Sunday, July 31, 2011

Long Time Coming

I've started this post numerous times, never satisfied with the words on the page, unsure if they do justice to the desired message. One more try, here goes nothing...


The past month has been a complete whirlwind of events and emotions. As many of you may have gathered, I've recently made several huge, life-changing decisions - my life will look much different this time next month. 


At the beginning of July I was fortunate enough to get to take time off work and pay my Louisiana family a much anticipated visit. While time there always provides rest and rejuvenation, it also exacerbates a constant battle of my heart. Since the day I left three years ago, I have deeply struggled with returning in a permanent capacity. Those of you who know me well understand that moving back is a deep desire of my heart. I have been talking to the Lord about it for years. At first, I prayed for the opportunity to go back because that's what I wanted. But as I've grown up and into a deeper relationship with the Lord, my prayer has been to be in the center of His will for my life, regardless of where it takes me. As I've prayed for revelation of the Lord's will for my life, I have asked Him to take the desire to move to Louisiana from me if that's not what He'd have. (It's very difficult to live fully present one place when your heart is in another.) So, there I was in Louisiana once again...but this time things were different. I can't go into all of the details here, but the important thing for you to know is that there was a series of very intentional, spirit-led conversations had about where the Lord was leading me during my time there. About halfway through the week, my heart had shifted and I knew I was facing some major decisions (for real this time). I entered a constant state of prayer - about Shreveport, about Kansas City, about Common Ground, about Hillcrest. As the days went on, my prayers became less and less cluttered and ended up sounding like this, "Lord, release me from fear. Show me your will." And He did.


The Lord is leading me back to Shreveport. I move August 23rd. And as you've probably guessed, I resigned from Hillcrest two weeks ago. Although I had been struggling at Hillcrest for months, I did not quit because it was difficult - I think I could have worked through that had the Lord told me to stay in KC - I quit to move to Louisiana. I now have an even deeper appreciation for Hillcrest than I did when I started; it will always have my support. I've grown up a lot over the past 10 months. 


There are many details that aren't here, and if you'd like to know the long-winded version of the story, let's get together. This is huge for me, friends. I'm super excited and very nervous. I still can't believe it. But right in the center of the Lord's will for my life is the safest place to be, and it never comes without His provision. 


Kansas City has been so good to me. I'm going to miss this city and the people it holds dearly. But, I am so excited to start this new chapter of life. 



Friday, July 29, 2011

Green & Gray

There is sacrifice in every decision; it is not whether or not we will sacrifice, but a question of how great the sacrifice. In most circumstances, it is human nature to take the path of least sacrifice; but sometimes, sometimes we're brave enough to take that big leap of faith, to choose the one with the greatest cost.

This is scary, exciting, stressful, heartbreaking, refreshing, stretching me, forcing me to grow up a little more, still unreal, a little crazy, and quite possibly the biggest thing I've ever done. The good news is that the Lord's will never comes without His provision.

 


back and forth we ply these oars
they move in time and get entwined
green with joy and gray with sorrow
ripened fruit that falls tomorrow
filing us with brilliance.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

I felt a piece of my heart break, but when you're standing at a crossroad, there's a choice you gotta make...


My chest tightened as I pulled open the heavy wooden door. The sanctuary was filled with familiar faces, each warmly welcoming me back after a long time away. My heart ached more and more with each hug. Almost at my breaking point, I was saved by the start of worship; I've never been more relieved to hear Micah's beautiful voice. As my family worshiped around me, I silently pleaded with the Lord to ease the pain. My eyes burned with impending tears, so I closed them in hopes of keeping it together, but my eyelids where no match for the wells of hot tears. I retreated back into my chair. The tears came instantaneously - not a few silently shed tears, no, these were sobs. It was as if the pain I felt was rolling down my cheeks. I sat sobbing, praying to the Lord for comfort, and then I felt it - her hand landed softly on my back. As my sobs continued, she was unrelenting - she continued to gently rub my back, letting me know she was right there. I could hear her lifting up prayers on my behalf. When I finally regained some measure of composure, I escaped outside for a moment. The hot sun hit my face and humidity filled my lungs. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath, only to be pulled out of the moment by a familiar voice calling my name. His sweet smile was a sight for sore eyes and his embrace felt like it lasted forever. I think he knew, but he didn't press in, and I was grateful. 


I struggled to stay focused the rest of the service, it was all I could think about. It's like I'm carrying around a bomb, just waiting for the right time to drop it on all of them. But the truth is that there is no right time, no easy way. Every conversation will hurt. But I know this is right, I know this is the Lord's will. 


So, tomorrow evening we'll sit on her porch swing as is ritual, and I'll tell her. And it'll break my heart. 


I know there's a blue horizon somewhere up ahead, just waiting for me. Getting there means leaving things behind, sometimes life's so bittersweet.

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Promised Land

The Israelites wandered around the desert for 40 years before they reached the Promised Land (see the book of Numbers, Joshua 1:1-7, Numbers 20:7-12). Not all of them made it, many turned back. For many it was easier to return to Egypt and make the best life possible there, rather than pressing into their destiny and forging on to the Promised Land. Who could blame them? Have you ever wandered around the desert? Yeah, me either. Wild guess here, but it's probably not too enjoyable. Pressing on to the Promise Land took patience, trust, faith. Am I saying the Lord couldn't/didn't work through the lives of those who turned back? No, not at all - us taking the easy road or making the wrong choice doesn't negate the power God has to work in our lives. We can live the best life possible where we're at and He will still receive his glory, but we're not called to live the best life possible, we're called to live into our inheritance. (Graham Cook once said that the only thing God will have against some of us who stand before him in the end is that he had all of THIS for us and we only received this much.)






I don't want to make the best life possible in Egypt, I want the Promised Land. 

Friday, July 8, 2011

Side-splitting

"Mary, your wiener is crying." - Ellen

What have I spent the last 7 days in Shreveport doing? 
Laughing.


I have been blessed with 4 new friends this week (5 if you count Weasel the kitten), and we make each other laugh out loud...a lot. 
 
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