I have lived in the same city and gone to the same church my entire life. That is no exaggeration. The only exception would be the four years I spent in college in Huntsville, Texas.
It was never my plan to graduate college and attend the same church I grew up at, but the Lord had other plans. Not only did I return to that church, I found myself on staff full time as the Girls Ministry Director. Isn’t He so funny like that? To turn our plans upside down?
I dearly loved my church and was so blessed by being on staff and honored that they would even take a chance on me in that position, but one thing we were lacking was a strong young adult program. To be completely honest, when someone would come that was a “young single” I simply referred them to another church. I didn’t know what else to do because we had a college group that met Sunday mornings, but other than that; we literally had nothing for them. How sad is that?
Slowly more friends were coming back to Cypress after graduating and we finally decided that we needed to do something about this ministry.
After praying about it, planning, and recruiting some leaders, in May of 2010 we had our first Bible study. I think there were a total of five of us there. You have to start somewhere, right?
We continued to meet and grow and now a year a half later, we kicked off our small groups just last week. The Lord has given the group favor and it has been neat to be a part of it from the beginning and watch it grow.
This summer as the Lord began to make it clear to me that He was leading me elsewhere, more than anything; I mourned knowing that eventually I’d be leaving that group as well.
In an intentional attempt to get involved and plugged in at my new church, I’ve slowly been pulling out of this group.
For instance, I’m not doing a small group with them. Not only because I’m a part of a community group at my new church, but because come January I’ll be at Tuesday night Bible study. (Which, by the way, I am thrilled to be a part of.)
When they were calling out the small groups last week, they explained that they purposefully didn’t put friends in the same group so that they could get out of their comfort zone and meet new people and make new friends.
I looked at my friend Allison right away and told her I felt like I’d been ripped from my comfort zone.
Because that’s exactly how I feel.
I started attending Bayou City Fellowship right away and to say I love it would be the biggest understatement of the year. I absolutely adore my church. It has been a breath of fresh air to my soul that was starting to feel really dry and stuck.
However, not only am I attending a new church, I also have a new job.
After leaving a place I’d been 26 years, I walked into a ministry that’s been established for over 15 years.
Both Living Proof Ministries and Bayou City Fellowship have been nothing but good to me. I am in no way complaining about the newness, it is just the reality right now.
No matter what, where or when, change is always tough.
What hit me last week in a fresh way was the thought that I really did leave my church. I’m not just trying something out for a few months and returning later, and I really do have a new job. Everything really is new and God willing, it’s not temporary. It was a fresh, hard, good reality.
There is always a honeymoon stage to all things new, and now that I’m feeling settled and learning this new rhythm to life, the honeymoon stage is ending and the reality is setting in.
I’ve never been married, but I’ve heard countless couples say that they couldn’t imagine loving their spouse more than they did on their wedding day, but even six months later, they are more in love than ever, and so on and so forth.
I imagine that is how this new season will turn out. I knew I loved it when I started, but now, even almost three months in, I love it even more.
All honeymoons must come to an end, but that means a sweet future of new memories is just around the corner.
At the beginning of this year I was feeling stuck, but yet comfortable and discontent all at the same time. Everything around me was so familiar and I wasn’t growing. I began to ask the Lord to move in my midst and He did just that. In fact, He did more and moved more than I could have ever asked or imagined.
Not only was I ripped from my comfort zone; I was also ripped from my discontentment. The Lord knew what He was doing. He knew what would challenge me and scare me. He knew what would spur me on. And although it’s hurt along the way, and tears have been shed, I am so thankful.
When I’m comfortable, I’m not growing. When I’m uncomfortable, I cling to Him, which is exactly where I need to be.
Slowly, but surely, I am feeling more at home in this new season. Thank you, Lord, for ripping me away from all things familiar.
“Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? There it is! I’m making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands.” Isaiah 43:18 – 19