Before our move I had been at the same church for 17 years. I have seen the incredible highs of outreach, unity, salvation’s and growth and yet I have endured personally the heartbreak of church life lows. I have served under five Pastors and there have been seasons where I have begged God to release me to a different church.
Someone once explained to me an analogy of a tapestry, where from the rough side that we stand on, we can only see the mess, the loose threads going this way and that, often with no clear picture in sight. But the creator of the tapestry, knows exactly what they are weaving,and precisely where all of those loose threads are going. And when the times comes for us to stand on the other side of the masterpiece, only then can we see the beautiful full picture, that has been carefully woven with love and purpose.
God was weaving the threads of His purpose in my life and I am so thankful that I had learnt to develop an obedient heart, for even though I was hurt and justified in wanting to leave, Gods purpose for me was to stay, where my character would grow through the challenges. I had serious issues with rejection, and church became another platform where I felt the sting over and over. I have an incredibly powerful salvation testimony, one that completely changed my life and one that I knew could change the lives of others, who believe that their only freedom lies in suicide. I was completely on fire for God and for the lost and I had so much to say, but in these early seasons of my christian walk, I was never given an opportunity. The rejection I had felt and the sense of invisibility became the root of my problem, it distorted my perception and became the stronghold through which I filtered all of my church hurt. But still I stayed, I stayed because that it where the Lord wanted me, and I wanted to seek His will for my life above all else. I stayed and the Lord himself ministered to me , and walked me through, rejection to forgiveness and maturity.
Throughout those seasons I had still been seeking the Lord, I was still tithing, I was still interceding, I was still serving in children’s church and I knew that I was positioned for God to move in my life. The Lord grew so much in my character through those years, and this truly helped me to understand the meaning of being planted, despite the fact that my flesh was hurt.
Now I stand on the other side of that seasons tapestry and I can see so clearly all of the incredible blessings that I would have missed out on if I had given in to my flesh and offense. Blessings that the Lord had been preparing in my future, that were a direct result of being planted in my home church.
I have learnt that being planted simply means staying where God had placed you for His purpose. He knows what is needed in our lives and prepares the exact soil required for us to grow in character, resilience, trust and faith. If I had left when I went through disappointment, rejection and offense, then I would most likely have been church hopping for the last 17 years and never walked in the blessing of my perseverance; I would have missed out on my professional career and the growth of my ministry, both of which were initiated by opportunities that came directly from my relationship within my church home. Both of which have been part of Gods overall plan for my life. God indeed did have a ministry for me, and my passion never wavered in all those years, but I needed to learn a few things about leadership before I could walk in all that He had prepared for me.
Church is a gathering of imperfect people, yet we have an expectation or idealism that it should be perfect and when we find, as time surely will tell, that it is not, if we are not planted in the house, with our roots dug deep then we can easily be deceived by our own thoughts, of another perfect church, or a perfect Pastor, to which there is neither. We have only a perfect God, and the hope and trust in His perfect plan for our lives.
And so this morning as I sat in my new church for the third time, I looked around and it suddenly hits me that we are really alone here. I don’t know many other people compared to knowing everyone at our previous church back home. But in that moment I also realized that this is ok. My heart felt completely at peace with the realization that I don’t need to know everyone just yet, these things take time and as the Lord continued to speak to my heart, I saw a seed being planted. A confirmation, that this church was indeed to be my new home, and with a moment of clarity that assured me that I had all the time needed.
I don’t need to be in a rush, I don’t need to try and get noticed, I don’t need to get a meeting with the leadership to tell them who I am, and all about my nation wide ministry or my years of service working for the church . I don’t need to tell them I’ve been on leadership, that I have a heart for intercession and that I would be happy to come and pray for people. No, today I am assured that all I need to do is worship the Lord, and wait on Him. I have been re positioned and planted for His purpose. He knows my gifts and my credentials for he has blessed me with them in the first place.
I am symbolically a seed that the Lord has planted into this house for such a time as this. I am reminded of the 25 year old version of myself, who entered a church, 17 years ago where I didn’t know anyone, yet grew into a women who had her own office in the building, living a future that I had never foreseen not even for a moment when my young heart felt rejected by leadership. So too will the older wiser version of myself, walk in a future that as yet I cannot see, but God knows the very people sitting in this church that I will one day call my family and closest friends.
Regardless of what storms may come, this is where the Lord wants me and here I shall stay until He directs otherwise.