I still remember sitting across the desk from my friend Joe, tears streaming down my face. “I just want to be good at something again. I don’t know that you really want to take a chance on me.”
He had just offered me a job at Rebel Pilgrim. We had worked together previously and Joe was not only someone I had a high respect for, but I counted him as a friend.
I was in a season of freefalling. My ministry “career” (if there is such a thing) had seemingly ended, rather abruptly, leaving me heartbroken and sinking into the depths of one of the darkest seasons of depression in my adult life.
As I sat, embarrassed, wounded, rejected, and reeling, my friend Joe carved out a safe space for me to land. He ended the free fall and gave me time to catch my breath, and most importantly, to stumble my way through the valley. He didn’t have to do any of that. Solid reason would have told him it wasn’t worth the time. There were clearly other people who had more experience who would be a better strategic fit for Rebel … but Joe didn’t see it that way. I will never understand it, but I will be forever grateful, and better for it.
It is a powerful thing for a friend to throw you a rope when the bottom falls out. Joe and the guys at Rebel took a risk on me because they saw something that I couldn’t. They still believed that there was more to my story. That this ending was not the final curtain call, but perhaps an intermission, as God lined up something bigger. They took me in as a part of their tribe and they fought for me.
Each of the guys rallied in their own unique ways. Whether it was Isaac standing in my doorway listening to me process my journey (he has the patience of a saint). Or Mark crying with me in an airport during an unexpected layover as we all swapped stories from our journey (he may be a big guy but he’s a teddy bear). Or Joe asking me how I was doing “really” and listening through the tears when the answer was “not good” (he wasn’t afraid of my depression. He understood). Or when my friend Brad called me out for backing down when my “moxie” (as Brad calls it) was what the crew needed the most (Brad is a truth teller … in all the good and right ways).
Here I am, a couple years, and a lot of healing later, and I find myself on the rebound. I’m getting my moxie back, and it feels good. I’m rising from the ashes a better person because a band of Rebel Pilgrims chose to include me in their tribe.
Had my friends, my Rebel brothers, not refused to hear my swan song, I likely would not have had the courage to dare to dream again, to believe that God had more in store for me. I would have surrendered my voice entirely too soon.
So to those of you who feel like your run is done, I encourage you to surround yourself with a band of brothers (or sisters, or both) who are stubborn enough to walk you through the valley. Because the rising is worth it.
It is good to be a Rebel.
Photo (Flickr CC) by Dominic Alves