Keith White

Never Once

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Today is Thanksgiving, 2011. As usual, we spent it in Douglasville with Steph’s family and will as usual, spend Christmas with my family. There are a lot of people talking about what they are thankful for. Steph even asked me on the way home tonight what I am thankful for and of course I said the safe, textbook answers: “I am thankful for my wife, my family and second chances in life.”

What I’m really thankful for is that 2011 is almost over.

That may sound strange to most but 2011 is a year that I so desperately want to put behind me and forget about. I can remember saying in January this was going to be our year. It was supposed to be a great year.
In some ways it was a great year. I had two of the best moments of my life. Wanting to be in youth ministry is great but becoming a youth pastor (even in the interim position that I was in) after praying and praying for God to use me, was awesome. Having that position come to an end after only a short period as interim, wasn’t one of the brighter times in my life.
Waking up on that morning and seeing two pink lines was probably the greatest moment of my life. Sure my wedding day to Steph was a huge answer to prayer and it was incredible, but now God had given us a child. He had answered the prayers that we had been praying for years. We were on cloud 9.
Hearing the news a few weeks later that there wasn’t a heartbeat was without a doubt, the lowest point of my life and the beginning of a period of my life that I can’t even begin to explain. After all, having not one, but 2 of my prayers answered and then just a few weeks later taken away, well, thats enough to rock my faith pretty good.
I immersed myself in every project that I could. I over committed my time to every opportunity that I was given. When I would come home from work, I would have dinner with Steph and then cocoon myself downstairs in my office. I was probably the farthest away from God that I have ever been since I was saved. I didn’t want to think about God. I didn’t want to talk to Him. I HATED going to church and made every excuse that I could to not go or not do anything to get plugged in or get close to people there. I committed to working with the tech team and with the youth but my heart and passion for both ministries was gone.
People say that “Time heals all wounds.” This isn’t a wound that isn’t healing as soon as I wish it could. Every time that I turn around, there is a constant reminder of what happened. I went to see the movie Courageous with the men of Burnt Hickory and almost had to leave because the plot centers around the death of a child. Just last month, one of our best friends gave birth to their second son. Watching Steph hold him just for the few seconds that I could, was like pulling the scabs off those wounds from the doctors office all over again. I couldn’t even post to my journal here because every time that I did, there was the posts about the 2 pink lines and the drive home that awful day. As hard as I tried not to, each time I went to this site, there they were staring me in the face. The highest point in my life followed by the lowest.
So you are probably asking yourself, if these times were so bad, why am I dwelling on them here again? I’m not dwelling on them, I am putting them behind me. I stepped away from the tech team and stayed away from the youth for a while and we focused on finding a lifegroup at Burnt Hickory. We’ve been going to the Dodgen group for a couple of weeks and will probably stay put. The class is friendly, outgoing and involved in reaching others for Christ.
My passion for youth ministry is slowly returning. I have put my desire to return to my comfort zone, behind me and I’m wanting more and more to be back in ministry. I miss it a LOT and can’t wait for what God has in store for us either at Burnt Hickory or elsewhere.
So we have turned the corner I believe. I’ve made my peace with God. I know that no matter how far I can get from Him, He will always be close to me. I also know there is a reason that we had to go through this and one day, I will be able to ask Him face to face.
And that’s enough for me.

Dear God,
Today everyone talks about what they are thankful for. I am honestly thankful for second chances. You never turned Your back on me, when I turned my back on You. Never once….

Keith

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