Consider It Pure Joy
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. James 1:2-5
The Last Nine Blogs were in a series entitled The Lamp Unto My Feet, while I immensely enjoyed writing that blog series and know that it was what I was supposed to write, it also allowed me to avoid this topic. These last few months have been very interesting for me and I hesitate even now to write this blog. However, I believe that I need to do so.
February of 2018 began a long season of transition in my life. This transition has been not just long, but excruciating at times. I did not write of it then because I did not think I could do so in a way that would honor the people who have been leaders, supporters and employers in my life. So, I have waited.
The transition began with me being informed that my full-time ministry position, was being changed to part time. At that time, I was graciously offered a supplemental position to keep my full-time capacity. I cannot say that I was completely gracious in my feelings about the transition but I did take what they offered me and stayed. Over the next few months my husband and I talked a lot about the future and what I needed to do.
There were many dreams that I have had over the years, and though I thought we were supposed to do some of the them, I was not sure when we were supposed to do them. I knew I wanted to eventually home-school my kids. However, we were not sure we could support ourselves financially if I quite working. Do not get me wrong. We are immensely blessed and God always provides. However, my husband and I also believe that we have to honor those resources God gives us and work hard.
In November came the next big push in our season of transition. I was informed at the end of November that my Ministry Position was being completely dissolved and though I could keep my supplemental part time position there were no other opportunities for me. That day and the days that followed made me feel as though all the wind had been knocked out of me. God has always provided, like I said before, but I was devastated, I felt as though I had failed God, my leaders and my family. I will never claim to be perfect or that I did nothing wrong. However, I will just say that I was told, the decision that was made was not based off of performance. But rather that they just felt that the position was one that was no longer needed.
For me I am a perfectionist and spend far too many hours worrying over what I didn’t do and lose focus on what God is doing. During the next few weeks I felt lost and terrified. Then in late November Megan came to me with her Decision to leave God’s Enough – Women's Ministry. This again felt like another swift kick. I know that Megan’s decision was the one God had for her and hold nothing against her. The whole situation just felt so overwhelming and painful.
I want you to know that I am thankful. Though I have struggled with other emotions, the one that rides to the top is joy! I have worked for Westover Hills Church for five and a half years. I have been challenged and I have grown. I have been taught and I have learned. I have been pushed to do better and I have been blessed. Also, I have had the opportunity to get to know Megan very well and she has become a great friend, more than just a partner in ministry. This is why I knew that she was making the right decision, because as a person I know her never to take things lightly or to make rash choices. Therefore, though I cannot say these things were easy I know can now face them with joy.
I could not figure out what God was doing in all of these things or why he was allowing them to happen but I worked to push through my emotions and move on to the next thing. I began searching for other jobs. Trying to figure out what was next for me, but I did not find one that I felt was the correct fit. Finally, in December of 2018 I was hired by a company online that allows me to work early mornings and late nights. This opened up new ideas and opportunities. At that time Ted and I decided that it was time for me to transition home. We started planning. We prayed and we drew out a timeline.
Together we decided to let me build up my online job and prepare to leave the job at the Church. In our prayer and preparation, we decided that we would allow our children to finish out the school year where they were, our son in Public School and our daughter in a Private Preschool Program. I gave my notice and chose to make my last day at the Church June 4th of 2019. At the end of that time I got the wonderful opportunity to be home full time with my children, and will home-school them in the fall.
Throughout this last year and a half, I have faced many emotions. I will be honest I have not dealt with all of them gracefully. I have not always been joyful in them. I wish that I could say that I used my spiritual maturity as I faced each emotion, but I did not. I am not saying here that I have been persecuted for my faith, however I will say that I have had to stand in faith and push through my emotions to find joy.
Through this season I have faced anger, and I have fought it. It has circled the drain quite a few times, before I have been able to surrender it completely to God. I have had to push through bitterness and allow God to refocus my eyes. I have felt betrayed and deceived and I asked God to help me to forgive and to remember that each of us is human and not perfect. I also at times have felt alone and unloved, in those moments I have had to surrender the broken pieces of my heart to allow him to fill my emptiness and find His Joy.
With each of these emotions I have found my joy in the Lord. I have found my fulfillment in His word. I have found the love and forgiveness in the message of the Bible. I have not been able to come to these conclusions on my own. Instead I have been transformed and renewed through worship and reading the Bible. These emotions whether caused by others or just a part of the grieving process, I went through, have helped me grow. I am not the person I was a in February of 2018, and I am not the person I will be in February of 2020. I have found my joy in the Word of God. I am able to now look at all these things, the transition and the new season I am walking into and I am thankful. I am thankful for the time I have had at Westover. I am thankful for the friendship I have found in Megan. I am thankful for the new opportunities that I have now in front of me. I am also thankful for the opportunity God has given me with God’s Enough – Women's Ministry and cannot wait to see what God has in store for this new season.
This year may have been hard for you. Maybe you have struggled through a situation like mine, or much worse. I pray that you have been able to consider it pure joy and if not that you will be able to find some joy again in the Lord, as I have. I know that my troubles are small compared to many and I pray for those in grief, pain and loss will be able to find comfort in God’s word and in knowing Him.
Now Go in God Knowing That He Is Enough For You.
Love , Laura