One year ago, we made one of the hardest decisions we've ever made and left our church. We'd been part of this church and deeply part of the family of this congregation for over a decade. We were deeply involved and connected and plugged in. There were many weeks where we would be at the church for differen things almost every day in a week.
Leaving was almost impossible. I had to break a lot in order to make the decision. I had to clearly see the reasons why it was time. And a lot of times, it isn't clear. I learned that I needed to trust my blind faith. And I discovered that I needed my faith to be deeper. To be more true. To be more the definition of true Faith.
Faith. Complete trust. Complete confidence.
From last year -
"My faith was not where I thought it was. My faith was not as strong as that of Abraham or the Disciples. My faith needed to go to a deeper step and God needed me to step out in faith - needed me to not just be obedient but to also have "blind faith" and trust simply in Him. To know who I was following, even if I didn't know where I was going. Which reminded me of a conversation with a friend and mentor who told me that sometimes we don't hear God because He needs us to take action and then He can correct us if we've gone the wrong way. That was the first step in understanding this blind faith that God was asking of me. "
Leaving meant having blind faith.
Finding a new church has meant a different kind of stepping out. We've discovered we have "lines" that we didn't know we had. For example, I had never been in a church where the idea that women submit to men was a really true belief. That doesn't mesh with our family culture, with our faith. We visited churches with dynamic and exciting children's programs - that were terribly overwhelming for my son.
We have landed. We have found a place that warms my liberal heart, excites my social justice soul. We have found a place where we can dig deeper, ask big questions, be validated in our questioning. We have found a place where people see Zach and embrace him and desire to connect with him - bringing him slowly out of the shadow of his adaptable and easy to connect wtih sister.
But now my faith has to go deeper. And I find I am struggling to figure out what to do next.
Good thing there are resources. Good thing we found a church where a lot of people are eager to help me figure out what's next.
My stand by commitments in a church are usually music focused and kid focused. And it looks like I'm going that way again. But I am happy with that.
But that is about my church involvement. I've followed with blind faith. Eventually. Now I need to know what work is needed from me. Who I am going to reach. Who does God need me to love?
I've started daily Bible reading based on the Lectionary. Yesterday, a passage from Ezekiel spoke to me - Even if they don't listen, continue to speak.
I've been hodling back on writing. I know that people from my "old church" might still read my blog and the last thing I ever want is to hurt anyone. I think that's a big part of why I've been less open with our experiences and maybe even with my faith. I've just needed it to be something in my heart that I redevelop. It's been a year of tenderness, of realizing that a lot of hurts happened a year ago and in the year leading up to the decision we made a year ago. It takes time to heal. It takes time to mourn. It takes time to accept that the healing and mourning are ongoing.
And accepting that hope truly is eternal.
Our pastor recently said in a sermon, "The question is Who Am I. Not Who was I?" And... "What am I doing?" In other words, the past doesn't define me right now. I've believed this for a long time. But the reminder is good. My past built me to where I am. Brought me to where I am. But who I was then is not who I am now. I feel like this past year has been about figuring out who I am. And now I have to figure out what I'm doing, how I'm serving, how I am ministering.
It's time for whatever is next!