Response

We are coming up on two years of Florida residency and hopefully considered locals now. It has become second nature to plan for rain, to allot for congested commutes, and unfortunately, beach visits are not as exciting for our girls. It seems as if all our lives, we’ve unconsciously been trying to get to Florida. I think the salt water is in our veins. We love it. We wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
We are now 20 months into our church plant and things are better and harder all at the same time. Destiny is now our home. There is no place we’d rather be. It is full of our people, people that put a smile on our faces and joy in our hearts. It has been an honor to watch our little dream become a seed in the hearts of others too.


In other ways, things are more difficult now than they were in the beginning. Although there was much anxiety over our move and over whether anyone would actually show up to church, excitement made the anticipation bearable. Excitement was also alive in those that supported us and those that attended. Routine and duty have long since set in, as they always do, and so has the tendency to grow weary. The slow goings at this point in the process can make certain aspects of leadership unenjoyable. Such is life on this earthly soil. I thank God we have a hope beyond this world.


Being senior pastors has placed us in positions to experience such great joy and also great sorrow. We’ve watched people come to know Jesus, grow in partnership with Him, and receive the answer to long awaited prayers. Yet, we’ve also known the heartbreak of human hurt we can’t fix. We’ve been present for painful, life-changing events that we wish we could make go away. We’ve been made aware of more need than we can possibly answer and we’ve sadly watched helplessly as people walked boldly into unhealthy situations that later caused them much hurt and consequences.  At times, we’ve felt fragile under the weight of this leadership and the destiny of Destiny.


When we dreamed of Destiny, it was all sunshine and beach days. We’ve since found that good dreams certainly do contain those things but they also bring a great deal of rain too. Especially if you live in Florida. Thankfully, God is sovereign in the sunshine and the rain. It all serves as a tangible reminder that living for an earthly dream will never satisfy. Jesus is the only dream that won’t defer our hope. Finding Him in the process of dreaming is what this life is all about. We have had to pace ourselves and learn to move through life more as a response to God and less as a response to our surroundings. Instead of reacting to the push of opinion or the pull to strive, we know we must shepherd from a continual state of response to The Great Shepherd.


We have been blessed with more than we’ve ever imagined but we’ve also had to let many things go. We’ve had to learn to live with our hands open…open to receive but also open to release. It is the only way to live responsive to the presence and purpose of God in every moment. It is the only way to recognize the holy ground we live on and fully experience it each day. Instead of the strain that so often accompanies the church and its leadership, we’ve had to learn to slow down and simplify. It is then that we become more focused on the little moments where our hearts are moved by His presence. It is then that He moves instead of us moving and asking Him to follow. It is then that our efforts turn from static to dynamic.


In this new year, I resolve to slow down more. I resolve to simplify more.  I want to respond more frequently to my Savior and less to the other noises that clamor for my attention. I long for more than routine fill ups. I want daily moments where my understanding of God moves beyond a temporal, all-present to a hushed intimate encounter.  Then I want to extend that response to those I interact with each day. I want to have more holy moments with my husband and my children. I want more daily experiences that go beyond the mechanical living of our lives. I want to be still long enough to see and touch the vulnerable hearts of those around me.


I don’t want to live on, forgetting that when baby Jesus showed up on our soil, the holiest of moments occurred. Hope had come. Salvation had come. It wasn’t just a future promise, but a current reality.  I want to live conscious of that reality. I want Destiny to exist in that reality. As a leader, I want to be moved by that reality. I want my children to grow in that reality. I want to serve more freely and give more often. I want to sing like God is the only one listening. I want to worship like no one is watching. I want to live like I mean what I say. I want that Kingdom to come more tangibly here to my world…to our world. I want to bring it. Dear God, Your Kingdom come Your will be done.

 

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