Friday, September 9, 2011

Pilgrims

We've had a hard couple of days around here.

And yesterday, after 20 years of calling one church home, we finally came to the decision, that it was time to leave.

It isn't about dramatic statements, or high intrigue drama, it isn't about anything really, other than it was just simply, time to go.

It wasn't a sudden decision, some people, perhaps many, have seen it coming for a while. But it wasn't an easy decision by any stretch of the imagination.

I recommitted my life to Christ in that church. My husband Neal got saved there. The two of us were baptized together there. All of our children were born to us while we were a part of that family. They are the connection through which God brought us Ethan, and they stood with us through many hard things.

And yet, it was just time.

Obedience isn't always easy. The truth is, it's a little how I imagine an amicable divorce would feel. They wish us well, we wish them well, but it still hurts. It still hurts our kids. There are still a thousand little things you have to grieve.

When I thought this morning about my husband and son never going on another Father Son camp out with our church, it felt a lot like someone punched me in the gut. When I see tears fill in my daughters eyes because she won't have her Wednesday night meetings with her girlfriends, it breaks my mother's heart a little. And when I wonder who will decide to reject us because of our decision, I won't lie, it frightens me. I am afraid of hurting, but even more, I am afraid of my kids being hurt.

This is my hope, that people who thought well of us two weeks ago, will still think well of us today. And I hope that people who believed that we are true believers who love and follow Christ will not question that now. I hope the address of where we worship will not change the opinions of our character and our integrity.

It's not easy. God has asked us to step out into an unknown. We don't have a church yet. We have no idea where God is calling us to. And all these past few days I have expressed to the Lord, "I don't want us to be nomads!" That was my word. Nomads. I don't want to be a wanderer.

We have some heavy things going on right now, which made the decision even a little more complicated, but when you know, you know. And when God says go, you go. But after a long meeting in our home with a trusted shepherd to help us through, I headed off to bed.

As tempting as it was not to do my daily reading, I determined that I was going to see through my promise to the Lord about reading my bible passages every day. So in my Bible that I am using for the year through read, there is commentary along side each chapter, excerpts from assorted books. And the excerpt was by Max Lucado and his book And the Angels Were Silent. It talked about how one of God's favorite words is "Come." Come you who are weary... Come you who are thirsty... Come. And it said, "God is a God who invites. God is a God who calls. God is a God who opens the door and waves his hand pointing pilgrims to a full table." And as I read that, it registered with my spirit.

The word "pilgrim" stood out to me. And I felt like the Lord was saying, that we are not in fact becoming nomads, but for a season, we are becoming pilgrims. So I had to look up the words.

nomad - 1. a member of a people or tribe that has no permanent abode but moves about from place to place, usually seasonally and often following a traditional route or circuit according to the state of the pasturage or food supply. 2. any wanderer; itinerant.

pilgrim - 1. A religious devotee who journeys to a shrine or sacred place. 2. One who embarks on a quest for something conceived of as sacred.

I felt like there was a promise for us in the difference between those two definitions. And it is what I am holding onto right now.

Yesterday when I picked V up at school and told her that our departure from our church was inevitable, she began to cry. I spoke Jeremiah 29:11 over her as we stood on her school campus and tried to comfort her. "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." Later when we got home, she was working on her school verse with her dad.

It was Jeremiah 29:11-12, "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. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. I said, "Victoria! Do you see? God wants you to know that verse is for you!

This morning I asked her how she was doing. And she said, "Mom, did you hear in my verse how it said if I prayed God would listen? Well, I prayed last night he would help me fall asleep before your meeting so I wouldn't get up and bother you." And she said, "And I think just before I fell asleep, maybe, I might have heard God speak to my heart."

I asked her what she thought she heard. She said, "He said, 'I have a plan.'"

Yes, He does.

Please say a prayer for our family. Transition is hard, but God is good.

3 comments:

JESSICA RENSHAW said...

Brought tears to my eyes. What a precious distinction between "nomad" and "pilgrim." (I thought your reading was going to turn out to be about Abraham.)And I love God's personal confirmation to your daughter.

Can't remember where you live but if God leads you to Long Beach, you're welcome to join us at Grace, 36th and Linden, 9:30 or 11:00. GREAT bunch of enthusiastic, Jesus-joyful young people (all ages) and a few of us old ones!

Love,
Jessica and Jerry

Bobbie said...

Thanks for sharing that. I love to see God working in kid's hearts. I know it's hard to leave a church after a long time. We did it last year and it has been so good for us. We found another church quickly but only because we stopped looking at churches that fit what we wanted and let God take us to the right one.

His Girl said...

nomad. pilgrim.

oooooh!


thanks for switching the light on.