2015 is only a memory now. A thing in our past. We can still learn from it, but we can’t alter it. As a whole, it was a good year for RT Creative Group, but good doesn’t mean it wasn’t difficult. In fact, it could be called the most difficult year our company has ever faced.
Since God is glorified in our response to both good things and hard things, allow me to give Him the glory for 2015.
Last January (2015), I had a co-worker confess that he had been stealing money from the company for several years. It was a significant amount of money and a cloud of chaos immediately covered RT Creative Group (Igniter & Graceway). I’d never had anything like this happen to me. (I alluded to this in a blog post from last February)
My mind raced as he confessed. I thought, "Surely it can’t be that bad".
He kept talking… it was bad.
"Wait, is this embezzlement? I think it is."
I was a bit numb and in denial. Thankfully, we were in a room with both our wives and trusted, Godly friends. He had his community group there, and I had mine. That’s how the meeting was set up, and I’m thankful it was.
This individual was terminated from his job the next day. Through prayer and the counsel of many, we decided not to press charges. This person was not caught, but decided to confess. He was also willing to do whatever it took to rectify the situation. The humility he showed was admirable and influenced the path we took. As a company, we required these three things. 1) He was to conduct an audit of his actions down to the details. He was to conduct this in plain site at our offices. 2) We would follow up with our own audit. 3) We would decide on an amount stolen and require payback (including tax/lawyer fees, etc.).
Meanwhile, our company was in disarray. We just lost, among other things, our financial officer. This was the last week of January and we had lots coming. We had tax payments, 1099s, bills, payroll, royalty payments, mortgage payments, and so much more. I asked if anyone on our team could use QuickBooks and cut some checks. We hunkered down and made the best of the situation… but it wasn’t nearly enough. The storm was here and it was chaos.
At the same time, I was struggling with the betrayal of a best friend. I felt dumb. I had been betrayed for a long time, and I just wasn’t myself. I described it in terms of color… I felt like I lost some color in my life. That’s just a feeling but that’s what I felt. I trusted the Lord, yes, but the pain was difficult. I experienced deep sadness sporadically through 2015. Was I angry? Yes, that came too.
Sometime in the Spring, he completed his audit. It was an extremely detailed audit and very helpful as we began our own audit. We were unable to really start our audit until later. Did I mention we were in a storm? I think it was closer to September when we finally completed it. When we did, we got together as a group again (wives, community, trusted friends) and laid out the amount owed thus requiring payback. We were flexible with the time table as long as it was paid back within a reasonable amount of time.
I figured it would take a year or two to fully pay us back, but as of December (last month), less than a year after the confession, we had been paid back in full. It was an aggressive payment schedule that he set for himself. He deeply desired to make things right, and sacrificed to make it happen. As far as the company goes, we are now officially ‘square' with him. He no longer owes us anything. Praise God.
So that leaves the friendship, which was non-existent in 2015. I don’t know what God has in store for me and him, but my hope is that we find a path to restoration. My hope is that we are able to stand on a stage someday and talk about this… and the work God did in our lives. That won’t happen yet. We still need healing...
...Healing that should begin this month.
Almost a year from the date of the confession, he and I will get together to talk. It’s almost odd that I’ve only seen him a handful of times in a year. And those times were all intentional ‘meetings' that included our circle of friends. Please pray for us.
So what happened with our company? We struggled. Most of the year, we struggled. But in the midst of it all, God did some pretty amazing things.