Ahhhh…my keyboard. I have been so busy lately I have not been able to peck away at these keys and I forgot how therapeutic it is for me. It feels marvelous…and I need marvelous right now. I can’t sleep; today was a bit emotional (HA…that is an understatement for me, I know!).
Ok, so first let me just say, God does NOT always use us in the way we THINK He is going to and I learned that fact today in a way I never thought I would know.
Some back story is required because many have no earthly idea what I am talking about!
SO, back in about August I was browsing good ole Indeed (a job site) and put out my resume. It was bravery at its finest! (I kid). Anyway, I got a response from this great church in Northern Michigan…a beautiful church in a beautiful place full of what we found to be beautiful people. SO I get an email, a few phone interviews, a couple video interviews, THEN these wonderful people pay for me and Scott to go up there and check things out (and have an IRL interview of course). This is probably the most exciting and scary thing I have ever taken a chance on, and God was talkin loud so I had to listen.
We go up to this gorgeous place with these great people in the amazing church and just hit it off with all of them. Seriously. Neither Scott nor I have ever felt so comfortable…so at home with a group of people we have never met. And we were getting grilled for real…like a grand inquisition! But it all felt right…mostly.
On Sunday I was getting a tour of the children’s department from this beautiful soul and she seemed so much like me in the way she loved what she was doing. She seemed like she was relishing in the delight of teaching children and leading them; she was working with those who were working with the children…it was meshing. SO (because God is kinda funny this way sometimes I guess) I had to ask her why she didn’t take the job. THIS could have been my down fall, but I still don’t regret anything.
She told me her story and it is a story that was similar in ways to my own story except she was on the opposite side that I was on. Her best friend left the church and she was so convicted by this. I felt her heart break as my own, and I don’t say this lightly. I have been the one who had to leave, I know very well the feeling of the other person, but here I was feeling the pain of the one who stayed. We all have to follow where He leads, but for some reason I felt the conviction of this girl fully on my own heart. So much so that I brought it up in the meeting Scott and I had with two of the pastors the next day…like I said this could have been my undoing…but I stand behind always being honest even when it doesn’t go the way I wanted it to…even when it hurts.
Fast-forward to today…I get a call from them telling me that, though she and they thought she wasn’t the person for the job, turns out she was running away (Jonah!) from God’s call and she feels a conviction to give it a shot. Before I go on, I want to say that though this was so hard for me to hear because my heart is there, I am so proud of this girl. The position she has put herself in is a vulnerable one and she could possibly lose her best friend over it, so I know she does not take this lightly. If you ever read this sweet sister in Christ, please know that I really and truly am proud of you. Often listening to God’s call makes our personal lives sticky…I know, girl. I have literally been there, and it is hard. I have no bad feelings toward you or anyone at the church, and I am proud of all of you for following your convictions.
But, ya, bummer for me, though! Now I am sitting here late this night and wondering what in the world God is asking me to do. We do feel the call to this place, we know God has plans for us, but what are they? Why would he send us on this LONG journey just to have us stay where we are? Is there a place for us here and if so, how do we discern this (how fitting that right now in my personal Bible reading I am in I Kings…I JUST read tonight about Solomon asking for wisdom!)? I mean, I gotta tell you guys, the path to Michigan seemed so ready and steady and straight that this has really shaken me a bit. I was convicted when this person told me her feelings, but was also assured that they knew it wasn’t her job…that it wasn’t where God was sending her. Obviously convictions change…so where do we go from here?
I always hear people say that “when God closes a door he always opens a window” and other “inspirational” things, but have you ever had the door slammed in your face? And really, who wants to crawl through a window? (I am really speaking in jest, but seriously). I gotta ask ya, the way we felt up there, the people we connected with…what was the reason if not to lead us there? God places people in paths for His reasons…did he REALLY fly us across the country for the Spirit to convict someone that she was running away? Did we really meet all those amazing people once to never see them again? I mean, the guys who drew lots on the boat with Jonah were already on the boat…already on their way! This was foreign to us!
So…what is meant for us and does it involve this particular church. I pictured a future for us there…I pictured the people, the place; all of it because it felt real, but now it isn’t. And now I am a little lost. If I am being honest, I did struggle very much with the final decision to leave Oklahoma because I love my family and this is familiar and comfortable, but at supper one night in Michigan someone much wiser than I reminded me that God often calls people away from their comforts (more specifically their families). It would be a piece of cake to continue to minister in my comfort zone, too easy some might say. So this change of events He brought about has me so very confused.
If I seem a jumbled mess it is because I really am right now! It is late and the day has been LOOOOONG! But I am so curious now. We still feel our hearts there, so what is it pulling us? This seemed so right, but wasn’t…what else could it be? The way things played out really appeared from this side as though God was literally going to pick us up and carry us there whether we agreed or not (LOL…he really does that you all)! I knew whatever path we took would be difficult after I met the people we met there but I was truly unprepared for how I felt after the call today…I think I felt just as sad as I did when I told my family I was probably GOING to move…and to top it off I kind of feel like I let my family down, though they don’t think that, that is just my wonderful humanity shining bright!
So alas! Here I am a jumbled mess of letters placed together to strategically form words, sentences, paragraphs, and essentially another part of my story. You guys, I am still wandering (yes, with an ‘a’). I do not have Moses or Joshua here to guide my direction…I have Christ, though. And while I am not seeing the path lay out clearly before me right this moment, I know He will bring about his will and it will be done. I am a bit taken aback by today, it was quite unexpected, but I know His ways are higher than mine. I know that He guides me with his righteous right hand. He leads me; he is my Fortress, my Stronghold, my Shelter, my Armor, my Strength, and my Shepherd. He is my Savior. He is grace and I will find his guidance and direction even if it is not where I thought it was leading. This knowledge certainly does not make it easy; it just makes it His way, which is, of course, always right.
So I am here humbly asking for prayer for guidance for myself and my family. Lord, take us where You would have us go and let our lives bring You the glory.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:9 NIV).
“I bow my head to pray. I know You hear each word I say, I’m pouring out my heart to You like water. I have faith; I have faith; I have faith in You. I know the road is long and we don’t always get to understand it all, but we are asking, God, help us to trust You anyway. For every mile we walk, for every sorrow that seems to break our hearts, would You give us strength to face each day in Your Grace” (Smith, Faith in You, 2007).