A little over a year ago, God called me to leave the church that I had been an integral part of for 6 1/2 years. It was a very difficult thing to do. I was very active at my previous church. Those people made up most of my social network. I loved them, and I was sad to go, but I knew that I must for God’s Word to me was clear.
The transition was not easy, not for me, and not for my daughter. She had never been to another church before. The children who were her peer group at our former church had been the majority of her friends for most of her life. She didn’t want to leave. She didn’t like the new church. She didn’t settle in well. She had difficulty making new friends. She would cry and tell me how she wanted to go back to “our church.” Each time, I would want to cry with her, but I stood firm and told her that we were at “our church.”
This was made even more difficult by the fact that I had to do this alone. My husband does not share my beliefs, and so I have the role of spiritual leader in my household, a role that God did not intend for me to have. So when no one else was around, I would cry. That lasted for a couple of months. Every weekend, I would drive by the school where my former church met and see the signs and the tears would start anew. But God was faithful. His word to me had not changed.
I knew when God called me to leave that He was calling me specifically to another church, the church were we are now members. After telling the church leadership at my former church what I believed God was calling me to do, I went to our new church the very next Sunday. Seven weeks later, I made my membership official.
Still, things were not easy. I was lonely. I had gone from a smaller church plant of which I had been a part since several months after its first Sunday service to a well-established church with a senior pastor who has been there for over 20 years and a church membership well over 1,000. I felt lost and alone. I knew very few people and those I did know, I was only mere acquaintances with.
I sang on the Praise and Worship team at my former church. I love to sing. God has given me a talent for it. I love to worship Him in song. I have never attended a church where I was not a part of a choir or praise team…until now. About six months into my tenure at my current church, still feeling lonely, I decided to try going back to where I had felt most comfortable, the music ministry at church. I wish I could tell you that God led me to do that, but in fact, I knew when I was considering it that God said the timing was wrong. Still, I wanted to find a place to fit in, and this was what I knew. Besides, maybe I had not heard Him right.
I called the choir director and spoke with her. She invited me to visit one night and see what I thought. Everyone was very welcoming, and it was obvious they loved the Lord and loved what they were doing. However, I have never felt so out of place in my life. When I left that night, I knew that I had heard God correctly. That was not the place for me. It was so clear to me, and I felt bereft.
Still, I pressed on knowing I was being obedient to God, and that He would work everything out. I stood on His promise in Jeremiah 29:11 that “He knows the plans He has for me, plans to prosper me and not to harm me, to give me a hope and a future.” So while I didn’t know what God had planned, I trusted that in His time, He would show me. And, He has begun to do just that.
Over the last several months, things have smoothed out. My daughter has finally started to find her niche, as have I. I joined the Women’s Ministry Council in January when a position was vacated by a former member. The Women’s Ministry Leader has become one of my closest friends. She is even from my hometown, one of the clear confirmations for me that I was in the right place because you simply don’t find people from my hometown living anywhere else but there! A coincidence? No…I don’t believe in them. A Godcidence, yes, but never a coincidence. I’m becoming involved with the youth girls there, something else that I know God has called me to do.
And in that sweet way that God has of showing us how much He loves us and has plans better for us than we could have for ourselves, He reached out and touched me personally in that congregation of hundreds this past Sunday.
God used a specific passage of scripture to speak to my heart about His calling to a new church last year. This past Sunday, one year to the day after I went forward and expressed my desire for membership in my new church, that same passage of scripture was a special reading before the service began. Tears filled my eyes as God, who is ever faithful, reminded me once again how much He cares about me and that all His plans for me are good.