I've had a blog post waiting to be written.
It's been ruminating.
Waiting in the wings.
Straining at the gates of my mind, to be articulated, typed, and let out.
But here's the thing about that blog post: It was going to be pretty. It was going to have an orderly sequence, some cause and effect, logic, sprinkled with rainbows and happy thoughts, encased in an unveiling of this really cool thing that God did...
...and then tied up with a bow.
I was just waiting. You know, for God to do that really cool thing.
Rarely have things in our lives looked like that.
Real life, you know?
Makes alot of sense?
Tied with a bow??
It's not ruminating anymore. It's not waiting in the wings.
It's not going to be written.
There are things that I have intentionally left out of the blogosphere. Things pertaining to what has been going on in our hearts; what we have felt was a clear calling to full-time ministry, and changes that we hoped would be occurring for our family. I have cautiously referenced these things a few times, and referred to a couple of "possibilities"…
To back track a bit - in July of 2011 we attended an alumni celebration at the ministry that Dave served with for 3 years, when he was single. Life Action Ministries is a ministry that really is close to our hearts. One of those ministries where you are nodding your head or whispering, "yes", to the ministry updates, podcasts, or radio broadcasts from them. Just solid and biblically based. At this Life Action event, nearly 2 years ago now, our hearts were being tugged in a unified direction - towards full time ministry. Dave had brought the subject up a few times since we had been married; would we ever be in full time ministry, as he had been a few years before? But his inquiries seemed more of just a "testing of the waters". How will she react to this thought? How will my wife, so entrenched in settling down, putting in roots, and in l o v e with security, respond to this thought? - And he was right. Every time he mentioned it, he was met with my selfishness and fear.
This time it was different. We were making the 2 hour drive home from the Life Action Headquarters and it was late, 10:30 pm or so. It was dark, but the glow from the dash lights made it possible for us to see each-others expressions and body language.
"What if we were to….come back here?
Be here, serve here?"
And I was all, "yes".
Just that. Just finally, "Yes".
So God was doing alot, and we began seeking. He was breaking down our walls, and pulling earthly security right out from under our feet. He pulled our talons out of our comfy life here, and we said, "Okay God, say go and we'll go". What started as a fearful process of saying goodbye to my beloved, safe, and secure life, quickly became the most exciting thing I had ever embarked on. Because God can be trusted. And knowing Him means letting go.
During this time Dave was attending school. He was doing an accelerated adult studies program to get his bachelor's degree in organizational management.
That was not an easy time for us. What it required of each member of our family, at times, stretched us to our limits. Especially him. Full time work, involved in ministry, husband, father of 4 busy guys, etc. Yeah, alot. But there was this unmistakable affirmation driving us all forward. It was a clear knowing, that this was the time. This was what we were supposed to be pursuing. So we did. One day at a time. We did it. In the back of our minds, we grasped at the fact that God would reveal to us the why. We hoped for the neatly tied up gift of a reason. The tidy bow on top of the reward. And day after full, tough day - we plodded on.
We knew that no matter what we were being called to do, we had to first finish what we started. So until this degree was reached, we were to be here.
And then another ministry possibility showed itself. And I have to be honest,
we wanted it.
Knowing the implications of not having the experience or all of the qualifications desired, we kind of fell for this position.
In many ways this possibility was very different from our initial option.
Our hearts were intwined already.
For eight months we tried to tell ourselves that we weren't counting on it.
We waited, and as we waited we threw ourselves intensely into the ministries we were already involved in.
Mentoring, leading Bible studies, counseling at the Center for Women, worship team, teaching Sunday school, teaching kids programs, leading Mom's group, etc.
We lovingly refer to this phase as "The Year Of Yes". We felt strongly that God had called us, for a time, to say "Yes" to anything we were asked to do. It was still important that we take each individual thing to him and ask again, "this too, God?" - but he always said yes.
During the "Yes Year", the coals of passion we had for ministry literally burst into flames. For Dave and I both - we were being led by the Holy Spirit to a deeper and more abundant knowledge of Him through serving. Nothing has been as exciting as this for us. We grew closer to the heart of our Creator and closer to each other. There were days that we were beyond exhausted, and yet we were jumping right into the next thing with this power and adrenaline that is not explainable. It was, without a doubt, supernatural.
I'm typing this and my heart is aching. I'm sorry about that. And I will be okay. I will be, because I think that we will be there again some day. But right now we are not.
The Year Of Yes was just that; a year. No one can really sustain the kind of energy and, you know - yes-ness, that we had going on.
As the Yes Year was coming to a close, the position our hearts were yearning after became a closed door as well.
You know how there are times in your life that you are booking along, and then can pin point when the wind literally is knocked out of your sails? Yes.
In full disclosure, we are there.
We know that God is good. So much. And boy am I glad that we know that, because the feeling of going from a fiery passion and unleashed energy to flirting with apathy and walking through a desert is very very hard.
This is not about a job and it is not about feeling like God let us down. It's about stepping up a notch in the ladder of learning our God. He calls the shots. His ways are higher. We can make our plans as much as we want, but it is God's plans that prevail.
Shifting gears is not an easy thing to do. So as we do it, we are just s l o w i n g everything down. We are coming up for a breath. And frankly some of this still stings. Some of it feels personal, and there are all kinds of things woven in; family. passion. thinking we heard the voice of God. hurt pride. questions. our hearts.
I am, by nature, a very perky person. Some would argue, annoyingly so *wink*. I don't do things half way, and I feel passionately about nearly everything I am called to do. There have been tears this week because neutral feels so foreign to me. I'm used to fire, and passion, and zeal, eagerness, gusto, and being driven. I'm used to hearing the unmistakable voice of God. After the yes year, I have become accustomed to "holding on for dear life" and tasting an excitement I had only dreamed of previously.
S l o w i n g way down, almost screeching to a halt, feels… weird.
Detached, neutral, passive, waiting. Dude, I don't even know those things. But here I am feeling them.
I know it will be back. I know I will be back. But no one can push "fast forward" on any one phase in their life. We have ended one and right now we will just "be", as we wait for the next. We have no clear direction right now. We know what we are supposed to do for the day as we wake in the morning, but beyond our ultimate heavenly home, we are not moving towards something. That is hard. There may be some whip lash from changing gears. We may not recognize ourselves for a while as we leave our Yes Year, and slow down to regroup. Really, we are kind of leaving the ride f the last 3 years, rather than one. - Deciding to go to school, trudging through that, being called to ministry, holding on for dear life, and now… screech.
So, how's that for messy? No neat presentation, no beginning, middle, sweet resolution…
… and The Big Ending.
Just our family learning, as one friend so aptly put it, "Oh, girl, welcome to the life of full time ministry. It's never that easy."
So here we go.
Maybe it will be back to option one. Maybe it will be something that was never even on our radar. Or…. it could be that God used all of that time, that precious time while our hearts took fire, and we dove in with all that we had and all that we were, to show us that this is it.
raising the curtain on... this,
just this, and saying, "Okay, here you are. This is what you are called to do. Ta-da! And... you are already doing it".
Many people have expressed a sentiment that they feel that God has something waiting. Something big that will surprise us, knock our socks off. But we have listened to those things very, very cautiously. Because oft times God's big is little and Man's little is big.
We'll end with the three words that look least like a pretty bow:
I don't know.