See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. ~ Isaiah 43:19
Are you trying to dig something up that has been dead, buried and funeralized (as we used to say in the flower business)? I’ve been doing just that and I didn’t even know it. Let me explain.
Recently, as I sat in Bible study, the leader asked if anyone wanted to share something they had worked hard at and pursued only to have God move them out of it.
Immediately a response came from behind me. “I think leaving a church is like that. It’s hard to give up a fellowship you love and move to another place of worship.”
Being in this very position, I shouted a loud Amen!
Then they began talking about how it’s not our church, but God’s. When He tells us to move out of a place of comfort into something new and different, we shouldn’t hold onto it. Nor should we begrudgingly let go. We should look forward to what God has in store for us and leave the past behind.
Over a year ago, God began leading my family and me out of our church. The church my husband was born in, along with both of his parents. The church I’d been a member of for 33 years. The church where both of our children are members.
To say leaving was like losing an appendage is an understatement. I was used to having my church family to lean on and celebrate with. Removing ourselves has hurt more than I ever could have guessed. I’ve cried many tears over this decision, asking God repeatedly why He wanted us to leave. I only know it was an unmistakable call.
Never in my adult life had I faced the question on Saturday night of where to go to church tomorrow morning. As the weekend approached, the now familiar dreaded words run through my mind:
Where do we go?
What do we do?
This must be how the Isrealites felt, wandering aimlessly in the wilderness.
In the beginning, I hated facing Sunday mornings, not knowing where to go. Thankfully, our daughter is a student at North Greenville University and is on the Joyful Sound worship team. They travel to different churches most weekends and, mercifully, many of their concerts last year were close enough for us to attend.
We have now been attending another wonderful church for several months. The members in our couple’s Sunday School class are so open about sharing how God is working in their lives and honest about the struggles they face. The worship service music ushers me into the presence of God and the pastor brings sermons that stir the soul.
But it’s still hard, feeling like we’re a piece of a puzzle that doesn’t know where it fits.
So, when the subject of leaving churches came up at Bible study, I was right there in the midst of what the lady behind me was saying. As the conversation progressed, it was as if a weight had been squarely placed on my heart. God brought conviction. I realized the reason I was still having such a hard time accepting the move; bitterness. Tears stung at my eyes as I finally got the fact I’d been standing in God’s way to do something good through this move. Instead of graciously looking for Him to work through this situation, I’ve been a pouty little girl who wants her own way, making sure everyone knows how much she dislikes this whole idea.
Driving home after the study, I was so ashamed of my attitude. I’ve asked God to forgive my pride and self-righteousness, but it still hurts to know how stubborn I’ve been. I’ve struggled with the fact He took me and my family out of a place where we were recognized and acknowledged, to somewhere we feel lost and out of place.
But now I know why it’s been so hard. I have to let go and bury it. Not begrudgingly, but with joy and anticipation of this next chapter He has for us. I’m grateful He gave me this revelation and want to be humble and submissive to His will. Clinging to something He’s told me to give up is like hanging on to a corpse. Nothing I do can bring it back to life, nor should it. I only want Gods best for us, and now look forward with expectation to what He’s going to do in this new place.
I’m thinking eventually God may have me write a book called, Sunday’s Coming! What do we do? We’ll see if He keeps taking me down that road 🙂 If He does, you’ll be the first to know.
Has God been leading you away from something or someone for reasons you don’t understand?I’d love to hear about it.