Have you ever noticed it is the most popular question even though a suitable answer most times would be none of your business is WHY? I am certainly about to answer that question 9,000+ times and the honest answer is not easily explained which will leave a lot of room for people to fill in the blank for me ….likely with things I would not have put there. Welcome awkward situation. When you remove yourself from anything its hard, a relationship, a job, or a town, the first question undoubtedly is going to be WHAT HAPPENED? As if there is always some interesting story(because that is what they want of course) a tale woven of tragedy, drama and unfairness that may or may not be the whole story. Well in this season I am leaving a job, one I never thought I would have, and the question of why actually goes more personal than I will explain to most but tonight its not why I am leaving that is on my mind as I prep for my exit but what happened to me on the journey.
Let’s back this story up a bit shall we, explain why I never imagined myself in this position, until the last few years I did not understand the purpose of church, I did not understand the purpose for the pure fact that I looked at the people in it and tried to measure God by the people in the building, just a bunch of hypocrites, they are no better than me, but that is just it, no they aren’t because that is why we are there, we need grace, mercy, forgiveness, acceptance that only God provides. We are broken people, none of us blameless….look to me there are few simple guidelines that make this clear (not saying they are the only just ones I remind myself of daily) 1- we ALL sin and fall short of the glory of God (because you are human..)
2- let he that is without sin cast the first stone, before you go pointing out the toothpick in your neighbors eye better pull the timber out of your own
3- one of the greatest commandments he makes after loving him is to love your neighbor… (side not there are no exceptions to this ….thats important to keep in mind )
So here is what I have learned in the last two years and my journey through ministry- we all have a story, a past, some skeletons in the closet and just because we are in church on Sunday does not mean we think we are the most holy, I am there because I have fallen short all week, and geez life is hard and I need a hand to reach out and say let me help you up, I serve next to people from all walks who’s stories may be dark and desolate, but church is about community, about saying you know what I am so far from perfect and I don’t have the answers for you but I will hold your hand and wade it with you. Human nature is to be judgmental right? I mean its what we do for everything we measure ourselves next to those around us, we long for acceptance, to justify what we are doing because I mean face it….it isn’t as bad as what the neighbor is doing… WRONG. God does not have a point system …. he doesn’t give bonus points for church attendance and deductions for cuss words. Face it that is where it gets you usually right? oh I will go to church when I get my life together…. God doesn’t want me this way, actually he does, because he is unabounding love.. mind blowing right? That is the other thing the number 3 and this was my biggest beef with church for many many years, in fact for a long time when people asked me my religion I often responded Love.. and here is why, I think the greatest thing we are called to do is love one another, there is no fine print to it, he doesn’t say love everyone but the drug addicts or love everyone but (insert whatever life choice) I think the one I struggled with most was the church and their persecution of homosexuality…because my call to love I felt had no boundaries, I didn’t agree that they were “all gonna burn in hell” if that is the case than this graceful, merciful, forgiving God seems a little spiteful and judgy. That came in to play in my life in the biggest way when I joined the beauty industry, which often mixed with fashion..enter Rick. Rick was undeniably the most compassionate, uplifting, and authentic person I had ever met in that stage and I had a big problem with thinking I was supposed to reprimand his choice or to judge whether it was a choice or something he could not change, I turned my back on the church for this reason….I wanted to love God and love people… no exceptions.
So there I was with 3 year old twins and pregnant being offered a part time job at the church, I don’t know if you know this but church is a lot of work, but it forced me to see the people in front of me and to recognize how to love them. Maybe that person in front of you handing their child to you just needs a mommy minute, or a daddy minute..they do this job on their own all week and the only quiet moment they get is right there, I had moms say to me I just need an hour- and to that I say “hey momma I get you let me take the reins” recently I found myself pretty tempted to make a judgy moment… maybe I did and had to retract it …..in my head- geez what a helicopter mom- in reality it was her first child and she had quite literally never been away from him -God to me: show love to my child, extend grace, show her you are there to love her…..me: thanks for pointing out my jerkness. God taught me I wasn’t alone and I needed desperately for other mommas, daddies, grandmas and other child raisers to know they were not alone either and what they were doing mattered! I spent Sunday after Sunday trying to convince these small people I was funny and an adequate replacement for their parent (which sometimes meaning that you are not and just getting mom)….. some took a lot of convincing, I have walked hundreds of miles on that school floor soothing and dancing crying babes and in all of it I see it was me who God was shaping, he taught me patience, that love quite literally changes lives, and pouring into people no matter how small they are is a precious gift.
Statement I never thought I would make, I need my church, I love my church and I have prayed many hours over my need to pass the torch… quitting a job is hard, admitting it is to much, that it feels like you are being called to lay it down or that something else is calling you all sounds like excuses but its not… I feel God has used me for the season to fill in the gap, he has readied the hearts of the ladies who will take it on and I pass the torch with gratefulness and excitement, so the why is he has a plan and I am going to have faith in it , my place is with my family, my calling is to my husband and kids, I feel like God has laid it out so that I can pass the torch and pour all I have learned into my kids and fellowship in the village he surrounded me with and the relationships he brought from my journey… I feel like so many times we ask why and God says “because I said so” and we should say Ok.