It's funny how life is. How it is always changing. Sometimes you never know when the changes are coming. I am not opposed to change. I actually kind of like it because it smells of adventure. I like the exhilaration that comes with wide open possibilities.
The thing is, new roads often mean leaving old places. And faces. This is where I get hung up. It is not in me to leave. I can move to the next place, but I can't leave. And usually God has to close doors for me to understand that it is time to move.
Sometimes those door closings are painful. Something we would never choose. And the road leading from the familiar is littered with snot-filled tissues as we walk away from what was, weeping. . . limping. I've been there.
Two years ago when God moved me out of campus ministry, that's what it was. I could not see clearly the road ahead because of the tears. Like Mary at the tomb on Easter morning, I could not see the Hope born of emptiness.
Every time I sat in worship during that season of saying goodbye it seemed Jeremy Camp's song "Walk By Faith" was on the play list:
Well I will walk by faith
Even when I cannot see
Well because this broken road
Prepares Your will for me
I would weep and sing. And pray. And hope. And trust. Beyond feelings I trusted that God could bring something beautiful out of my heartache.
God's sense of humor in all of this is that He placed me in a pre-school. (I say sense of humor because when I was brand new into ministry and barely 26 years old He placed me in ministry with senior adults and the elderly.) For two years I have enjoyed the honor of teaching little ones about Him. In a place full of love, and humor, and grace. A safe place where my broken heart could heal. Where I could forget my heartache in the daily grace of teaching ABC's, 123's, and "Yes, Jesus Loves Me." For each person I met in that sacred classroom, I have deep gratitude. Each sweet lady who partnered with me in teaching has always been full of goodness, and each one taught me more than they taught our little charges. I cherish these dear ladies.
Last spring God led me to read a gardening book. Sometimes I don't understand the nudges. But I've learned it's always better to follow them. Especially when I don't understand. As I read, I began to sense that my life is the garden God is tending. One passage in particular caught my attention:
"Cover crops. To obliterate a really pernicious weed, plant a living mulch in the form of a cover crop that grows thick and heavy for one growing season. Buckwheat works well for this purpose. As soon as it begins to flower, I use a scythe to mow it down or till the plants into the soil as green manure. If you mow it, compost what you cut down. Make a second planting and then mow or till again. By the end of the season, those weeds should be gone. And as a bonus, there will be a lot more organic matter in your soil." The Vegetable Gardener's Bible. p. 99I believe God was showing me that another season in my life was getting ready to come to an end. A sweet season. A buckwheat season. Maybe not the thing that set my heart on fire, but a season with a purpose. A season that was there to bring new life to my broken heart, maybe clear out some stubborn weeds like perfectionism and approval addiction that have been choking out the fruit in my ministry. And maybe God was using this time of teaching preschool to replenish the worn out soil of my heart.
Not long after, I began having dreams of being in ministry again. I would wake up longing for those ministry moments that set my heart on fire. And I became very restless. My sweet husband prayed so diligently for me. One night I told him that I felt like I was waiting for something, something to open up. The next day he said to me he felt God asking me instead, "What are you waiting for?"
Sometimes, instead of moving us out of an old place, God simply asks us to come to a new place. He gives us an invitation to the unknown. And we can stay in familiar. No one is moving us out. Or we can take a leap of faith. I'm really bad at leaving. But I am learning how to leap.
The new song on my play list is "Walk on the Water" by Britt Nicole. When I heard it for the first time, I almost fell out of my chair. Tim's words to me were so fresh on my heart:
So what are you waiting for
What do you have to lose?
Your insecurities try to alter you
You know you're made for more
So don't be afraid to move
Your faith is all it takes and you can
Walk on the water too.
Here's the difference between this walk of faith and the last one; this one is more invitation. It's not something that has been chosen for me. Instead it is something I must choose. God has been inviting me to go with Him. I'm not exactly sure where I will end up. I just know it's the right thing to do. To open up space in my life where I can follow Him. I feel like Abraham: "Now the LORD said to Abram, 'Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing'" (Genesis 12:1-2).
My heart is healed. My eyes are lifted up. The limp is gone. I can see the first few steps of the path before me.
Following God means I won't be teaching pre-school anymore. I hate that. I am so, so, so thankful for the Early Learning Center, and all it has given me. But I also know that I can't put this off any longer. I don't want to miss my opportunity--
to walk on the water too.