(June 24, 2017) It was harder than I thought. This morning was my last day serving as pastor of Shaver’s Chapel. I looked across the congregation at people I have grown to love, and who have grown to love me too and just wanted to cry. In fact, before they got there, I danced in the sanctuary one last time, laid on my face before the Lord and cried. I rest in knowing leaving is the right decision, and God has new things for them and for our family, but we left on good terms, and I think that made it harder. This last month has been such an amazing experience. I got to marry a couple I have watched meet and fall in love. I got to baptize a girl who has been raised in that church; I have gotten to pray over people who were nervous, and council someone who needed to forgive. I guess those seem like little things, normal pastor things, but they are significant to me. As I type, I realize that those experiences refute lies I’ve believed: “You’re not making any difference for the Kingdom.”
I’ve been pondering for days if I can make myself as vulnerable as I feel I am supposed to, but I guess it is going to happen… Here goes! I really haven’t felt like I was making any kind of difference in ministry, like people just showed up for church because they always had & that’s what good Christians do. In fact, I haven’t even felt like a good Christian. I have felt distant from God for awhile, like a year. I felt like I was drifting away. I wanted to be close, to hold tight, to have dreams and visions and deep times of prayer, but I couldn’t make it happen.
This is the wall you see when you enter my living room. I have felt so distant that I pondered removing this scripture because it felt like a lie. I wanted it to be true, but in my head it was a lie. I actually also pondered taking down the cross hanging on my wall and any other scripture paraphernalia that might cause me to be a hypocrite. We weren’t doing the list: study the Bible an hour a day, pray, talk about Godly things, go to church, practice hospitality, eat dinner together, have conversations as a family, teach your kids to study, know what you believe on all political issues, no profanity, and ALWAYS BE NICE! You know, good Christian values… oh, and work, and cook (because you’re going to get cancer from all the junk in food if you don’t make homemade, homegrown meals, oh wait… too late🙄 ). I used to do the list, ok, not the cooking part or political issues part, or teaching kids to study part, but I did the rest of the list. Somehow, the list just started to feel fake, like I was pretending. What didn’t feel fake was the anointing. I would still stand up on Sunday morning and God would speak through me. He really did, I was just in awe of his faithfulness in my time of need. I would read scripture and he would bring it alive. I would have a conversation and know He spoke, but the rest of the time, I felt like I was failing. I was an intercessor, for Pete’s sake, and I couldn’t stay awake to pray or read the Bible. I would zone out EVERY SINGLE TIME!
I learned something in Houston. God doesn’t love me because of the list. He loves me because I am his child. (In fact, I haven’t ever found the list in scripture. Parts of it, yes, but this whole jump through my hoops gig I was believing…NO. I got that sucker from people, well meaning people, but the list is trash. It’s a lie.) God didn’t save me so I could perform great feats for him, I’m not that brilliant or important for humanity that the God of the universe needs me, but … he wants me… isn’t that CRAZY? He WANTS ME! HE WANTS YOU! (Don’t get your panties in a wad [hows that for an 80s throw back phrase] we were created for this generation & he calls us to do great things for his glory to be seen among the nations, but he doesn’t NEED us, he WANTS us.) He saved me only because I believe in his Son. He called me & I responded… that is it. He loved me first and that is why I love him, I can claim not part in it. It is all His Goodness!
So I had this moment a few weeks ago. This thought crossed my mind for the millionth time, “I could just walk away from it all.” But I can’t because I cant quit talking to Him. This time, I didn’t agree with the thought. Instead, something in me rose up. I started thinking about Mark 13:22 “For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time.” And Hebrews 2:1 (just this verse was in my head, not the passage) “We must pay careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.” And this ticked me off! I was falling away, but I wasn’t quitting, so my prayer became something like this:
Lord, I cannot hold on to you on my own. I am not strong enough, but I choose you! Help me! I choose you! You are truth, You are love, You are all I need, and I will press in to you with everything the I have. Help me, please. I am desperate!
And he did. And he has been teaching my heart so much through so many different places.
Lesson 1 – Quit meditating on scripture, and what you are supposed to be, and what the church is not (that’s just pride). Instead read scripture and meditate on how great God is.
Lesson 2 – He’s big enough to handle the world without me, and that includes my children’s futures.
Lesson 3 – I don’t have to perform for him. I don’t have to perform for him to love me. I don’t have to perform for him to love me. I don’t have to perform for him to love me. I don’t have to perform to earn his love. His love is not conditioned. His love is unconditional. He loves me. PERIOD, END OF DISCUSSION, QUIT ARGUING.
Lesson 4 – There is a new season coming. Rest in Him until he’s ready to start it. (See lesson 3 when you start doubting this).
Lesson 5 – This one has been rolling around in my spirit for months, but finally made its way into words as I drove to work today: (07/12/17) God is good. His goodness supersedes my interpretation of him.
Food for thought:
I’m doing a study by AJ Jones called Finding Father. I listened to this teaching today that is part 2 of a three part series on the topic. It really stirred my heart. I will be writing more on this later: Father Types
We are multi-churched right now. It feels good. I’m really enjoying interacting with different houses of worship.