January 2014 found me looking for “what next” in my life—and meeting with various community agencies to learn about local needs. I knew…
No matter where I eventually “plugged in,” I’d better be preparing for a broken heart.
May 2014 found me jumping from the frying pan into the fire.
- Downsizing our life — to upsize our faith
- Training to be a Court-Appointed Special Advocate for Children (CASA)
- Beginning a conversation about starting Safe Families for Children in my county
To say 2014 was a long year is an understatement.
- We’re still downsizing… and our old house is still on the market.
- I had all but finished training to be a CASA when that door closed. Slammed shut. I never saw it coming. No need for details, but suffice it to say that God isn’t the one who closed that door. Some days I’m still reeling from that one—and disappointed that I didn’t get to take that huge step out of my comfort zone; that step I’d found peace in taking… Mostly, I’m thankful I hadn’t already made a commitment to a child.
- With CASA off my radar, [Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead…] I turned my focus more fully toward helping bring Safe Families for Children to my community. May’s initial info meeting went well. October’s regional fundraiser luncheon went well (raising almost $30,000 for East Tennessee—and over $5,000 specifically for my county). I’ve made a lot of good contacts, prayed for wisdom/clarity/and direction, enlisted someone to share the task with me (yay!)… and yet I find myself struggling with a lack of motivation. Why?
I can’t seem to get my thoughts together.
I was so certain I was supposed to be doing CASA—and simply facilitating Safe Families—yet here I am with CASA behind me (before it even got started) and Safe Families waiting on me to put together a launch team.
This is certainly not the first time in my life when I’ve started down a God-blessed path only to meet a dead end.
- Marriage #1
- Two little (almost) foster daughters
- Church involvement
- … to name just a few
The common denominator in every one of the above situations is the negative way in which other people’s choices affected me or my family; people who call themselves Christians… Perhaps the situations wouldn’t have hurt so much if they didn’t include
- lack of integrity
- unwillingness to take a stand
- lack of commitment
- hateful behavior
When I make a commitment to something—or someone—I give it everything I’ve got. And when something happens to put a permanent roadblock in my path, it causes me to question myself, my faith, my understanding of God… especially when that God-blessed path is blocked by sinful actions.
It makes it hard to get back up and try again. It’s hard to “put myself out there” and ask people to care about families in crisis. I don’t want to see the self-focused side of Christians. I don’t want to see their clean, sterile profession of faith—and unwillingness to serve their neighbors.
I’d rather go into hermit mode and make another wreath. 🙂
As I read my own words, I think I see my problem.
I’ve been disappointed so many times that I want to protect myself. My focus is on Me. Oh, sure, my response is understandable—but it’s not acceptable. I’m reminded by Renaissance Man’s words in Dirty Faith…
Here in these first weeks of a new year, my focus cannot be on the disappointments and broken hearts that promise to lie ahead. Instead, my focus must be on the task that God has allowed to be in my life. For whatever reason—no matter how it came about—Safe Families for Children is my “what next”.
God, there is so much I don’t understand about your ways. There is much I don’t understand about people who profess to be Christians yet turn their backs on the very ones you call your brothers and sisters. I do know I was once one of those Christians—and that without making a daily choice to “not go there,” I could too easily become one of them again. Forgive me for still being so close to that slippery slope.
In this new year, help me to focus more fully on you and on your beloved around me. Help me to lead by example through a commitment to much prayer and searching of your Word. Enable me, when disappointments and broken hearts come, to not be surprised or pushed off track, but to press on.
This I know… Far too much time has been wasted by (we) self-focused Christians. Too many of our neighbors have been ignored (or worse, injured—perhaps eternally) by our poor choices, our lack of compassion, our unwillingness to be obedient, our unwillingness to practice a dirty faith. My neighbors… My poor choices. Please forgive me.
Father, you know my heart. You know there is a part of me, even at the beginning of a new year, that is already emotionally weary. But I know something, too. As said so eloquently by the Apostle Paul,
The Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.… He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher.… I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him.
Over four decades ago, I entrusted you with my eternity. At this moment, I once again entrust you with my Today. I’ve been floundering with unanswerable questions long enough… and today I’m reaching for your lifeline—the lifeline of obedience. Only you know what the future holds, but with your help, I will walk into it with confidence, trusting that you can use me—a sinful, searching, woman who wants to make an eternal difference in her family, her community, and her world. Please give me the courage, insight, stamina, trust, and compassion to shine your light into the darkness. Help me to pray first—and plan second. May I be sensitive to your timing and leading rather than holding back, second-guessing you—or, even worse, rushing ahead.
In advance, I thank you for all of the blessings, challenges, and opportunities for growth ahead of me in 2015. May I look back to this day—and my choice to move forward into the unknown—and call it blessed.
What about you? Are you looking for a lifeline in 2015?
Like me, is there an area of your life where you “simply” need to choose to follow God’s lead? What does obedience look like for you? If you’ll leave a comment and share, I’ll promise to pray for you—and we can hold each other accountable.
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I have a feeling 2015 is going to be a year full of adventures!
May it be a great one for you as well!