It's like the sun rising in your heart.

I think it was on Monday that I got an email asking me how we had left things with the Cenon church and whether we could "look back with thankfulness and say good things of the church".

I was more than a little nonplussed. Only the previous evening I had given a new person directions to the church and said, "tell them Alan sent you". I frequently see Cenon folk and our relationships seem warm and friendly. I wasn't aware of any bad things I had said of the church and I would take that very seriously. I asked for clarification.

What came back was that in a conversation one of the church leaders had expressed his incomprehension at why we are no longer working with the Cenon church.

Now our decision to stop working with the Cenon and Blaye churches came when I suffered a breakdown including panic attacks and depression following a period of great conflict in the churches. This conflict didn't involve me directly except in trying to resolve things and calm it all down. Then followed a period of major overwork where I was, as we say, cutting myself in four - quite literally - to try and fulfil the ministry in the four groups I was serving at that time.

I took nine months sabbatical to recover, and the depression only really lifted in late 2015.

All this was communicated fully, both orally and in emails, letters and reports, in English and in French, to such an extent that the president of the denomination complimented me on my "great transparency". At the time I wondered if he really meant verbosity.

I tried to cover up nothing except the sins of others, as I believe Scripture urges us to do.

And the church leader concerned was fully involved in all this.

OK. What to do now?

I forwarded all the documentation - emails, letters, reports - to the person who had contacted me now.

Then began the anxiety attacks.

"Do I really have to go over all that again, years later?"
"How can I make someone understand when they are already fully aware of everything that happened?"
"Will I never be able to move on?"
"What if this blows up into the kind of conflict that forces me to leave Bordeaux?"

I committed it all to God, and each time some new anxiety arose.

Pat was concerned. I was concerned. I asked for a response saying that the matter was closed.

Then yesterday I read one of the countless emails that come from the ministries that I cherish.

"Be still and know that I am God." it said.

I knew that. Of course I did. But suddenly I was still. It's like the sun rising in your heart.

I later got an answer from the person who'd raised the issue.

"I had no idea of what you had lived through."

"Tread carefully.", I replied.

So I am still fragile. OK. I'll need to continue to be careful to keep a quiet heart.


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