A Message From Pastor Cory

8 06 2012

Hey Guys!

I should probably start by apologizing for freaking everybody out by the way I communicated about my family situation this past Sunday. This whole week I have had people emailing, texting, and calling me all thinking we are either leaving the church, facing a life-threatening illness, or dealing with some kind of moral failure… None of which are true. Although the past few months have been very difficult, the way I communicated about them on Sunday might have made them seem more ominous than they really were. I hope this communication can help ease your hearts and minds, help you understand my absence, and give you some targets to aim your prayers at.

Just so you know… We are not leaving the Church, we aren’t perfect, and we are dying (but so is everyone). We are totally committed to Harvest Springs and we are excited about what the future hold for our Church. My family may be going through some difficult times, but we aren’t giving up. We are victorious through Christ, so hopefully your hearts can breath a sigh of relief now.

Now, about my absence. About a month ago, I went to the Elders of our Church (Our Executive Team) and asked them to grant me an extended time of leave in order to address an increasingly urgent family issue that was escalating in significant ways. Tosha had been experiencing debilitating anxiety and panic attacks, and quite honestly wasn’t the same, awesome Tosha we all know and love. Tosha was dealing with extreme burnout and severe postpartum depression symptoms that were impacting almost every aspect of her life. The Elders graciously granted my request, encouraging me to take whatever time was needed to help Tosha and our family to get back on track.

Before I go much further, I want to let you know that Tosha is beginning to slowly improving and getting back into the swing of life. Although this will be a much longer journey than we desire, Tosha and I are both convinced that God has a purpose in all of this. We are learning about ourselves, our marriage, our family, our characters, and our faith. We are both convinced that we will be stronger as people, as a couple, and as followers of Jesus on the other-side of this.

Some of you may ask, why did you stay silent on this for so long? Well, to be quite honest, this isn’t the kind of issue that you just throw out haphazardly. Early on, we weren’t exactly sure what we were dealing with, or it’s severity, so we didn’t exactly know what or how to communicate about it. However, probably the biggest reason was simply to protect my precious wife. For any of you who have been face to face with issues such as these, they often comes with a heavy dose of shame, guilt, and condemnation. For the process of healing and restoration to take place, we needed to wait until the appropriate time to unload all of this.

So how can you help? Well, it might seem trivial, but the biggest and best thing that you can do for us is to pray. I know that many of you will want to do more than that, but quite honestly prayer is our greatest need. Please pray that God will restore, heal, and redeem all of this for His Glory and Honor. I know that many of you are already praying, but don’t stop… we need all we can get!!!

Now this might sound weird, but you can also help us by giving us lots of “Grace” and “Space”. We are going to need plenty of “Grace” to be able to deal with all of this in a way that is best for our family. Things like meetings, counseling, phone calls, and even responding to text messages are very, very difficult right now. So please forgive us for not being very available to you all. If you have any needs, we have a fantastic staff who is qualified and ready to serve you all in anyway. Lean on them… I am leaning on them too.

Also, “Space” is a pretty valuable commodity for us right now. We are purposefully trying to keep the pressure “off” so that Tosha and our family can get back to a sense of “normal”. We are blessed to have a strong family support system around us who have all stepped up to assist us in this process, so we don’t really need much in terms of assistance at this moment. As God begins to put things back together for us, we will be able to get back into the relationships we cherish and need.

I have often said, “I want to be a great Pastor, but I first want to be a great husband and a great Dad.” The reality is, if I am not a great Husband and a great Dad, I can’t be a great Pastor. As much as I would like to say that I’ll be back next week, I want to make sure that Tosha and my family have been properly ministered too before I jump back into ministering to others. My family is my first ministry, and I have a Biblical mandate to make sure they are led well, before I lead in the church.

We love you all, and eagerly await the day when this is all behind us. Thank you so much for all of your concern, love, prayers, and support. They mean the world to us!

Pressing On! CORY