Have you ever been in worship and have a song just reach down to the depths of your soul and touch you? Like God was speaking those words right to you in such a sweet and intimate way? And then the next thing you know, you are a sobbing mess? I have had this happen to me many, many times, but this last one was paramount. This song, this moment somehow had taken all the brokenness, emotions, tears, and pain I had felt for the past year and put it all to words. Almost like I could have written this song…but I hadn’t. (’Cause, let’s face it, I do not have a way with words like that, OR the gifting of ushering others into the presence of the Holy Spirit like that —shout out to all you gifted worshippers, I APPRECIATE YOU!)
Let me give you a little context. When I found out I was pregnant, I was truly living my dream. I had been on staff at a local church, serving under incredible leadership, and serving in a capacity that I LOVED! I truly felt called to do the work I was doing. God really grew me in my time at that church. So, when I found out that doing the job I loved and felt called to do and also being the mom I felt God had called me to be weren’t compatible, I WAS CRUSHED. I wanted to be a really present mom, but working part-time at the church wasn’t an option. So once my daughter made her abrupt and somewhat traumatic entrance (that’s a story for another time), I was faced with the decision of whether I would go back to the job I loved and miss out on being home with her or stay home and grieve my dream job.
Ultimately, my husband and I made the decision for me to stay home with Charis. The weeks that followed me finally putting in my notice at the church were filled with tears, grief, sadness, and fear that I had potentially made the wrong decision. All of that on top of postpartum hormones…. Ya’ll, I was nothing short of a hot mess. Not only was I trying to figure out how to keep this tiny human alive, but I was trying to sort through all my emotions and figure out who the heck I was. For so long, my identity had been tied up in who I was at the church.
I truly grieved. I grieved a dream, a passion. I grieved the friendships with people who no longer really spoke to me because I didn’t work at the church anymore. And I grieved my false identity.
Thank goodness God didn’t leave me in my grief. And thank goodness for a great tribe of friends and family who helped me walk the road of healing. It’s a really dark place to be when you resent God for your circumstances. It’s even darker when you are questioning who He created you to be because, after all, He didn’t create an opportunity for you to marry your passions of ministry and motherhood. (Satan sure tried to keep me twisted up in that lie.)
Fast forward to weeks ago, when we sang this beautiful song in worship called “Defender” by Rita Springer. I had literally never heard it before. And I’ll tell y’all what, I stood in the back of our auditorium and bawled my eyes out word after word really letting the words pierce my heart. The bridge is what really spoke to me. It says,
“When I thought I lost me, you knew where I left me. You reintroduced me to your love. You picked up all my pieces and put me back together. You are the defender of my heart.” (“Defender” by Rita Springer)
And then it hit me like a ton of bricks, I had totally lost me. Somehow in the messiness of transition, I had lost sight of the only true thing that matters: God. I allowed myself to believe the lies the enemy was feeding me about God: “Surely God doesn’t love you if he made you choose between something you love and what you feel called to do.” I was broken. And truthfully, I wanted nothing to do with church, my Bible, or hearing from the Holy Spirit.
But that is truly the beauty of this story. As much as I pushed God away, He never stopped fighting for my heart. He knew where I left me, just like the song said. God knew where I fell off the wagon in all my grief and anger towards Him. And, like a gentleman, He waited patiently for me to figure it all out by gently nudging me and loving me.
Slowly, but surely, my heart softened towards God again. Looking back, I’m especially thankful for our new church home and some really great friends and family who helped love me back to ME.
This journey has taught me that God really does have good intentions towards us and plans for a great future like Jeremiah 29:11 tells us. I have seen what I believed to be my dream shift into a new dream, a better dream. I’m beyond blessed to be the one to spend my days with our little grace gift (We call Charis this because it’s what her name means). I get to see her grow, reach new milestones, teach her about the love of Jesus, and—let’s be serious—I get to see all the meltdowns, too. And what’s what is really cool too, is that God has orchestrated a way that I’ve been able to marry being a mom AND doing ministry by serving in such a fun capacity at our church. It feels really fulfilling to do both and I’m really thankful that the Lord has helped my family find a church home that allows me to volunteer what time I have to help advance the Kingdom.
So, this is one if for you, Sweet Girl, who is grieving the loss of a season. You are NOT alone, and you will be whole again. Your pain and trial are momentary. You are loved by a BIG God who wants nothing more than to ignite in you a fire for this new season He has for you—one with much promise. A season full of self-discovery and growth. A season full of learning new depths of a God who has loved you at your darkest. He’s not mad at you for pushing Him aside in your anger. In fact, He anxiously awaits you with a big, warm hug.
I want you to know that no matter what you are walking through, God is with you. I won’t promise you it’ll be easy, but I promise you the journey is worth the result. Hold fast to hope. You may feel abandoned, as I did, but I promise you God hasn’t moved from your side. He will reintroduce you to His love. And He has the ability to pick up all of your pieces and put you back together. Trust that He is the defender of your heart and that He is fighting your battles.
I’ll leave you with this. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 “There is a time for everything, and a season under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stone and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.”