As hope grows

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We are entering a new place….on the verge of the unknown and for the first time, in a long time, I feel freedom rather then restraint. We have been released. There is no other way to express it. We were not ‘called out’ or given a ‘new mission’ we have simply been released, allowed to step away from what we have dug into, prayed for and broken over for years.

This business of planting churches has left me a shell. It has broken things I once prized and slapped me in the face. It has bitten me in the back and allowed me to burn. It has left me screaming in the corner with a horse voice and drowned in my own tears. This…this pain and brokenness has left me a shell…Praise the Lord!

Praise the Lord for the hard and the pain that makes me a new creature! Praise the Lord for the brokenness that allows me to see that only his kindness can heal and restore! Praise the Lord for making all things new!

I find myself rediscovering parts of who I am that have gone dormant over the years. Those areas that stop growing without food and light…without pruning and compassion. Mike and I have had many hope filled conversations in the last two weeks, and each time I catch that look in his eye, the one that seems to say, ‘Oh, yes, I remember her! Where has she been?!’

I wonder who I am now. After 3 church plants, 4 years of ministry before that, 5 years of having the twins home and 8 years of marriage. Who am I? What marks this new creature….what seeds where there in the past that could only grow when planted in death? This oldest child and manager of things…this hope speaker and love giver…this secret dreamer. Oh, I am excited to meet her…to live in her skin!

For the first time in many years I am looking forward with hope. At the age of 36 I pray that this rebirth will bring a deep knowing and greater peace. That I will discover, with joy, the tools I have picked up along the way. Dear Lord, bring us to a safe and sustaining community of faith that will cherish and challenge all that we are growing into.

I’ve been quiet…

I’ve been keeping quiet again, taking in the world…the wonder and the pain. Watching thing die around me and believing there will be new life…holding onto hope. I will never live fall the same way again. It will always be death…wrapped in brilliant beauty….but still death.

I continue to stand at the cusp of something. I am not sure what it is or what it looks like. It is wholly and totally new to me. I cannot see the next step, but I know going back is not an option. I know what is easy and familiar, the call of guilt and responsibility….the unmet expectations….the assumptions of well meaning others…that somehow they understand, know what it is to be in this place…after a 10 minute conversation. It is all death, and I will not live there.

I will continue to follow the sound of a voice I once knew well…calling me forward out of the fog…the ash. Resting in the moments of beauty, and embracing the pain when it comes rather then turning from it.

We used to open our home for Soup Nights. Deep in the birth of the idea was to welcome other’s into our home to delight in one another and share a bit of peace over a simple meal. This dream was lost in the organization of the thing…in my deep clinging desire to do things just right…check some box of expectation…clean my house just so….was I ‘evangelizing’ enough? was I ‘doing’ enough? ‘Producing’ enough? It was never enough. It was death.

So we burnt it! To the ground! 2 years later what came back? Beauty. Peace. Hope. Love. Last Friday night our home was full of laughter. It was one of the most beautiful times I’ve had at the Ebed House. Nothing forced. No expectations. Just the invitation to come and be. This. This place in time…a moment. A glimpse. This is what we were made for. And I take one step further out of the fog…

It’s been like breathing again….

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There are moments now when I just sit and listen to myself breathe….mostly before my children get up and after my husband goes to work. It’s a simple, natural act….air in, air out. For months of my life I cannot remember this sustaining function. For endless weeks I felt like I held my breath and I watched one monument after another crumble. They are still falling and I continue to stand in the wasteland…sometimes with my mouth hanging wide…could anything more come down?

Standing in the dust and ash it is easy to think the prior years have been wasted. I watch money go down the drain and yet another long held belief fall away…and the bitterness edges every corner…holding out for the moment it can rush in…the moment I reach for what is familiar once again. A moment of comfort in sorrow. A wallowing in things lost….anger at having been played the fool.

And I realize I’m holding my breath again….

My child, hear my voice, and give no heed to the voice of the stranger. My paths are straight, and they are narrow, but you shall have no difficulty in finding them if you watch Me. I am guiding you. You need not look to people for direction. You may learn much by fellowship with the saints, but never allow any to take the role that is rightfully Mine….to direct your steps. As it is written, “The steps of a good man are ordered by The Lord. ” ~not by the preacher, not by some Christian worker, but buy The Lord.

Trust Me to do it, and give Me the time and the opportunity to do it. Be not hasty, and lean not upon your own intelligence. Rest in Me. I shall bring to pass My perfect will in your life as you believe and live in faith.

{Come Away My Beloved}
~Frances J. Roberts

And I remember to breathe…and listen. Air in. Air out.