Ten days without a post.
It is the longest stretch of time without posting since the inception of A Painted Cross.
And it makes me sad.
No longer having the time I long to give, this post will be basically unedited, unrefined and off the cuff.

And it is just one of the many changes in my life lately.

New starts, new stops – and lots of change.
It has been an overwhelming time but I trudge through each day, and I am making it.

We change all the time don’t we? Change our minds, change careers, change friendships, cars, homes – you name it, we probably have changed it at some point.
And through this last month as my world shifted, I just moved forward into the changes and never paused to look back.
For me, the hardest part of change is not what I am moving towards – but what I have to leave behind. So I guess I unknowingly decided to simply..not look back.
Until this Sunday.
Sitting in my church, listening to what was actually a sermon about serving, about gifts from God to be used for God – and my heart began to ache.. I was looking back.
I sat there with the storm of questions brewing, knowing the winds of change had blown in hard and fast. I wondered if I had let God down? Had He given up on using me?
Oh, if you only knew.
Knew how many months I prayed for Him to use me at our church, for my “gifts” to be shown to me, for me to know what they were and for Him to use them within the walls of that place. I had prayed and asked others to pray that I would be spared from working back “out there” – you know, out there – to the very place all my changes have now brought me.
So now I found myself sitting in church, hurting badly because I was still for the first time in a long time. Vaguely hearing stories of the amazing ways God was using, or would be using, those seated around me, of the way gifts can be used to encourage those in the church family.
I was hearing our pastor’s voice but the words were not all registering.
I could think only of how God hadn’t answered my prayers in this.
He hadn’t saved me from “out there” – He had sent me to it.

I hadn’t been able to say “yes” to “sign up” to make a “commitment” or to “join in”.
I had to say no.
No I can’t give, be, move people or be a part of exciting initiatives that change lives.

I couldn’t because – I was changing.

I had only the energy to put my head down, to live with not being able to understand that God was leading me out from all I longed to do “in”.
I was trying to follow it all.

I would not be wearing a church lanyard.
My name would not be found on the list of those involved in a church-wide serving initiative.
I had to say “no” so much that I know people I love thought I was pulling away or shutting them out.

Maybe I was.

I wasn’t angry at anyone but I was angry at my own circumstances.

I was angry at change.

And then the voice of our pastor and the words came together and in broke this “the gathered church and the scattered church..”
It was all I heard but it was enough.
I lost it.
Tears flowed.
I am still not sure I can clarify for you what broke me in that moment but if I had to guess it was that God called me.

He in fact did have a place for me – I was called to be a full time member of the scattered church.
And so I am.

It wasn’t what I begged for, or prayed for. I still feel I was pulled away before I found out what gift He had given me for use in His gathered church – which I suppose means the lanyard is out too..sigh.

But in the midst of my chaos one thing remains true – that He has remained true.

Even in my state of constant change, He is the God who never changes.

In the church, or outside those walls –
His plan remains.
Hope remains.
He is mine.
I am His.
And that will never change.

Scattered, and changing but as always, Authentically Yours,

“In the beginning You laid the foundations of the earth,
and the heavens are the work of Your hands. They will perish, but You remain;
they will all wear out like a garment.
Like clothing You will change them
and they will be discarded. But You remain the same, and Your years will never end.” Psalm 102:25-27

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