You know it’s funny… When we give up what we want and give in to what God wants, life turns out differently than we could ever imagine. As most of you know, I was dating a man who was not a Christian and mentally and emotionally abusive. I did what I wanted and still thought I would go to heaven. I, however, had began to walk away from my heavenly Father. I know now the reasons I dated that man. I was lonely. I wanted the dreams of marriage and kids to come true and I settled for less than God’s best for my life.
It wasn’t until I moved to Dallas to be closer to mom that I began to see the shell of the person I had become. I had become someone I didn’t like. I had become someone that I didn’t want to spend time with so why would anyone else? I made the decision to move late last year and as mom and I packed up our home of almost 30 years, things became clear to me. Canyon wasn’t where I needed or wanted to be. I needed a change. I needed something to shake up my imperfect little world and so here I am five months later living in the big city.
A lot has happened in that period of time… I have changed. In fact, I don’t recognize myself most days. I left Canyon bitter, angry, hurt, filled with shame and yet longing for more of God. I remember the day I left Canyon. November 24th… Mom and I had loaded our cars up and she left about two hours before I did. I pulled out of my driveway and never looked back. I took on a focus I didn’t know I had in me. I drove that drive from Canyon to Amarillo one last time and took I-27 to I-40 just to turn back southeast and head to the metroplex. I felt as if I was drowning. I felt so bogged down by the weight of the world and everything else I was dealing with, but I knew in my heart that this was the move that God wanted me to make.
However, my stubborn self wanted the comfortable and the new… That never works. In September 2015, I had come down for a couple of weeks and realized I needed change. I even went so far as to tell mom as we were leaving church on Sunday morning that her church needed a youth pastor. I wasn’t going to be it, but I knew they needed it. I began praying then for them.
When I finally made the move here, I decided I was going to try some other churches just to see where I would fit in. This one was too big… This one’s music was too loud… This one didn’t have enough singles… All excuses…Easter weekend, I made the decision to go with mom to services at Southside Assembly of God. I never felt more at home than when I walked in those doors and the pastor and his wife both came and hugged me and told me it was good to see me. That Sunday after church I told mom again that the church really needed a youth pastor. So the next Sunday I told her I was going to mention it to Pastor Fiscus that I wanted to volunteer.
That next Sunday after church, my big mouth and I greeted the pastor and told him that I wanted to come and talk to him about being the volunteer youth pastor for the church. He agreed to meet with me and the rest, they say, is history.
However, there is way more to this story. I had been contemplating moving back to Canyon since I had gone home for my birthday. Every week in Bible study, I had been asking our group to pray that I either find a job here or back home. I had made myself miserable. I was so self-focused and bitter and angry that I had left that I forgot all the scriptures that God kept bringing to my attention about forgetting the former things and behold he was doing a new thing… I wasn’t perceiving the new thing yet. I was wallowing in self pity and was me focused.
The Tuesday night before I talked to Pastor on the first Sunday of April, my friend, Brenda, prayed with me and for me at Bible study. She prayed that I would find purpose and that God would open doors that no man can shut and close doors so no man can open them.
She didn’t know then nor does she know now that I had been praying that very thing too. I knew that God had called me out for a purpose and I also knew I loved and adored teenagers. When I got the courage to go and talk to Pastor that week, I told him about wanting to start the youth group. We have a great core group of kids. I found my purpose or one of them.
That day I went and talked to him, my life changed. I don’t recognize the bitter and angry and hurt woman that I was. He is making all things new. I have met so many new people that I can see doing life with. I enjoy my life again. I am looking forward to what this season is bringing me. Mom asked me the week after I went and talked to Pastor if she moved back to the panhandle, would I go with her? I answered with a resounding NO… I had too much at stake to lose the kids and the ministry and the relationships I am building with others. I am inviting people to church and praying for people and seeing things change. My heart is alive again. My mind is alive with possibilities. I am dreaming again. Which is HUGE… I had tucked away my dreams for years because they didn’t match my ex’s.
God’s promises are true. When we truly put Him first and seek Him with everything in us, He will bless us abundantly, above and beyond. I am living proof. For the last few weeks that I have been in the office at the church, I have come home and talked to Mom and told her “Who am I that God is mindful of me?” He is bringing to pass those things that He called me out for and I am believing for bigger things to come. I am believing for better things. I want more of Him most of all. I’m like Paul who says that I must decrease so God can increase in me. I pray that is the case every day. I want to decrease so that people see Christ in me. I can’t wait to see where He is going to take this ministry because it is His. He has brought it all together and I am humbled because of what He’s doing. He is opening doors for bridges between ministries. He is closing doors that never need to be opened again.
For all of you who have been praying for me, your prayers are being answered in so many really cool ways. God has done so much in my heart and in my life and I get up excited every day to go to work and do what I am doing… Please pray for my kiddos: Shannon and Michael, Bailey and Becca, Cassidy and Kylee, Clara and Stephen, and Misheal and Joanna. They are a great group and I can’t wait to see where God is going to take them.
Please be praying for their youth pastor as well… She needs it! : )