Hello world. It has been a while. A lot has changed since I have had word vomit on you last. So this blog is sort of an update on life, but mostly the hard lessons I am sitting in the middle of, and my desperate attempt to believe in what is true.
About two months ago, I left The River. The River is my home. It is the church I came to know Jesus in, and it is the place where I met most of the people I call family. Not we are brothers and sisters in Christ family. Real we do holidays together, eat meals together, drive each others cars family. It is the place I learned to serve, and there fore learned to lead. It is the place I always came back to. You could say , it is the house that built me. There is no place that I have ever loved more, or invested more of myself in.
So why did I leave right? If I love something so much why did I leave? Honestly I ask that question sometimes. The truth is because I love God more. So cliche I know. But still true. I left because it was time to. God asked me to, and so I did. Not because of staff changes, or personal disagreements, or any form of disunity. Because God called me to invest in a new community, and just attending The River, will never be an option for me. I tried to invest in both communities for a while, but quickly fell flat on my face and had to choose. I had to choose the place God was calling me to. At the end of the day there are no other options. I know that there will be a few people who will want to argue with me on this. I want to be really clear, that even when things are hard, or don’t go my way, or even look hopeless, I will always, always, always stay where God calls me to be, regardless of the circumstances that surround me.
This transition has been anything but easy. I know that I should be excited about this new season and I am. I promise you I am. I am also grieving the dreams, hopes, and plans I had for myself. I feel like God has given me a glimpse of my future, and an idea of what my calling is. So I fit my calling, and future into the bubble of The River. I knew what role I wanted to play , and even where I wanted my office to be in that church. I have dreamed about what ministry would look like there, and the people I would serve and what those relationships would look like. Leaving The River isn’t just hard because of the plans I leave behind, but because the church is the people. Not the building. I dreamed of a future with the people of The River. This is hard for me because growing up the bottom always fell out and people always left. There was no point in dreaming because things never worked out the way you wanted them to. So I finally let myself dream. Then two months ago God opened His hand and asked for those dreams. I have reluctantly handed them over, and now here I am. Clinging to what I know is true about God, and His promises, and grieving the things I have worked so hard for and so deeply anticipated.
What I know to be true is that God has a plan for me.(Jer. 29:11-13), a plan that leads me into deeper understanding of Him. I think this verse gets mis-interpretted a lot. We think that a plan that doesn’t bring us harm, means a plan where we don’t get hurt. The reality is, that a plan that prospers us is one that leads us directly into intimacy with God. I know that as I give up my plans, and dreams I will be greatly benefited because in His plan I seek Him and FIND HIM!!!! I also know that His dreams for me are way better than mine. (Eph. 3:20).
I am learning to trust God with my future. My friend Julie always says, “Let go, and let God Melinda!”(please don’t call me Melinda. It is not my name and I don’t like it. ).So I am letting go of my future because I know that My God who promises me a future is faithful. (Heb. 10:23). Well I know with my head anyway. I am still learning to believe it. I am also banking on the truth that God is the place that I can place my hope and not be disappointed.(Romans 5:3-5). That the bottom won’t fall out with Him. That even though the desires of my heart seem lost forever, He will restore them.(Jer. 29:14). I am trying to remember to delight in Him, because that is where I find the true desires of my heart (Psalms 37:4). The truth is the true desires of my heart only come from Him. I desire to set captives free, love well, build the church, fight for the kingdom, and spend my life investing in the leaders that will change the world. There is no way any of those desires come from me. The part of the dream that is missing was probably my selfish desire more than the one He want’s to give me.
In scripture I have noticed that as God takes away He will return with double portion(double what we gave up). He gives us something better. Job received a double portion for all he lost. (Job 42:10), and the prodigal son received a party instead of a life sentenced to servanthood (Luke 15: 11-31). When we exchange our plans for God’s will He always gives above and beyond. So as I step back and look at the big picture, only part of the dream is missing. A very important part. A very important community. I am fighting to believe that the community I left behind, I will experience in a new way, with abundant life. I am asking God to move my heart to expect Him to replace my shame, with a double portion of joy. (Is. 61:7), to help me believe that as I sit in His presence I will find my way (Psalm 16:11), and to expect blessing,favor, and joy as I walk in obedience to Him (Job 36:11). This part is hard. It is hard to receive the grace that is required with a gift you didn’t earn. Why would God give me something that was more valuable than the sacrifice I gave? Because He promised to. I am desperately seeking God for the faith that I need to believe in His promises and His faithfulness in this area of my life. Join me?
What has God asked you to give up? Was there great reward?
When do you find it hard to trust God? Is it with your future? Your family? Your love life?
It is hard for me to expect God to give me more than I gave up. What about you? Easy or Hard?
Any tips on how you have learned to live in expectancy of God’s promises?
Let the conversation begin…