Friday, May 10, 2013

Dawn Pollock Cross - The Triangle Of The Storybook Marriage

Chris Cooper – 2,689 Words


Dawn believes in the
Triangle of Love.  Jesus is at
the top, the husband at the far left,  
and the wife at the far right.  As the husband
and the wife love Jesus more, they climb each side
of the triangle,  growing closer together,  loving each other more.
            “When God is at the head of the relationship then everything falls into place.”

            It was Mother’s Day, May 11, 2008, and Dawn Allen Pollock had so much to be thankful for:  her husband Dr. Forrest Pollock was the senior pastor of Bell Shoals

Baptists Church in Brandon, Florida, and their six children, Courtney, Brooke, Preston, Hope, Blake, and Kirk were happy and healthy.

         The day started out beautifully.  Brother Forrest preached a sermon and there 

was a quick, private celebration of Mother’s Day for Dawn.  Early that Sunday afternoon, Forrest, Preston, and Brooke boarded Forrest’s private plane, the single engine Piper PA-32-260.   Forrest piloted the plane to Ashville, North Carolina, to spend part of the day with his mother and stepfather. 
         The next day, Monday, May 12, at 5 a.m., Forrest and Preston were strapped 

in the Piper PA-32-260.   Brooke had stayed behind to spend more time with her grandparents.  The plan was that Forrest would pilot the aircraft to Arkansas to pick up a preacher friend, and then the three were to fly to Texas, to attend a conference.
         Dawn remained in Brandon, Florida with their other four children.  All was well, until a phone call, which literally changed her life.  The preacher friend was on the other line asking her if Forrest had changed his mind about attending the conference.  At first, Dawn thought it was a joke, and then she realized, he wasn’t joking, and began making phone calls, one of which was to the FAA.  Five FAA representatives came to the Pollock household to talk with Dawn, about the day her husband left, what kind of plane he flew, etc. 
On Tuesday, May 13, in the early morning hours, Forrest’s crashed plan was discovered on the side of Cold Mountain, in the Shining Rock Wilderness, about thirty minutes from Ashville, North Carolina.  The remains of father and son were found inside the crashed plane.

“Forrest and Preston did not survive.  They perished.”
         On Saturday, May 17, Forrest’s and Preston’s Celebration of Life Service was held at the new worship center that seated 3,500 people.  Dawn wore the traditional black, and with integrity and strength, she stood and sat next to her children as the two-hour service took place, during which their oldest daughter Courtney sang “His Eye Is On The Sparrow.”

         Right before the service ended, the only request Dawn made was for the congregation to sing “Shout To The Lord”.  Lunch was provided for the thousands of church members, friends, and family who attended the service.  The lines to see Dawn were long and lengthy and, finally, about an hour of standing greeting people, she was exhausted.  An elder from the church recognized her exhaustion and had the remaining people come into the room where she was at, and gave her the microphone to speak.  The new widow spoke only thanks:  thanks that her husband Forrest and son Preston were in Heaven, thanks for all the prayers, and thanks for all the people who came.
         “This was the most difficult journey of my life.  And the most difficult journey I will perhaps ever face in my life.”
But in the end, the Love of her Life, her First Love, would always come to her rescue.
         Before Dawn Pollock fell in love with Forrest, she had fallen in love with another Man they call Jesus, at the age of 11, while living in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. 
Her mother, Margaret Allen, now a retired musician evangelist and her father Lloyd, reared their daughters (Dawn, Tammy and Natalie) to love Jesus, to pray, go to church, read the Bible, and treat others with compassion.  The Allen family held traditions that encouraged their three daughters to have an even deeper relationship with Jesus.

         “Sunday was traditionally a family day.  We did have a Jesus birthday cake and always went to a candle light vigil on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.  New Year’s Eve was always a time to reflect on what we needed to do to mirror Christ.  Our family always prayed before meals, and during family time. 
Things didn’t click for her until she was eleven years old while at home, where she accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior.   Very few people knew that she had now become a born-again Christian until that summer, when she was 12 years old.
         “I made it public at summer camp and I got  baptized.  I went to a church camp every year called “Falls Creek” in Oklahoma.  It was a camp that had 5,000 kids.  We worshiped and spent time with God in small groups and alone.  We had sports in the afternoon and a big service at night.”
           Dawn made another commitment to Jesus:  that she would, on a daily basis, have a quiet time, just Him and her.  It was during these quiet times that Dawn sought Him for comfort and guidance.
         “I had my own quiet time where I’d get alone with Christ and pour my hurts and give praise for all God has brought me through.”
         The next few years of her teen life, Dawn and her sisters traveled with their mother to sing with her.  It was no longer Margaret Allen, but the Allen Singers.

         “We would travel on weekends and share the love of Jesus in churches all around the world.”
         It was on a certain weekend, in Oklahoma, at a Baptist church, that, Dawn first met Dr. Forrest Pollock.  
“He was sitting in the audience and I couldn’t help but notice him in the bright red pants.  We talked afterwards and he called me the next week and asked me out.  It was definitely a God thing.  He asked me to marry him on our second date and we were married 6 months later.  I knew he was the one because I prayed for a mate and I prayed specifically for the character qualities that I wanted in a husband and God blessed me!”

         Forrest was not a pastor at the time, but had a pastor’s heart.  At the time, Forrest was a successful business owner and CEO of PDC Multimedia Productions.  At the age of 25, the National Federation of Independent Businesses named him “Young Business Owner of the Year.”

The couple married in 1990, and went on the traditional honeymoon.  But, after the honeymoon, God called Forrest to the ministry.  Forrest did not remain a businessman for very long; instead he sold his successful business, PDC Multimedia Productions, Inc.  In 1991, he and Dawn moved to Texas, where he attended Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. 
         “God had called us to be in the ministry and we were eager to serve the Lord."

His first church to serve was a Corinth church in Ravenna, Texas.  He became pastor of church growth at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas.  In 1994, he was senior pastor of Rosen Heights Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas.  In 1997, the family moved to Baton Rouge, Louisiana where he was senior pastor of Istrouma Baptist Church.
Dawn loved being the pastor’s wife, and described her first experiences as fun, but she had to learn valuable lessons along the way.
         “I put a lot of expectations on myself that I could not fulfill, such as trying to meet everyone’s needs and or expectations.  I carried this pain around.  I have since learned that God wants to carry the burden for me.”

         In 2002, the couple, now with all of their six children, moved to Brandon, Florida, where Forrest served as senior pastor of Bell Shoals Baptist Church near Tampa.  It was a good move and a good place to serve God, but it was difficult.
         “We always felt comfortable and loved but God did choose to move us as He would call us to another ministry.  That part was always hard.”
         The couple soon felt at home at Brandon, Florida and finally built their own home.   
         The traditions that Dawn was reared in were the same traditions that she and Forrest made in their new home.  Even to this day, these traditions continue.
“We pray before our meals.  We also have family time at 8:30 and go to bed at 9 p.m. every night.  The kids love family time.  It gives us an opportunity to connect.  It always gives us time to thank God for all of His blessings. We read God’s word.  A saying of Forrest’s was that if you read God’s word and get into it, it would change your life.”
That Mother’s Day on May 11, 2008, Pastor Forrest Pollock preached a message titled, “Motherhood:  Not for Sissies” based on Titus 2:1-5:  “You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine.  Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love, and in endurance.  Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers, or addicted to too much wine, but to teach what is good.  Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.”

         After the sermon, Forrest, Preston, and Brooke boarded his single engine plane the Piper PA-32-260. . . .
         Dawn described her life with Forrest and their six children as living the “good life” and living “on top of a mountain.”  Well the good life didn’t feel so good, and she literally fell from the mountain.  It only got worse when the debris of the plane and the remains were discovered in Cold Mountain, North Carolina.  Even then, Dawn turned to Jesus and saturated herself in the Bible.
‘My Lord carried me through and is still carrying me through a very difficult time through His word.  His word is a light unto my path.  The Lord promises that He will never leave me or forsake me.  It also says my rod and my staff will comfort me.” 
It was a struggle and sometimes near impossible to feel comforted, but Dawn endured, while at the same time, going through a deep loneliness.
“You see I lost my husband, my son, my life as I knew it and I lost my ministry.”
She started reading the book of Job and felt comforted and humbled, particularly with the verse from Job 13:15, “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him:  I will surely defend my ways to his face.”
“I knew what didn’t kill me would make me stronger.  I wanted to mirror Christ so that my children would see Christ in reflection, in everyway, in the biggest way.  This is the biggest test of my life.  He doesn’t answer our whys, but He does answer with His presence.”
Unbeknownst do Dawn, Pastor John Cross of South Biscayne Baptist Church in North Port, Florida attended the Celebration of Life for Forrest and Preston.  He had never met Dawn or the children before, but he had met Forrest on numerous occasions. 
He thought of the family off and on and then in December he was concerned about Dawn and the children, and how they would handle their first Christmas without husband and father.  He thought of contacting her but felt that it wasn’t appropriate; she’d only been a widow seven months.

While John was praying for the family, Dawn was praying to the Lord requesting that He send her another husband.
“I would pour my heart out to him, and quote scripture, that He did not intend for man to be alone.  When you have a great marriage you want to get married again.”
John had numerous pastor friends who encouraged him to get in touch with Dawn.  And so, with the help of the newest technology, Facebook, John did just that.
“He prayed for us as we were going through this trial.  He began to wonder how we were doing.  He looked me up on Facebook and we started talking and we started getting to know one another.  The kids were drawn to him as well.”
When Dawn first introduced John to her children, her children were eager to meet this man that was courting their mother; so eager, that each lined up in the living room waiting impatiently for him.  There was not one uncomfortable moment, and the five children and John connected right away, laughing, sharing, joking, and even reminiscing about their late father and late brother.
The next big step was to connect with Dawn’s parents, and, finally, when he knew God wanted them to be a couple, he asked for her father and mother’s blessing.
On May 17, 2009, in Sarasota, Florida, John proposed to Dawn, presenting her with a ring that he designed.  John proposed the romantic and traditional way, bending on one knee and telling her he loved her and he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her.  Dawn said yes without hesitation.  

The couple married on August 9, 2008 at South Biscayne Baptist Church.

All five children are open and feel free to ask their mother questions, such as, “Do you love him more than you loved Daddy?” or “Do you love him more than you love me?’” 
  “I tell them, ‘I loved your daddy and your daddy had mentioned several times that if he was to ever go to heaven before me … that he wanted me to remarry because he wanted the children and me to be taken care of.  I’ve told them John is not replacing their daddy, but as we read a book and it has different chapters, this is just a different chapter in the book of our life. That seems to resonate with them, seeing that we’re just in a different chapter and you still remember all the other chapters.” 
         Chapters are the best way to describe her life.  She refuses to remain at the bottom of the mountain when tough times come.   She likes to compare the chapters in her life to that of eras in her life.
“It is the end of an era in my life, but not the end of my destiny.  Pain is inevitable but misery is optional.  You have to die to live and they are very much alive, living now.”
         Now Dawn is back living “the good life” and on the mountaintop, where God wants her and the children to be.  And now a widow gained a new husband and five orphaned children have gained a father – John Cross adopted the five children, each child bearing both their late father’s name and John’s name – Pollock Cross.
         “They are so excited and love the addition to our family.  We are now serving the Lord together in North Port, Florida.”
         John, before he met Dawn, had purchased three acres of lake property as a retreat for pastors.  God had something else in mind, and though He still wanted him to purchase the land and build his house, instead of a retreat for pastors, it is now a home for his very own wife and his own five children, whom he describes as thrilling, even at their loudest. 

         John married Dawn at the age of 46, and had never been married before.  He was prepared to live his life as a single person if that was what the Lord had in mind, even if it meant him being surrounded by loneliness.  Once Dawn and the children came into his life, the loneliness went away.

 Now, the father is taking his two sons fishing in the lake in their backyard; being the father of the bride to his oldest daughter Courtney (he walked her down the aisle this past May),  and being grandfather to his two grandchildren Eliza and Ezra by his second oldest daughter Brooke and her husband Nick. 

         “I love it!” John said.   


  1. Story of how our pastor met his beautiful wife and her 5 amazing children

  2. Pas. John and family you are an example and symbol of God's love.

    1. such a lovely story and prod to know John cross and miss Dawn and love there children May they have many years together God Bless

  3. Dr.cross bell shoals is without a pastor do u mind if I submit your name to the pastor search committee