Monday, March 22, 2010

the long and the short of it
(but more of the long of it)

My husband and I have made a move we never anticipated,
we never planned,
it has been painful, difficult, and awkward for me

I think I am going through the stages of grief

I really do

We have just transferred our membership to a different church
after being part of one for 31 years.


When I recognized a change was immediately ahead I became anxious inwardly due to our numerous connections over decades, the comfort of the known, the traditions we'd long loved,
the service in the body of Christ that God had gifted and equipped us for,
and the history we had shared, a place of belonging

I was inwardly looking backwards even as we moved forward outwardly

That is not easy to do, nor safe to do

That is not the way to live as a Christ follower.

I have had to recognize I was learning another trust lesson

I asked myself as I thought about my feelings
- did I honestly think God had no place of service in this new church?
(I had those thoughts, fleeting, but I did have them)
So after asking myself 'what is troubling your soul, girl?

I recognized the grief and lack of faith I felt
so I literally held out my hands, palms up and offered up all those concerns:
my service, my gifting, the things I had come to adore doing in the body of Christ,
my familiar place of worship, friends, service,
(everything I knew I valued) to Him as an act of faith

I had to face thoughts, hidden ones I had not yet realized, thoughts that weren't true:
Did I honestly think, that I would be set on a shelf forever forgotten, unneeded,
or now that we were 'new' in a church, become forever an "unknown"?

This is not truth, I know this -
yet I can't see what is ahead clearly, no one can
and I have been asked to serve using my gifting,
which took my breath away and gave me a glimmer of hope
(I praise Him for the hope given to me)
but as yet nothing is clear or certain or planned, and so I wait.
Telling myself to trust. He gave me a place before,
He is able to do so again.

I want to be a part OF this new body - like yesterday
but more than that I want it to be in God's time, His way, His leading,
not my emotions, my needs to belong, etc.

We are willing to take time to watch, observe, listen, learn,
and get the feel of a new-to-us church. . .
to be a part of this body. . .
to learn who is gifted in what, to enjoy their service,
to thank God for their examples

Tonight I had a moment of grief, I've shed tears, again.

I realize that I long for a friend or two in our new-to-us church
I have precious friends, especially two or three dear sisters-in-Christ at our former church
we are still in touch, but we don't regularly meet due to our different locations of worship now

I am waiting for the new ones I shall find in our new-to-us church.
I'm doing my part, honest!

I'm watching, smiling, talking, inquiring of others, offering to assist, waiting, and giving God time.

We've been in this transition since mid-October when we ceased attending our former church.

God had indeed led us, we realized that immediately

We have attended their 'potential members' classes and learned what they believe,
and what they ask of their members.
We readily welcome the call to be disciples of Christ, to attend church regularly,
no matter where we are on a Sunday,
to be readers of God's Word, pray-ers, servers within the church,
to be in fellowship with people within the church, and within our community,
to be mission minded near and far

It is a setting we have longed for
- I did not know we would experience this in America.
I really did not.

But God did.....

I have a new sense of deep gratitude for God leading us
to this place that feels more like home to me
than any church I've ever been a member of to this point in my life.

Testing 1, 2, 3.....?
A few years ago we were asked to consider move
to another city in our state for my husband's work,
I was ready to make that transition even then as we were already feeling restless,
I realized then that it would not have been terribly painful to move elsewhere
as our roots were not deep within the church.
I was grieved to recognize this.

And the move did not happen.

Now I wonder if it wasn't a 'test'.
I knew then that God would be in the move,
He would lead us to a new church home.
He would lead us to friends through the new church,
new neighborhood, and new places of work.

So while we did not move our physical belongings then,
God gave me a chance to consider the possibility.

Our move is a transfer to another place of worship within our city.
I know others do this, have done it and lived to thrive. I'm just not 'there' yet.

I'm in the faith stage. . . trusting without seeing, believing without experiencing.

Today I read this quote in our new church's Daily Devotions for the Lenten Season
which says it well for all of us, wherever we find ourselves in the midst of changes: inward or outward.

Wherever you go, God is sending you,
wherever you are, God has put you there;
He has a purpose in your being there.
Christ who indwells you has something He wants to do through you where you are.
Believe this and go in His grace and love and peace.

Rev. Richard C. Halverson

So dear friends of our former church,
we do not leave our friendships behind,
we're worshipping just a few blocks away
from where we used to meet with you.
We love you, always will.
We look forward to running into you in stores,
restaurants, parks, on Facebook, etc.

And to our future new friends -
I look forward to the time I begin to recognize who you are.
I am ready to walk life in Christ with you.
I hope to introduce you to my friends of the past decades
I can't wait to learn from you and to share with you.
I will love you always, too.

Truths For Life
I was glad when they said to me,
"Let us go to the house of the LORD."
Our feet are standing within your gates, O Jerusalem,
Jerusalem, that is build as a city that is compact together;
to which the tribes go up, even the tribes of the LORD
An ordinance for Israel -- to give thanks to the name of the LORD.
For there thrones were set for judgment, the thrones of the house of David.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem
May they prosper who love you.
May peace be within your palaces.
For the sake of my brothers and my friends,
I will now say, "May peace be within you."
For the sake of the house of the LORD our God,
I will seek your good.

Psalm 122

1 comment:

AuburnChick said...

Oh my! Kudos to heeding God's voice. My husband and I changed churches nearly ten years ago, and it was tough, tough, tough. I'm not sure that I ever fully recovered as I am shy and not keen on meeting new people.

I just know that God will use you mightily in your new church home.

Hugs to you.