I love when the weather perfectly reflects the place in my heart. It seems as though it invites me to a place of deep thought and openly welcomes me to be still and reflect on the Lord.
These past two months, the whole of this new year, have thus been very surprising and contrary to what I expected. Within the past few weeks, I have felt very out of place, a feeling that has become more and more familiar to me as the years pass.
A couple weeks ago I stepped down from my place of leadership with youth and children at my church. It was incredibly difficult, but I knew the Lord had been clear in saying that He intended this door to be closed. The path the groups were going was contrary to my beliefs and convictions. After receiving the brunt of hurtful words and accusations, I followed the Lord’s lead and stepped down.
I’ve seen through this series of conversations and events that I am in a very peculiar place. The church that I have loved for nearly 3 years is going down a path, though not contradictory to Scripture, that is not the path the Lord has called me to go down. It’s as though you’re walking with this incredible group of believers that you admire and respect and then you come to a crossroad that no one even hesitates at except you. They quickly all take a path, leaving you looking at the path not taken wondering why they aren’t taking that one.
You dismiss your second thoughts and begin to follow them when a Guide shows up and says, “You are supposed to take the other one.”
“But everyone else…”
“You are not everyone else.”
What makes this so difficult is that it is not a major theological issue, but one that is, however, extremely important to the heart God has placed in me.
And so you give one last look to the group you shadowed for so long, and you call out to them saying, “Hey! I’m gonna go this other way! I’ll see you around!” But instead of it being ok, this decision you made becomes almost equal to sin and wrongdoing. Accusations and assumptions are made that leave you confused and hurting. You know what the Guide told you, but you begin to question it. Doubts and fears bombard you until you barely know up from down.
The group turns their back with mixed looks of pity and anger, leaving you left to wonder why you are the only one who is considering this other path. Are you being fooled? Is this a trick? You know what you heard; you know you’re supposed to do this. Then why are you alone?
Friends, this place has become a reality to me. The Lord has called me to step away from a body of believers I have come to love so much. I do not understand the full reasoning of God in calling me to a new church, but I trust him. It is so peculiar to me that amongst believers division can result from the very Truth we stake our lives on. But this is the place I find myself.
With the help of my dear Savior, I was able to forgive those who hurt me deeply during this transition. As difficult and trying as it has been, even now I see God’s grace in it. I feel his love and delight on a daily basis. He sees my hurt and gently encourages me, picking me up and kissing my forehead. He has already presented a new community group through conversations only possible through Him.
It is a strange place to be, but it is a season where the above quote rings true. I have to remember that it is ok to not do what everyone else is doing, even when that “everyone else” is the church.
Just because you are the only one doing something doesn’t mean you are wrong.
God has comforted me with reminders of the prophets of the Old Testament who stood alone for Truth and the Lord, pillars of faith like Martin Luther, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Joan of Arc, and so many others.
I love community and know it’s extreme importance. It’s importance is unparalleled and that is why I know God provided a new one for me. It is crucial that we seek wisdom and guidance from those we love and trust, but most important to seek wisdom and guidance from God. I felt peace when I stepped down, though it was amidst much pain. I feel his leading me to a new season, and I still love all my brothers and sisters in Christ in my old church. I miss them very much, but I know the Lord is calling me to a new place.
“He sent from on high, he took me; he drew me out of many waters. …He brought me out into a broad place; he rescued me, because he delighted in me. … This God – his way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.” (2 Samuel 22)
If I have learned anything it is this: If a brother or sister in Christ is called to something without a doubt in their mind and it does not contradict Scripture in any way, then support and encourage them even if their plans don’t line up with yours. God’s ways are not our own. Rather, they are far above our own.
“Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” (Proverbs 19:21)
I have grown so much in these past few weeks. I am so grateful to the Lord for holding me through this transition. I feel his firm grip as He leads me to take this leap of faith. I know that even when I lose my grip, He won’t let go.
May you feel His firm grip holding you strong. He is faithful to His children. The Bride of Christ is Holy, and even when we quarrel and make a mess of things, we are still One in Him. Let us as 1 Thessalonians 5:11 says, “Encourage one another and build each other up”. Blessings!