I've never attended your church in my life. In fact, I live on the opposite side of the country from where your church is that. I did see you once, though. I was living in Las Vegas at the time and I saw you tweet about being in town. I was a bit excited hoping you'd let us all know where you were at or what you were doing. Then you mentioned speaking at a church in town I'd never heard of. So naturally, I looked it up and planned on attending.
You see, I loved listening to your podcasts. In fact, it was your teaching on anxiety that made the second biggest impact in my life. You were beat by Plumb by about ten years. It was that teaching I learned to trust that God is good. No matter what is going on or falling apart, I've held on to that knowledge with every thread of my being. I always want to. I hope I always do.
I've never attended your church but I've listened to just about every teaching of yours available through podcast. You were my favorite pastor to listen to. You still are. It is for this reason that I want to say I'm still on your side. I'm praying that you give yourself enough grace to overcome the disappointment you feel toward yourself.
Not long ago, I went through a period where I depended on alcohol to fill the void of loneliness I was feeling. That went on for a while, and there was only one person who was really on my side through it all. She waited for me to win the race.
I've no doubt there are tons of people who love you and still are waiting for you to win the race. I've no doubt there are tons of people on your side. For that, I know that my voice is a small one. But even as a small voice, I'm still going to use it to tell you that I love you. I'm praying for you and your family. I'm sad to see you no longer be the senior pastor of your church. It's weird, but even though I'm not a member, I still feel the effect of it. But I still love you. God has never been short on His grace toward me, and believe me, I've definitely needed it. So there is no way on earth I can't withhold it from someone else.
You've made a huge difference in my life with your teachings. When you talk about God's love and grace and Jesus, I seriously feel the passion in your voice. There's only been one pastor before you that I've listened to that left that impression on me. It's the kind where if you tell me God loves me, I can't help but fully believe it. It is in listening to you where I've learned to look at Jesus more and what He has to say on everything. I've learned to listen to Him more.
I'm sure in the coming days, I'm going to cry at times. As I've mentioned, I feel the loss too. But every gift from God is a good and perfect one, even in the ending of a season. And He takes even the stupid things we do and uses it for good for us that believe. I believe these things. Not only in my life, but for your life too. I'm sad to see you go, but everything does have it's time.
I'm praying for you though. Because believe it or not, you've made quite the difference. I'm with all those other people who are on your side. We're waiting for you to win the race.
Julia from Phoenix, Arizona