Friday, August 19, 2016

This might hurt a little....

Sometimes I am bad about not listening. Actually, if you want to know the truth, its obedience with which I do not do well. Sure, if it is something to break the feel of a mundane life, I am full steam ahead. Even if it is crazy, like adopting a child when we are a single income family of seven already. I don't doubt God's goodness or faithfulness in the areas that He leads. I am always up for a great adventure. On the contrary, if I feel like its going to cause me pain, I may falter. If it might cause me to struggle within, I might act like Jonah and go the other direction, causing turmoil and discord in my converse path. A few years I began to feel a struggle within my own spirit. God was preparing me...all of us...for a good work. This good work scared me and I did not want any part of it initially. I knew there was going to be a breaking of something. I knew there was potential for heart hurts. I don't like heart hurts. I like happy. And I love being filled. I had been spiritually dry for a long time. I have tried to remedy the problem my own way for a time. Encourage change here. Be the change there. Dive in the try to plug holes that were desperately leaking until my tired hands and feet just could not reach out and plug another hole. Eventually I was exhausted from the struggle, and the Still Small Voice asks again if I was ready. "Do you trust me?" I cannot say that God made me miserable until I would listen and obey, but I certainly did. And I was just that. I was exhausted, miserable, dry and depleted. Finally in all of my frustration, waving my white flag and surrendering to His will felt easy. I allowed Him to take me from familiar, even comfortable. There was love there. I new the expectations and was meeting them. However the status quo was no longer meeting my needs, nor my family's needs. I can say "I" all day long, nevertheless I mean "us". God was not just asking me to do anything. He was asking our entire family to do this thing together. All I can give an account for, personally, are my own feelings. Alas, my feelings were not the only ones that could be affected, even bruised, or worse crushed.
We  had been a part of Hillcrest Baptist Church for almost ten years. This was the first real, committed church family that we ever had. We arrived with two babies in tow into welcoming arms. I will always remember the warmth. The memories that I have made will always bring that comforting feeling to my soul. God grew me in the word at this church more so than any other time in my life. He opened my eyes to what church community looked like. He introduced me to service and He certainly took me out of my comfort zone more than once. He calmed my fears as He invited me to lead bible studies for the first time. He thrust me into more leadership roles, where I discovered ways to use the gifts of organization and teaching that He has given me. It was through a brother at Hillcrest that Marcus and I were introduced to a discipleship community where we still remain active. I gained a greater sense of who I was as a daughter of Christ and more importantly I learned to hone the skill of discerning the voice of God. So when He beckoned, I knew it was Him.
God had been calling us to leave our church. I love that the Lord does not pressure us to step out of the boat. I should be more like Him in that respect. Instead He shows His great love by placing us in just the right place at just the right time. The stars align, so to speak. Scattered over the course of years, He placed me in the company of women whom I grew to greatly admire. Women who struggled with things that I struggled with. I met women who had adopted, which was a breath of fresh air. I met women who had large families. Women who had such dissimilar personalities as mine that I instantly felt like I needed to know them. He then placed me in a book study with a group of ladies, none of which were at my church. Many of which belonged to a church I would call my home one day. I began to feel like I could brave stepping out into an unknown. After much prayer and discussion with Marcus, we did just that.
When we discussed with our family, that God was guiding us in a new direction, there was an assortment of emotions. Tears, anger, excitement, and ambivalence. We understood and merely asked that they all keep an open mind. Change is hard. Marcus went to an informational meeting about City Fellowship Baptist Church before we ever attended a service. Our idea was to get a feel for the atmosphere and the set-up for our big brood. In our minds we needed them to be prepared. We walked into City Fellowship for the first time April 3, 2016. I must say we were amazed. It felt like a revival service. Our kids enjoyed it too. We officially joined City Fellowship Baptist Church on August 7, 2016 and the rest is history!
We still see our Hillcrest friends on Wednesday nights when our kids attend the AWANA program. They have new friends and old friends, and so do we. God has shown Himself so very faithful to us. Where my mind thought that we had to give up friendships that were very dear to us, that was not the truth. We have kept many friends and made many more. Our spirits have been refreshed and we love our new City family. God has blessed us abundantly!

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