Today, as so often happens I find myself contemplating this town I now live in, this community I am now a part of. Christians in community that in my observation and experience, think that they work so well together but really display they have no idea what working together means. To a church who in my experience believes they are healthy but in reality is not. To a town that for the most part, seems indifferent to Jesus Christ.
What would it look like for the churches in this town, if we built people whose desire was Christ, instead of programs or feel good phrases to live by. What if we trained up our people in biblical understanding…for our men to understand what it means to put Christ first, to lead their families well…for our women to understand what it means to put Christ first, to desire with their men to train their children in godliness… for our single men and women to crave Christ first above all else? What would happen if all of us together loved and reached out to the people of our community, no competition… just love?
So often I hear people tell me I chose this place…did I? I chose God, chose to be obedient to him, to follow my husband in our calling to build God’s kingdom. Putting away my desire to stay in a place I truly loved, with people I had full community with, a family close to my heart but also close to my house, and a best girlfriend I had waited 30 years to find, with a connection as close as sisters. Sometimes I wonder if I will ever stop grieving the places I have left behind, the people still close in my heart but no longer just down the street. I see familiar vehicles and find myself looking for that familiar face. I ache for the friends my children left behind, for that void not yet filled in their lives.
As I think of all these things I realize there is a cost to obedience. I know Jesus told his disciples to follow him, leaving behind everything familiar to them. Somehow we don’t believe that he asks that of us today.
We believe that because we are Christians we will suddenly get every desire we have ever had, and ours is now a life made easy. I am realizing this is not always the case. Does God bless us?… YES! He most certainly does, just not always in the way we want or the way we think we deserve. For me, it’s in the developing of new friendships that I am finding healing and blessing. It is freeing for me to be known as a woman not just a ‘pastor’s wife’.
So as I contemplate my thoughts, I choose to trust my God knowing the cost of not obeying is much higher. I choose to trust Him to sustain me when loneliness descends like blackness, I choose to trust Him when my husband feels so defeated there is nothing I can say or do to lift him up, I choose to trust Him when my children look at me with confusion and sadness because we no longer spend family holidays with family. I choose to trust that He is who He promises He is in His word, that He supplies all my needs, my husband’s needs and my children’s needs in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19)
His grace is what keeps me going, a grace so costly He died on a cross so I may stand forgiven. All the wrongs I’ve done and all the wrongs done to me have been made clean…forgiven.
As I weigh all of these things, I am brought back to the question ‘did I choose this place’? I guess in a way I can say yes to that, confident that His grace is enough for me, and I realize that more than anything I desire His name to be lifted high in this place.