A Year. 365 days. 8760 hours. 525,600 minutes.
A year ago I started a journey that has changed my life. A year ago I was riddled with deep anxiety, heavy stress, full of uncertainty, insecurity, unworthiness. I was broken. The last year of my life had finally caught up with me and all the emotions I’d stuffed away and all the things I didn’t want to deal with and accept had finally found me. All of those things surrounded me as a force to be reckoned with. It sounds dramatic, but it really was one of the most pitiful points of my life. See, I’d spent the previous year trying to heal myself. Patching my gaping wounds with bandaids and trying to craft glue my broken fragments back together. The bandaids only held in the infection and the hurt that was brewing underneath the surface. The craft glue only furthered the cracks within.
I was at a place in my life where something had to change. I knew exactly who people wanted me to be, but I no longer knew the identity the Lord had for me. I knew who I was in the world, but not in Christ.
But see, a year ago yesterday all of that changed. February 22, 2015. I was sitting in church that morning. The same church I’d been hiding in for the last 6 months. I liked the church, but I handled gotten involved because I didn’t want people to know and to see how broken I was. I also couldn’t handle the idea of growing close to one more group of people and being hurt by them.
As I was sitting in that worship service I heard the voice of the Lord. Not audibly, but just as clear as if He had slipped into the chair beside me and started a conversation. In that moment the Lord spoke some things to me that I’ll never forget. Some things that I have seen come to fruition and some other things I’m still waiting on. See, I’d been running from the call of ministry that the Lord had placed on my life. My parents were children’s pastors and I didn’t want to follow in their footsteps. I didn’t want to pick up the legacy. I’d already been an interim Children’s Pastor and I had loved the experience, but ended up wanting to cast it aside when things didn’t turn out exactly as I thought they should. I’d been running from what I knew the Lord was calling me to do with my life.
But in that moment the Lord couldn’t have made it any clearer that He wanted this for me. That He had chosen ME for this. It was time to stop running. Time to heal. Time to take of the bandaids and stop using the craft glue and seek the Lord for a more permanent healing.
I applied for an internship at a church later that week. I was devastated when I found out that I didn’t get the position, but in that moment I knew my focus was supposed to be on the church body that I had been passively participating. From that moment I started the transition of falling absolutely in love with our church body.
Now a year later, I spent my afternoon sitting at a table with the staff of our church as we laughed, shared truth, and thanked God for the things He has done in our body. A year later I’m serving as the Director of our elementary school ministry. I’ve accepted my calling and watched as the Lord has spent a year shaping and molding me more and more. I’ve found healing from all those hurts. I’ve learned the power of an apology, and the truth of an honest conversation. I’ve found hope, security, worthiness, calling, and healing. All because of my Father in Heaven.
A year ago, I was clinging to a few hurtful relationships, but the Lord traded those few in for countless relationships that bring new hope and love to my life every week. Never doubt that our God is absolutely able.
If you’ve recently made the move to a new church then I have a few pieces of advice to offer.
1) Stop Hiding. Please don’t short change the body of your church. Let them get to know you. Don’t apply the hurt you’ve felt from others to dictate how close you allow others to get to you. The church can only love you as well as you allow them to do so. Let the body surround you. Let them get to know you. Let them try.
2) Risk getting involved. I get it, I’ve gotten hurt before, too. The older I get, however, the more I come to understand that those seasons shaped who I am, and helped me treat others differently. Learn from it and move on. Don’t let it define you. It happened TO you, but it is NOT who you ARE.
Never forget that time CAN heal wounds, but only with the Lord’s help.