You know when you can look back and see things from such a clearer perspective than when you are actually going through it? I feel like looking back is giving me such incredible clarity.
I wrote this post yesterday but lost it all. Maybe that’s a good thing. I’ve been (probably) over-thinking in the last day about the last two years. But it’s been healthy…good even, to rethink it.
I am going to start in a different place than I had originally started from.
Two years ago I was driving in the beautiful autumn weather and God impressed something on my heart. We had been going along very well in church. There were new people coming in the door, our kids program was humming a long, the youth program had been started and people were EXCITED!! It seemed that God was doing something BIG. We were on the precipice of something grande. Hope was alive everywhere. We weren’t perfect but it was good.
Then I received a word from the Lord, driving down that road. He impressed in my heart that it was going to get hard. He gave me some specifics about what that would look like. When I get a word from the Lord, I do not pretend to assume that what I heard was correct until after it passes.
This word was hard because it included people I cared about deeply and I begged God to work a different way. I hoped it would just be proven that I had a crazy imagination.
Then Christmas came and a situation arose that had far reaching implications. In being a pastor to a few, The Reverend found himself in the middle of a difficult situation and seemed to get the short end of a big stick. We ended up hurt and confused and grieving. And we kept it to ourselves. There was little we could do.
It was one of those situations, like in movies where the character finds himself on a precipice and the ground starts to give way, in a shattering pattern. The hero runs for his life as the ground falls into nothingness behind him. Running to stable ground is an all out race and looks death defying and yet, with a leap, a bound or by a catch of a branch the hero snags on to stable ground. He would pick himself up and then realize how close to death he had been.
This year has been one of those years for our church and for us personally. Through loss after loss, due to many reasons we saw people fall away from us. Some through difficult choices they made, some through the choice of moving. Families and couples that have been a steady place for our church started falling away behind us and we began to run for life. All along the way, grieving. Reaching out for the next safe piece of land, only for another piece to be falling away. We were not the only ones left feeling breathless and wondering. The faithful and loving loyal around us also seemed to lose their breath as the ground gave way.
We felt Broken.
There were some very specific times that we asked God what he would like us to do. Should we leave? Should we stay? Where did he want us to go? Self-doubt and grief clouded our vision. We sought the Lord in brokenness. A few times we looked at ways to escape the drama and trauma. Very specifically God told us to STAY. VERY SPECIFICALLY. We could have looked for writing on the wall and it would have said ‘STAY’. We love the church, friends and family here, but we wondered if it was God’s timing for us to go. It wasn’t. It SO wasn’t. I can’t tell you all the ways but it was miraculous and crazy things.
So, we stayed because God said to. Also, in him telling us to stay, in so many ways, we KNEW that there was a greater purpose at work here. We didn’t know what, but we knew there was SOMETHING.Maybe something incredible. That was my feeling.
I felt at peace. I knew God was up to a bigger picture here. I felt peace.
Then, we went to a Pastor’s Retreat in Lake Louise this last November. We were blessed to make it to this event that was incredibly healing for us. In front of 500 people I told them it had been a hard year. I told them that I believed we were on the precipice of miracles. It had been tough but I was looking forward to seeing what God would do in our town, in our church in MY life in the next year. They prayed for us.
As I was worshiping in the presence of the Lord, one morning, I sensed that the Lord had another hard word for me. I had just been praying for restoration in our church, our community, our little family and in our relationship with each other. I just spread my hands out and said “Do what you need to do to restore us.” At that moment, I felt in my spirit “It’s going to get harder than this year was. You think that was hard…. It’s going to be the biggest test of your life”. Knowing that I was speaking to the Lord of the Universe who holds everything in his capable hands I said “Ok.”
And I knew. I knew it would be big. I didn’t want it to be big… but it seems that growth/healing and restoration comes through the difficult. Tears streamed down my face as I realized I TRUST the One who made me. I wanted him to be at work in me. NO MATTER WHAT THAT MEANT.
I didn’t quite want it to be brain tumor big. I mean, that’s big. Too big for me.
It scares the crap out of me. But I still TRUST. I trust because he is Good (don’t worry I will address the question that almost everyone wrestles with which is “Why do bad things happen to good people?” another blog).
I write this to tell you how much God loves us. How he sees the big picture, how he’s working it all out together. He is at work and he works in mysterious ways. He works in different people in different ways because there is a plan. A good plan.
We didn’t move because he didn’t want us to move. There is a bigger thing going on here that we need to stay around for.
From the beginning of my life, God had a plan for me as he does for every person that ever lives. Not every person chooses to live in the potential that he created in us. He has been so good to me. HE is going ahead of me and preparing a way through the hard stuff ahead.
I see incredible promise in this whole thing. I know it sounds strange. Super strange. But I look forward to seeing the beauty of how this whole thing is going to play out.
Would you like peace? A sense of hope? A clear cut purpose or reason for your life? Oh dear ones….ask me how. Through all the crazy ups and downs of this year, we’ve been broken but I’ve had peace. I’ve had hope. I’ve had a crazy sense of purpose…and it is GOOD! It’s not ME. I’m not the strong one. He is. It is supernatural. From Him.