About Me

Monday, September 23, 2013

Memory Lane

Sometimes I find myself wandering down memory lane.  Facebook makes it easier than ever before to become stuck in the what-if's and why's of all the disappointments, redirections and losses of the last several years.  I find myself reading statuses of friends I miss and wishing we had never lost touch.  I find myself grieving the people and places I've had to walk away from over the years.  I find myself wondering what might have been if things had turned out differently.

Being in ministry is hard.  Really, really hard.  Doesn't help that I'm 4 months pregnant and overflowing with baby hormones either.  I absolutely LOVE where I am now - honestly.  But loving where I am and knowing it is exactly where God has placed me doesn't take away the feelings of grief for all that I've had to leave behind over the years.  I try not to let myself go there very often.  I have so many very dear friends that, due to having to leave a church, I just naturally lost touch with.  I have retained a few, a very few and I know that those that we "lost" aren't really lost and that they are just doing life with new friends now.  Which is exactly as it should be.  And so are we.  My family is so blessed to be a part of the most accepting, kind hearted and loving church we could have ever asked for.  They are incredibly good to me and my family and I thank God every single time I think about the place He has created for us at Bear Valley.  I truly, truly am so grateful.

I wonder if Paul ever felt this way?  Following God's call from church to church, city to city, he must've made so many friends along the way.  He must've started ministries.  I know that he spent long periods in certain places, and I wonder how he must've felt when he left Antioch or Corinth or Ephesus?  I wonder how he felt when he was imprisoned in Caesarea?  I wonder if he longed for Antioch and the people he left there?

Sometimes "memory lane" brings wonderful feelings of all the blessings God has granted over the years.  And I have those moments too - often actually.  But sometimes this trip down "memory lane" reminds me of the cost of following Christ - the cost of ministry - the cost of discipleship.  It is real and it is painful.  Walking away from a ministry is never easy.  I have had to leave several places/ministries over the years and each time I learned more about who God is through His provision, His mercy and sometimes, His correction.  I can list pages and pages of things I would've done differently if I knew then what I know now.  But if I had done them differently, I suppose I wouldn't have learned the lessons I have.

I recently came across several quotes that speak to my heart on this matter.
Here is one, author unknown:

Lord, here I hold within my trembling hand this will of mine, a thing which seemeth small;
But only Thou, O Christ, canst understand how when I yield Thee this, I yield mine all.
It hath been wet with tears and stained with sighs,
Clenched in my grasp till beauty it hath none.
Now from Thy footstool where it prostrate lies,
The prayer ascendeth, 'Let Thy will be done.'

Here is another, author unknown:

I'm willing to receive what You send,
To do without what You withhold,
To relinquish what You take,
To suffer anything You inflict,
To do what You command,
To be what You ask me to be;
At any cost now and forever.

And my favorite, by Andrew Murray:

"I am here by God’s appointment, in His keeping, under His training, for His time.”

I have spent the last week or so memorizing that last one.  I cannot even tell you how many areas of my life it speaks to right now!
  I am here by God's appointment.
  I am in His keeping.
  I am under His training.
  He will reveal to me His purposes in His time.

I suppose that every once in a while it's important to take that trip down memory lane.  To see where God has brought me.  To be reminded of all I have lost and all I have gained.  To count it all as loss and to remember that the only thing worth gaining is a stronger, deeper relationship with Jesus Christ.  

Memory lane is inevitable, and grief is to be expected...but in all this, perspective is critical.  Everything I walked away from, everything I "lost", every ministry I had to leave behind was a necessary step in becoming the woman, the Christ follower, the Worship leader that God intends for me to be.  I don't think there's anything wrong with sorrow or grief for the past, unless it takes the place of hope for the future.  My focus needs to be on Christ - whether it's on His provision and correction in the past, His mercy in this moment, or His revelation for the future.