Dear Pastor Mike:
As I prepare to move into a new Pastorate, the place to which I believe God has called me, I want to express some of my thankfulness to God for bringing me under your Pastorate for the last two years. You have indeed been a great blessing to me and I want to express that somehow here.
Please do not take my leaving the church as a failure of your ability to Pastor. I know that you struggle with my decision, but I want to share a little bit of what the Lord has been showing me these last few weeks.
My leaving is not a testiment to your inadequacy as a Pastor, but as a testiment to your ability.
When I needed a place to land after Dr. Angelo DelZotto's illness, you provided that place. When my mentor, and my father in the Lord was no longer able to minister to this child, you took over that place.
Even though you are younger than me, the evidence of the Father's Heart and the Apostolic call on your life gave me a place to land, and to rest.
I came green, inexperienced as a Pastor and you showed me what it was to be a Pastor.
I watched you grieve, and cry, and mourn, and pray over your flock. I saw your struggle when they struggled. I saw you give and give and give until it hurt you and then I saw you give some more.
I learned how to have faith through seeing your faith. No matter what happened in the church, no matter what was going on, you held fast to the call that God had given you to shepherd His precious sheep no matter what the danger.
I saw you take wayward and hurting sheep into your office day after day and listen to them. You loved them, you guided them, you discplined them when they needed and when they came in broken, you placed them upon your shoulders, sometimes literally and carried them until they were able to walk again. And then you watched and prayed over them while they recovered. Many, many times in the last two years, I have been one of those sheep as I cried and prayed and fasted over my precious son and the challenges of his disappearance and of our lives.
You provided an anointed office for me to start up my infant practice. When I struggled with a client, you listened to me and offered the Father's very heart for them when I couldn't hear His voice for my fear and inexperience.
You scolded me, gently, as a Father would, when I was way out of line in my emotions.
In many ways, I came to your ministry broken myself. Even though I have been called to minister the precious healing of God to His precious people, you were there to minister that healing to me time and time again.
When I brought my husband, broken as he was ... you accepted him for the call God had placed upon his life. You saw the potential and you would accept nothing less for his life. You called him forth into the Priestly position in our home and he has flourished under that expectation and anointing. For that especially, I thank you.
I do not regret one moment I spent in Streams and under your covering.
You have no idea the impact that you have upon your people as you struggle working out your own salvation with fear and trembling. No idea, Pastor, how you affect us in our own walk. You call us to a higher level with the Lord.
Isn't that what a Pastor is supposed to be?
And your teaching ... I have learned so much about the Word of God through you and your sermons. Week after week, I saw evidence of your time alone with the Lord when you presented meat and sweet dessert from the Bible. You opened up Scriptures and the lives of the Patriarchs in a way I never heard before.
You taught me to walk into the calling God had for me. You never called me Carolyn, but 'Reverend Doctor' ... reminding me continually of the call that God has placed upon my life. I do not think I would have walked into the success in ministry and private practice I enjoy had you not called me forth into that.
When I struggled with theology and new concepts from the Word, you gently carried me through and showed me love and compassion where my training and degrees should have brought me. Indeed, you called forth the Word that was hidden in my heart and allowed the Lord to weave it all together into balance and most important, the expression of love to the sheep.
That is all that matters. That's what you taught me more than all. The precious people of God, the sheep that are in His pasture and not ours, the very people He suffered and died for ... they are all that matter. Bringing them to a greater knowledge and understanding and fear of the Lord. Modelling it, teaching it, stumbling through the trials of life and finding ourselves firmly planted at the Feet of the Master together.
How can I ever thank you for what you have been to me in ministry? Father ... Friend ... Pastor ... Counsellor ... Priest ... Teacher ... Apostle ... Leader ... Example ... Healer ... Brother ... Confidant ... Support ... Discipline.
No, precious Pastor. You have not failed at all. You simply took me under your wing and nurtured me until I could fly. Then, with sadness, you released me into my next Pastorate.
I only pray that I can continue to grow under the covering of another precious Man of God as I have under you. I feel ready to continue into my ministry as God has called me to.
The eaglet is ready to fly. Watch me! Everything the Lord does through me and my ministry is on your account ... beautiful jewels in your crown! May the Lord continue to bring others into your Apostolic ministry to enjoy and flourish under the Father's love as I did.
I love you with the Love of Christ, Pastor. And I bless your ministry. You are called to something much bigger and grander than you have any idea. Remember the Sword. It is that of the Lord. He will cause you to rise up and cover many like you did me. And it will all be for His Glory.
Amen, and Thank you, Lord.