A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to 2015

I do know this: 2014 existed to get me to 2015. And while I may not understand every step, I see so very clearly the hand of God. And it’s funny….how in the midst of it, we might not even be sure God is noticing. But He’s orchestrating every step.

2014 has been an adventure, to say the least!  The beginning could never have predicted the end!

My eldest graduated from high school and moved away to college.  After nearly three years of un or under employment, God opened the right door for us.  We moved our entire family from Texas to Arizona.  I fell into a writing opportunity for a little movie called God’s Not Dead, which has led to some other amazing prospects. And probably about 126 other things I could recount if I journaled.  But I don’t.  So there you have it.

“What’s so funny about that?’, you ask?

brick wallSomewhere in the past 10 years, I lost my way.  Lost myself.  Forgot who and whose I am.  I think maybe life does that to you over time.  I began to equate my self, my soul, with what I do…not who I am.  Consequently, when I no longer ‘was’, I had no idea who I ‘am’.  And it was a rough journey to struggle out from under that fallen brick wall – for me and for those around me.

And to be thoroughly honest, I’m still a little flattened.  But as I shake the dust off, tend the wounds left behind, and assess…I become so much more aware of how God – in the way only God does – has orchestrated every step to bring me to this very moment.

I still don’t understand all of 2014.  I haven’t yet discerned why it’s so hard to watch my boys grow up.  I’m puzzled at why the transition to a new church and a new state has seemed harder than I thought it would be when God is so very obviously ‘in it’.  I still don’t get HOAs or the allure of a gated community, though I completely understand it’s a lot nicer than a pool you have to mow!

I do know this: 2014 existed to get me to 2015.  And while I may not understand every step, I see so very clearly the hand of God.  And it’s funny….how in the midst of it, we might not even be sure God is noticing.  But He’s orchestrating every step.

I love it when He does that.  And I am excited to abandon pool-mowing for the foreseeable future!

Sometimes Churchy Answers Aren’t Needed

12.9-CompassionSo recently….OK, last night…I was having a crisis of faith.  Actually, not really.  It was more of a pity party.  It’s been a season of hit-after-hit-after-hit….you know the kind I’m talking about.  The weeks where people tell you “God is in control” or ‘All things work together for good” or “God won’t give you anything you can’t handle” or “God will bless your faithfulness”.   And I was just done with it – at least for a short season.  And I wanted to rant and rave and be mad and feel devastated and question God.

I’ve been a pastor for 25 years – and a Christian a lot longer than that.  So I know all the spiritual answers.  Most of them I agree with.  (Except that ‘God won’t give you anything you can’t handle ….not Biblical…and maybe that ‘blessings for faithfulness’ bit….those are posts for another day).  Aaaannnyway….fortunately I have a group of youth ministry friends who embrace it when we are authentically raw.  And none of them….not one….gave me a churchy answer.  They just laughed with me and cried with me and sat with me and prayed for me – albeit virtually – until I was better.  (Maybe because I threatened them if they gave me typical counsel….)

Here’s the thing (and it could be a youth ministry thing, too, I think.)  Sometimes we know the answer BEFORE our heart cries out in pain.  And we aren’t looking for someone to tell us what we already know.  We’re just looking for someone to sit alongside us in our pain, our grief, our crying out, our moment of despair.

I wonder how many teenagers I’ve trod upon with answers when they just needed compassion…..