance is the Word

Greetings friends and family,

There are many stories of perseverance woven in and out of the 4 Webb's adventures.  I'll focus on a few just to point out what I believe is a turning point for me personally and us individually and us as a family.

Firstly, Kendra's back brace has not been missed one second since the morning after her surgery.  I had her pick it up one last time to get a portrait of the thing she relied on and then despised for the past seven months.  We are both happy for it to be no longer needed, but like all changes, this one took some getting used to also.  When I hug her standing up, It startles me because I'm used to the hard plastic between us.  Now I get to hug her tight without anything between us or worry about causing her back pain when i hold her close.  She completed the back-healing journey with perseverance!

Ever since Easton received his Titanic model in the mail he's been working hard on it every spare second we have together.  He asked me every morning, including bright and early Saturday morning (thanks for the wake up) to complete just a little more each day.  After 7 days of tackling little bits at a time, we completed the greatest ship that ever sank.  There is so much more detail than I could show in the picture, but let's just say Easton got very good at using tweezers and steady hands to glue in tiny parts.  It was all worth it to finish strong together.

I heard a guy once describe a heartbreak during childhood.  His dad started to build a model car with him, but the dad lost interest half-way through and never had time to finish it with him.  That model car sat half-completed for many years and fed the lie he believed that he was not worth his father's time or interesting enough.  That belief caused serious issues for the man to work through later in life.  I understand everyone is responsible for their actions after the age of accountability, but there is so much of the programming of little minds and hearts that happen as a result of parenting.  That man's issues traced back to a dad who was too busy to show interest and help him learn what it means to do something with excellence all the way to the end.  My philosophy of parenting is based on what I've observed and experienced.  I make it a point to be a man of my word and to share quality time with Easton on whatever he is passionate about.  It just happens that he loves the Titanic.  I don't have to love it or agree with him or understand.  I just get to be dad and let him be Easton.  In letting him work on whatever he is passionate about, I don't have to continually ask him to finish things.  He can't wait to work on it and follow through to completion.  That's perseverance.

For my recent story I'll take you on a journey to my work.  Actually, it's after work and I'm walking through the main lobby on the way out to my car.  People are looking at me strangely.  some smile and some do a double take.  One guy gave me a "thumbs up".  I couldn't figure out why.  On my way to my car I looked down to see the Goonies lunch box swinging back and forth in my hand.  It him me that people were checking out my lunch box the whole time.  This is mine, not Easton's  Yes, i take it to my corporate job and eat my lunch from it as I sit at my desk and... persevere.  I would love to eat out more often, but the money tree in the back yard has been picked clean this year so we do what we can to adjust.  everyone makes their own choices of what to spend money on and determine what is important.  We aren't poor, just conscious of the resources we have and making sure not to go into debt no matter what happens.

My perseverance is just a story of keeping it together and taking this one day at a time.  1 - Wife, 2 - kids, 3 - job, 4 - Everything else.  This is order of priority that continually gets tested.  Every single day I make choices that either reflect the truth of who I am or go against my beliefs.

Layla is still ice skating twice per week and loving every second on the ice.  Her instructors and classmates all dressed up in costumes today as a Halloween treat.  Layla dressed as Anna from the Disney movie "Frozen" and her instructor came as Olaf from the same movie.  It was a match, for sure!  I got this great picture of the two of them, but more importantly, Layla advanced to the next level of her ice skating classes today!  She was super excited to share the news with me and I reacted like one of her seven-year-old girl friends on the playground to a Justin Bieber song.  I'm sure the other moms and kids thought I was a complete wacko, but I know it meant a lot to Layla for me to express how proud I was in a way that matched her level of excitement.  It was a splendid moment I will probably never forget and she is continuing to persevere and advance in her ice skating skills.

I've already mentioned her in previous posts about my resignation as executive pastor and all other roles at church, but for those who might come across this blog post that are not Facebook friends with me, here's the communication I posted related to the story and the "why?":

My resignation from church leadership roles and reasons for leaving this local body:  

It is with a bittersweet heart that I share this news of transition for Kendra and I. As you know, there is so much going on for our family lately and Kendra is my first ministry before anything else. After praying and listening to wise council, I stepped down as the Executive Pastor at church and my leadership positions. I deeply appreciate the incredibly pastoral, relational, and honoring way Pastor invested in me during this season of change.

We first discovered our church back in 2007 after searching for a church where we could connect locally. We immediately agreed this was our church home and began to find our place. One Wednesday night after service I approached Pastor and asked how I can serve. He noticed my wife was very pregnant with our twins and said, "talk to me in a year after you've had a chance to settle in with parenting." I respected his wisdom and after a year I approached him again with my desire to serve. Since then I've been given the opportunity to be an armor bearer, security team lead, teacher, preacher, conference speaker, mentor, small group leader, young adults leader, advisory board member, finance committee chair, Freedom Ministries director, and Executive Pastor. We dedicated ourselves to being "about our father's business" through sacrificially giving our time, talents, and treasures for the past eight years.

There are several values that drive our lives. Near the top of the list are connection and submission. We believe in relationship and we believe in authority. The vision of our church has profoundly shaped the vision in our hearts. Freedom Ministry as an overall approach to discipleship was introduced to us by our Pastor. We fully embraced the philosophy of freedom and allowed our lives to be transformed. Because of our openness to shift the way we think, God used us to shift the DNA of the church in a meaningful way. We taught the Foundations of Freedom class eight times and facilitated three conference events, which empowered over 250 people through discipleship and connecting them with God as the source of life.

In discovering who God made us to be, it became clear that what God grew in me and Kendra is a bit different than our church in some key areas. It’s not better. It’s just different. It’s not right and our church is wrong. It’s just different. But different is different and it’s been a valuable process exploring those differences in such a relational and honoring context. Healthy families release sons and daughters into adulthood with the affirmation that they need to become who God created them to be. Healthy parents raise children “in the way they should go.” I’ve deeply appreciated the way Pastor and the staff have related to us throughout with honesty, honor, and care.

Our church has a very clear and direct assignment from God. One of the reasons they are so fruitful is the willingness to steward the vision God birthed through Pastor. Our vision simply lies outside the scope of God’s assignment for our church, which limits how far we can journey together. My last day on staff was October 13th. There are still lots of questions that remain unanswered, but we are trusting God for continued guidance to step into whatever He has in store for us after an interval of rest and refocusing.

I can’t express enough how grateful I am for our Church. This was home for us. Though we are full of excitement for what the future holds, we are also grieving our departure. I understand how grief should be proportionate to the value of what has been lost. Though we are not “losing” our church or any of our relationships, we are nevertheless grieving the close of what has been a beautiful and rich chapter of our lives. I am thankful for the leaders and honored for the way they are releasing us into our new assignment wherever God leads.

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