August 1, 2012

How I Grew Up

I don't need a calendar to tell me that we've reached August. This is the point in the summer when I've either run out of ideas of what to do with my kids or I've run out of energy to actually go through with them. This is also the point in the summer when my mind anticipates what the fall has in store: What does God have for me? Who are the people He has for me to invest in? What and who are my priorities? And, as always, this month marks our anniversary as church planters. This year seems like an especially important anniversary, only because the last Olympic games were on at the exact time we moved to Charlottesville four years ago. Every time Michael Phelps swims, I am transported back four years and a lifetime ago.
Who was I then, that lifetime ago? I was a girl then and this, this church plant, has been my growing up.

All of these thoughts have brewed and culminated with a whirlwind trip back to Texas, our home state, this past week. As you do in these circumstances, I plotted my way across the state, attempting to see as many family members and friends as I could in six days. I about succeeded, all the while wearing myself completely out. But as I drove through East Texas, past my high school, and rocketed down I-35 toward Austin, passing memories on the right and left, I thought about all the people and events that have made me, me. I even spent time with some of those people, recalling some of those events that seemed to happen a lifetime ago yet are so fresh in my heart. I am thankful that I come from those people and those places.

But who was I then, that lifetime ago? I was a girl then and this, this marriage and these children and this ministry life, has been my growing up.

The thing is, if I had known ahead of time what God would use to grow me up, I might have just chosen to stay a girl. I might have resisted His lead. I might have chosen to go a different way altogether. And sometimes when the way of my growing up was illuminated before me, I simply stopped walking it out of fear, anger, or self-pity.

This week I've done alot of looking back. My heart has felt a little funny, and I couldn't understand it. Although I was back in the wonderful familiarity of home, I wasn't completely at home. And then I understood. This, this life I'm living as I follow Him toward my growing up, though unfamiliar and, at times, downright difficult, is exactly where I want to be. Because He is here, and He is home, I want to embrace this life that He intends for me. I want to keep growing up.
Looking back helped me embrace my life in the present. What might help you embrace where you are?

Looking back on this anniversary of our church plant has also revealed some clear mistakes I made in the beginning stages of church planting. I will be sharing those in an upcoming series called Don't Do What I Did! Stay tuned