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Bittersweet

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” ~ Jeremiah 29:11

ladies in chattanooga

Our ladies group in Chattanooga

Yesterday was bittersweet.

I attended the wedding shower of a young lady I’ve known for almost two decades. The event was hosted by my former pastor’s wife and held at the church I was a member of for thirty-three years—the church I never wanted to leave.

I pulled into the familiar parking spot behind the fellowship hall, right next to the playground where my kids spent many happy hours. It seemed as if I’d never left. It was home.

Elise, Jacob, Rebecca and Cameron at church

My kids along with Rebecca and Cameron, having fun at our church’s kid’s summer ministry

As I turned the corner of the building I hesitated, wondering how much had changed over the last two years—and how much had stayed the same.

The shower was in full swing by the time I arrived, all of the ladies sitting in a semi-circle around the bride as she unwrapped the stack of gifts. I quickly set mine down and found a seat. Immediately I felt the warmth of old friends as they asked how I was doing and told me how happy they were to see me. The conversation flowed easily with them about the goings-on in my life and I eagerly asked about their families. My dry soul was being quenched by the sweet fellowship we enjoyed.

At The Cove Chapel

At The Cove Chapel

I lingered long past the shower’s end, not wanting to leave the warmth of their circle of love and friendship. They knew me—really knew me—and loved me. Oh, how I long for that again.

Me, Faye Womack and Patricia Wade

Women’s conference with a sweet mentor, Faye Womack, and speaker, Patricia Wade, with her team.

The church my family is attending now has a sweet spirit and the tangible presence of Jesus—it’s why we continue being drawn there each week. The people are kind and friendly, always willing to greet us and help us feel included. But it takes a long time to develop relationships like the ones formed at our home church.

Spa night at The Cove Camp

Spa night at The Cove Camp

I’d been a member of that church since I was a teen and developed and grew in my spiritual walk because of those who took the time to invest in me. They gave me the freedom to teach and develop new ministries while cheering me on all the way. Those precious people will always hold a special place in my heart.

me and Cathy Carter in Chattanooga

Enjoying Chattanooga during a women’s conference with my friend, Cathy Carter

Nashville, TN

Our first major trip to the Renewing the Heart conference in Nashville, Tn

But God has called my family away from there. I’m still not exactly sure why. Maybe it involves getting me out of my comfort zone. It always hurts to leave a place of familiarity—where you know what to expect and what’s expected of you. I’m now in this new place, navigating my way through unfamiliar territory with my type “A” personality that’s no longer in control.

Girls' ministry Christmas party

Our girls’ ministry Christmas party

Now God is the one I need to turn to for support. I’m desperate for Him in this season of change and I know that’s part of His purpose as well. Instead of having a built-in ministry to work from, He’s calling me to forge a new path and develop new, cherished friendships. I don’t know what I’m doing. It’s scary and lonely. But I’m doing my best to be obedient to His call, praying fervently for His direction.

Marriage retreat with Lysa Terkeurst

At a marriage retreat with Lysa Terkeurst, Cathy Carter and our worship leader

If you’re going through a season of loneliness, know that God hasn’t forgotten about you. He’s using this time to stretch you and draw you closer to Him, implementing His perfect plan to give you hope and a future. Trust Him.

The Cove Camp

Women’s retreat at The Cove Camp

Has God drawn you away from your comfort zone?
I’d love to hear about your journey.

2 Comments

  1. I have indeed been there, & I agree, the loneliness is the hardest part.
    Praying you have this need met in unexpected, but delightful ways…as I did. Jesus always provides.

    • Thank you so much, Cyn. I look forward to seeing what delightful ways He’s going to meet my need! Thanks for the encouragement 🙂

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