I should be grading papers. (I should always be grading papers.) But, at this moment, I need to write. Other than a mention here or there, I haven't really said much about finding a new church, other than I most certainly was doing so. I don't feel like I owe anyone an explanation, but there are so many things bubbling over in me that I can't keep it to myself. Today, I visited a church that had been on my list for a while, and I loved it. I will be praying like crazy for God to show me exactly where He wants me, but I left church feeling happy and excited for the first time in a really long time.
The sermon today was on Galatians 2:11-21. It was exactly what my heart needed to hear. Despite what some might think, my decision to leave the church that I have attended for the majority of my adult life (the last ten years), was not a flippant or easy one. I have cried more tears over this decision than I did over my initial one to leave the Catholic church to pursue the opportunity to lead praise and worship. I have so many warm and wonderful memories of services and of the people in that church, some of whom I love and will miss so deeply. But it was time.
Ten years ago, when the girls and I were asked to lead worship, we prayed over it for a long time before we said yes. God made it clear that it was where He was sending us, and it wasn't always an easy road in those earliest years. But we grew and God blessed and our ministry was as good as any ministry with three stubborn and strong-willed women could possibly be. I will never be able to sing a praise and worship song (or most any song) without longing to hear the harmonies of Sheena and Crys in my ears. Even good things have a shelf life, however, and within the last couple of years due to many different things, it became clear that God was calling us to new things. (And even to new places.)
I might have stayed where I was even after we stopped singing, but there were other circumstances, too. (Aren't there always.) It's rarely one big thing that forces our hand, but a thousand little things. It took going somewhere else to realize just how dry my spirit was. If I were honest with myself, I'd known that I hadn't been getting what I really needed for a long time. But I am nothing if not the champion of rationalizations. I kept thinking I would go after this happens, and when that came and went, I would draw a new line in the sand. I'm not one of those people who relishes being out of my comfort zone. And that's what I knew this move would require. Leaving would hurt, but staying would be much worse.
At the end of the day, there are only a few things that truly matter. For me, those things are honesty, integrity and respect, especially when you are talking about leadership. I'd been through the loss of those things in my work environment once upon a time, and I knew that I couldn't survive the lack of those things in my church. I didn't realize how close I came to losing it all spiritually, until I saw today that it can be different. I don't want to play church. I want to worship my Boss and my Rescuer (which the pastor said this morning, and I find a lot more personal than Lord and Savior). I want to serve Him. And I want to do that wherever He puts me.
Update: I've never done this on a post before, but I am closing the comments. If you want to discuss something in this post, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.