I have been thinking about transition a lot lately. Especially as we are walking through it again. It seems we are the aloof, gypsy family who just floats from town to town, pouring into our ministry until it’s over. Searching for home, but never fully finding it. But each time we have approached a change, it has always been prayerfully and with deep reverence and obedience to the Lord. Though it may seem that we just wistfully float through life, each of those moves has brought about a new depth and understanding about who I am, who God is and what our lives look like intertwined together.
Each new place has taught me lessons about living in humility, contentment, faith, trust and boldness. These have not been easy lessons. Humility is hard. Contentment is even harder. Living boldly in faith and trust that the Lord is going to catch you when you fall can sometimes feel impossible.
As I look back on our eleven years in ministry, it feels as if the last eleven years have been one continual transition. Rather than a transition from city to city and church to church, it has been a continual journey from old heart to new heart. At times I’ve equated the last eleven years to our wandering in the wilderness. Our journey in the woods while we wait for the home we dream of. Though Israel wandered because of disobedience, I sought to be obedient in my time in the valley and wilderness of life and it provided me the opportunity to emerge as a new creation with a boldness to chase the Lord that I lacked in the comfort of my youthful understanding of life.
My lesson in humility has taught me that I can be vulnerable. I can ask for help when I need it. I am made strong through admitting that I cannot do things alone. Humility is not weakness. Humility is not living in my shame. Humility is not saying yes to everything someone asks of you. Instead humility understands the sovereignty of God. Humility loves ones neighbor as ones self. Humility delights in the glory of God rather than the glory of self. Though it is a tough lesson to learn, it has made me so thankful for the grace of God. Humility is not about me; it is all about him.
Contentment was much harder to learn as I had to change my view of what contentment looked like. For a long time I thought contentment came when I was happy with everything in my life. Happy with my job, happy with my home, happy in the city I lived in. Unlearning this view of contentment hurt. It hurt a lot. Everyone dreams about life and it seemed as if I were so far from my dreams that they’d never be achieved. And then one day while I wrote a sermon about contentment, and it finally started to make sense. Phil 4:11-13: “for I have learned to be content with whatever I have. I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” How on earth was it so easy for Paul? Well, he knew that our contentment is not what we have or what we do; it is who we have within us and who we live for. This created a radical shift in the way I lived from day to day. Some days this is still a struggle, but the way I react to discontentment is much different than my life before.
What these two main lessons gave me was a new found boldness. Learning to be content and humble showed me that I can live boldly through faith and trust. I can believe in God’s word boldly. It opened up my heart to new dreams, new gifts and new opportunities that I would have never dreamed of. And through faith and trust, God is showing me one step at a time how to get there. And the most beautiful thing is that I don’t have to be afraid. I know that I will fall, but I know that he will pick me up. I know that others will say things about me, but I know what God says about me and he is whom my heart desires to please.
So as we continue walking through this new transition and a world of unknown, I believe wholeheartedly that my family is about to leave our wandering and step into our promise. But I hope the journey doesn’t stop. Settle down and build a life full of community, yes. However, I never want to fully reach the spiritual destination. I never want to forget the lessons I’ve already walked through. Instead I always want to grow and learn, knowing that every step I take I am faithfully seeking the Lord.