I have to admit that going to church this morning left me with a huge set of conflicting feelings. First of all, it was the fist time we’d been out our church since our son’s wedding on July 9th, and the first service we’d been there for since June 26 — Six Sunday’s being away. I don’t think we’ve been away from Good Shepherd for that long ever in our 27 years of attending. So the first emotion was a sense of being back in familiar territory.
The service was wonderful. The speaker was great, speaking on our expectations of God and how they often aren’t what really happens. He asked the question “Are you ever disappointed in God”, and do believe that I can honestly say “No.” God has always been there for me and my family, and even though He doesn’t do things the way I might have hoped, I know that He’s got it all worked out and that it’s got to be for the overall best. I firmly believe that.
The worship was amazing this morning (and I’m not just saying that because our family was on this morning!)!! There was an incredible feeling of God’s presence as we lifted up His name in praise and adoration. We taught them the Gateway standard “Revelation Song” and you could just feel His presence all through the service.
However, there was also a feeling of loss and sadness in my heart. You see, this past week our family finally decided that it was time for us to move on from our church. We’ve agonized, and prayed, and talked, and sought other’s counsel for quite some time now — really the last couple years, not just the last few months. We’ve sensed that God was calling us out to something new; to some other worshipping community; to use our gifts in different ways; to be freed up to do new things.
Now, we’ve always told other people that mostly God calls you into something before he will call you out. But in our case, I can’t really say that. We’ve sensed that he’s calling us out of the situations we are in now, but we haven’t had any lightning-bolt experiences to be telling us what we are to be doing, or where we should go next. Oh we’ve had lots of suggestions from others, but so far, not a revelation from Him. And because of that not only was there loss and sadness, but also a bit of fear (just a bit).
Now, I want to be clear for anyone reading this, that we are NOT leaving because of what took place in January with the staff firings. We are NOT leaving because of anything that anyone has done or not done. We are NOT leaving because we’re mad. We are NOT leaving because a lot of our friends have left before us. If God had wanted us to stay, and given us a direction for what we should be doing, then we’d be there. Heck, we’ve been there 27 years. We’ve certainly seen enough people come and go and been offended enough that if we were looking for a reason to leave, we’d have left long ago. But we didn’t because we thought that’s where God wanted us to be at that time.
But now is a new time. God seems to be telling us it’s time to move on; to work out the next phase in the journey He has planned for us, and we want to do what He wants us to do, not what we feel most comfortable doing.
I think…. no I KNOW… the hardest part will be leaving the friends and colleagues at the church. But we’re not moving, we’re not dying, and we’re certainly not leaving in a huff. I sincerely hope that we’ll keep in contact with our friends and that wherever we go, we’ll just make new ones, not replacements.
Our plan is for next Sunday to be our “official” last Sunday at Good Shepherd (and we’re on for the music again), and from then on, only be there if really needed. There’s a lot of stuff I do that needs to be transitioned. Some will be turned over to others, some will be killed, and some I will keep for now until the church can either find someone else to do it, or decide to kill it.
Like the subtitle of this blog says “I’m not sure what I’m doing here, but I know that God is in control!” I’ve said it before — I firmly believe that.
So God. I’m in Your hands now. We’re in Your hands. Show us what You want to do in our lives from here on out.