With All My Heart
“Your season here is finished.”
How crazy does that sound? Yet that was exactly what I felt God whispering to me a few months past as I set rather unhappily at my desk one work day.
I couldn’t put my finger on what was wrong. Why I was so restless? Why did I no longer feel as though I belonged there? Why was I no longer happy and fulfilled in my position? Why were my heart and soul no longer “all in” in the place and space I wanted to want to be all in at? And was I really being called to leave this work and ministry behind after 16 years?
To be clear, I love the church I worked for. Hope Community Church is, well, a church in a million. Sure, every church has its challenges, but honestly, I’m not sure there is another church like it in all of the Triangle area of North Carolina. Actually, in the whole state. And I love and absolutely believe in their mission:
“Love people where they are and encourage them to grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ.”
In fact, I embraced it so much that for 16 years I worked there, ministered there, loved people where they were there, oversaw the communications department there, directed large holiday productions there, lay counseled hurting people there, taught adult classes there, and dedicated myself to whatever mission was needed there.
And I haven’t even mentioned the staff yet. You guys, seriously. You have no idea. Those people work really hard on behalf of the people they serve and love. They know what they are called to do, who they are called to serve, and how they are called to serve them, and they work diligently every day to serve Jesus and His people to the best of their ability.
Jesus With Skin On
And if all that wasn’t enough, there was yet another reason leaving would be so very challenging for me. You see, for the past five years that church and my job there had literally been a lifeline for me. Five years ago when I lost my husband, this Christ-honoring church helped carry me gently and lovingly through that. I mean, the people there…I can’t even. They are the kindest, warmest, loving-est, most supportive, most compassionate people I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing, worshipping with, working with, and doing life along side of. They held me up so I could continue to actually do life during my darkest of seasons.
And that’s just the people there I actually know. I’m not even talking about the ones I don’t! See, in case you aren’t aware, Hope Community Church is a big church. A really big church. We’re talking a 9,000 attendees+ church. It’s a multi-site church spread across three campuses throughout the Triangle region and in Haiti (yes, Haiti). So when I say people I didn’t even know were praying for us, feeding us, offering wisdom next steps for us, doing home renovations for us, and regularly loving on my boys and me during a devastating time for us, well, I mean people I knew and people I didn’t were there being Jesus with skin on for us. Why? Because they own that we “love people where they are and encourage them to grow in their relationship with Christ,” in whatever form is needed, and in whatever circumstances people need to be loved through. And that, my friends, is the living out of the gospel in the flesh, no?
Wrong Story; Right Time
Now I have to say that this post started out as a post about how and why I left my job and about the new journey I feel God is asking me to follow Him on. But apparently, that’s not what needed to be said today. Maybe what needed to be shared was a very humble and grateful “thank you” to this church and its people for allowing me to serve on staff there for 16 years, working alongside them daily for the Kingdom’s sake.
So I’ll save the rest of my story for another time, sharing the “what is God up to next” part, and the “how well am I doing with what He’s up to next” part.
In the meantime, whatever and wherever your church, go honor Jesus by serving with all faithfulness alongside your brothers and sisters in Christ. And on any given day, may God find each of us being all the Jesus we can be with skin on, in our churches and in our communities.
“Only fear the Lord and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you.” — 1 Samuel 12:24
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