One of the websites I am reading the most lately is She Loves Magazine. Today they are hosting a synchroblog on times of awakening, and I thought it would be fun to join in, and at the same time, share a little bit more of how this blog has come into being.
I have never fully known the feeling one gets when they see a baby and everything goes gushy inside. I have never experienced the emotions that fill ones body, when the little white stick says “pregnant.” And I have yet to hold a new born that is my own, smell his/her head, and wonder “can I do this?”
I have, however, sat in the audience of a painfully-out-of-tune middle school Christmas pageant, holding my breath, as my student performed his solo. I have anxiously waited for a student to show up on a Sunday morning to tell me if they made the team, survived math class this week, or got a part in the school play. I have spent hundreds of hours leading Jr. High girls’ small group bible studies, praying for those light-bulb moments when one would say “God cares about that stuff? He cares about me?”
My heart has filled to overflowing, when as a single youth pastor, my hand-me-down dinning room table fit fifteen girls around it for ice cream sundaes and Apples to Apples. And I have been over-the-moon excited when after they start college, those same girls come back and say “remember how you always told us…”
But now, after seven years of full-time “my-heart-has-adopted-hundreds-of-teenagers” ministry, the past year has felt like God took a sharp turn and my life is heading in a new direction.
At first, when I resigned from my ministry position nine months ago (after a year of struggling to free my heart), I felt like “Ok, God. I can take some time off. I can pursue writing–but then you will take me back, right? Someday, I will go back to youth ministry?”
But He was quiet. He let me grieve the loss of the kids and volunteers I loved. He let me wrestle with my “what ifs.” And then about a month ago, as I was baking in my kitchen, He softly impressed on my heart that I won’t be going back into youth ministry, at least not in that form.
A new grieving began, yet this time it was different. I felt God was re-writing my story–making it completely different than the picture in my head. I was confused, and I wanted to be angry with Him. Then I realized, wait, God doesn’t “re-write.” He doesn’t change his mind as to where our stories will take us. He always has a plan, and it is us who try to re-write, re-direct our paths.
For the past eight years, I was so sure I was living one story when in reality I was living a different one. I was really on a journey that led me to a greater knowledge of myself and God’s love for me. Part of my story was being in youth ministry–meeting incredible people, traveling all over the world, making some amazing friends and meeting my awesome husband. But youth ministry wasn’t my whole story.
I thought I would love teenagers forever through church ministry–but I am finding God’s path is taking me in a different direction. He has given me this season of grieving, yet in the midst of emotions that sometimes feel like death, new life has begun to spring up.
And one of those new shoots is this blog. God is breaking and expanding my heart for our plight as women. He is revealing to me His love for us, the women of this earth, and impressing on me a need to write; similar, I imagine, to the burning Jeremiah must have felt in his bones.
I am not sure what is in store for this blog or where this path that God has me on is going to lead.
“I am lost.” I told my friend a few weeks ago. Then two days later, in the midst of worshipping at a Hillsong concert, I felt God speak to my heart:
“You are not lost, I know exactly where you are. Even though you do not know what is ahead, I do.”
I have always been the type of person who wants to plan everything out–and know “the plan.” He is teaching me to trust His path.
Where have you felt like your life is being “re-written?”
Where have you felt the loss of a dream?
Do you know that wherever you are at, God knows exactly where you are?