Monday, September 30, 2013

The Ugliest Word


My heart is beating out of my chest as I type this post. I don’t want to. Gosh, this year has been so hard, so full of unexpected twists and turns and challenges that have left me on my knees (or in a heap) more than ever before. My blog has been unusually silent over the last few weeks and it’s not without reason. (I promise I will wrap up the second week of Zach’s sabbatical this week!) I typically loose my gusto for writing when I am stressed and lately I just haven’t had it in me because of all that has been going on in our life. 

But Isaiah 40 is true and God gives strength to the weak. Strength to those whose coping skills are less than par these days. Strength to those that desperately want a break from the waves of life that just seem to continually pound overhead. Strength to those that are burdened and anxious and facing what feels like constant, unwanted life change. 

Some back story...
As many of you know I have been leading a DGroup for almost a year now. It has been an incredible experience for me and the 12 ladies that fill my home every Monday night. Rewind to December 2012. As January approached last winter, our group was challenged to pray over a word and/or passage of scripture God wanted you to focus on for 2013 and set some spiritual goals for the year. When I began praying about this, only one word entered my mind. Literally. I wanted to dialogue with God over coffee about this, I wanted to consider the options, I wanted to be strategic and thorough and make a pro/con list, but as I asked this question I could literally only think of one word. It was actually pretty frustrating that mentally I couldn’t even consider another alternative. Haha But... after a few times going to God about this and getting the same answer, I wrote my word for the year in the front of my journal...

Surrender. 

I had no idea at the time that this 9 letter word would become the ugliest and most painful word I know. In the beginning of the year I remember telling my friend TLC I felt at war with this word, with what God wanted me to do. It’s no secret to my parents or Zach that I have always been a strong-willed person. It was evident very early on in my life. Haha! My mom tells stories of me, age 3, arguing with her that the song really was, “Mary had a little famb” and no mommy, it is not really “lamb” because my teacher at school CLEARLY said FAMB. (Obviously what I lacked in hearing/comprehension I made up for in will....:)) 

Even though it might go unnoticed, I’ve done tons over the years to solidify my position on the Battle of Wills podium. This... will of mine is a blessing and a curse because although it has led to a lot of determined success in my life, what I just recently realized is that I subject God to my willfullness just as much as everyone else. Haha! This year, God has brought more pain and heartache than I have ever experienced in my previous 29 years combined. He has brought more challenging circumstances and in the midst of it all he had the audacity to ask me to surrender. Surrender my anxiety, surrender my pride, surrender my plans, surrender my pain, surrender my comfort, surrender... EVERYTHING. The only thing he left me with was the question, “Do you want ME more than you want My blessings?” 

Ouchy. 

He’s sufficiently backed me and my now failing will into a corner with the ugliest word I know and figuratively left me there to battle it out.  And he’s been waiting to see what I would do. At first, I did what any willful person would do. I threw a tantrum. A really ugly tantrum to go with the ugly source of said tantrum. Faith fail. Haha Full disclosure! But soon I realized... well, all of this I’m typing now, how it was all connected, and the real center of my problem - idolatry. 

Double ouchy. 

God has challenged Zach and I both to put our money where our mouth is and live the way we challenge others to do so. If I really believe what I stand up and tell kids every weekend, then I must surrender it all and ride out this wave called the real christian life. And even though it’s the ugliest word I know now, I know that when I fully surrender my will to His call on our life this word will create a more beautiful, Christ-filled me and that will be worth it! As my friend Mel recently reminded me... the time has come to put on my big girl panties... 

So it is with mixed emotions and much hope for the future that I announce we are moving back to Atlanta. Zach has an incredible opportunity at 12Stone Church and I am so happy for him. Really. I know that the scales will tip and my heartache over leaving our life in Charlotte will lighten as our excitement for what God will do next in our new place grows...

but for now... I just wanna say... thank you Charlotte. From every corner of my aching, broken heart. Thank you for being our treasured home for 3 years. For being the first place I’ve actually felt rooted since I moved out of my parent’s home at 18. For being a place with community that has fed our souls and brought so much love and life to our life. For being the place my personal ministry journey began and for being the place our life as a family of 3 was solidified. Thank you for being a place I watched God move, almost visibly, in our lives and for being a place that will always be so so so special to me. Oh Queen City, you will never know the depths of my love for you and how dearly you will be missed!

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