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leaving church [part 4]

if you've been following along, you know about how i left my church, and the mini-panic attack that i had over it all...

the first church that we started attending, after making the decision that we'd start looking, was my best-friend-since-7th-grade's church about 30 minutes away, where her husband is a pastor. that's where they met and fell in love. it's a pretty cute little story :)

so, we had been going to this new church for a few months, and september was slowly creeping up on us. if you remember, last november, i took a "maternity leave" of sorts, from serving in the choir and worship team at our "old" church. i was planning to come back in september 2012 [just this past week, actually] and pick up where i'd left off. as september started approaching faster and faster i knew i had to look it in the eyes and deal with the some things that were totally unavoidable. i had to officially leave our church. i had to have that conversation with our choir director who i'd known since i was 14 years old. he's basically watched me grow up from a freshman in high school to a mother of two.

just a few weeks ago, i did it. i told him that i wouldn't be coming back to sing in september like we'd originally discussed. i wouldn't be coming back, period. i wrote him an email. and some of you may think that's crazy but i had to do it that way. and it was one of the hardest things i've ever done, hitting "send". i had to pray over that send button. i just didn't want to hit send. i didn't want to deal with it. i'm like that sometimes, just not a grown-up about stuff. and also, i knew that would finalize everything and there was no turning back after that.

it was strange for a few days when i didn't hear back, and my mind wanted to "go there", thinking of every possible scenario. i had sent the email on a monday, but of course i didn't account for the probability that he'd have to find time to sit down and write a thoughtful reply. so on thursday [when i went to get my hair cut for the first time in ten months], there it was. he had emailed me back and it was lovely and overwhelming and i cried. right there in my car i mourned the loss of those relationships and the familiarity and the comfort and the home i had known all those years. and then i dried those tears and accepted that it was final, and that i could move forward. it had been a gradual letting-go process and now it was public and official and finished.

and now? we're going to the new church "officially" and that feels good. it feels like we're not cheating anymore and i like that feeling. i'm released, freed up to explore what ministry opportunities might be waiting here in this new place, how i might serve the Lord in a new and fresh way, with brand new people [and totally different music]. what friendships might be waiting for me, if i'd just take the first step and reach out and invite people into to my introverted world, where i'd rather be sitting at home with my babies than fumbling through awkward conversation... but i digress. that's another post for another time.

but for now, i just wanted you to know that it's okay to change. it's okay to take steps into the unknown. some of you are thinking i'm silly for considering switching churches as "unknown" or hard. and maybe you're right. this is definitely a "first-world" issue, but it was hard for me. and i want you to know that you can do it. if you're feeling led to something new, whatever it might be, it's okay to do it [unless you think i'm talking about your marriage. because i'm not]. even if you still love the old, it doesn't always have to be a negative reason that you move on from it and into something new. God is constantly at work, and maybe we should be excited when His work picks us up and moves us out of our comfort zone, you know? maybe that reassures us He hasn't forgotten and He's still writing our story. who knows what could be waiting for you after you take that first [and hardest] step? i'm ready to find out.

i will just say one last thing, is that sometimes [most of the time] it's hard for me to venture out into the new, so i keep trying to grab onto the old. like the other day when i realized that lots of my friends will be going to the thursday morning bible study at the old church and i won't be going. those things are hard, but i keep reminding myself that God gives and takes away [job 1:21]. even though i may be missing out on a good thing, with real friends, i want to believe that He has something equally wonderful in store. and i'll just keep believing it until it happens.


Comments

  1. I've really appreciated this series. Thank you much so for sharing your story!

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  2. I too have really enjoyed this series! And as one who is also newly exploring opportunities to serve at my 'new' (it's been about 6 months now) church, I can tell you from personal experience that if you let Him, God will stretch you in ways you never imagined and give you beautiful and amazing new ways to serve! I am a total introvert too (I really resonated with the line you said about "i'd rather be sitting at home with my babies than fumbling through awkward conversation")... and yet here I am, not only serving on the worship & arts team, but growing into a LEADERSHIP position within it, and looking for opportunities to reproduce myself and train up NEW leaders as well, and all of it in a role as Connections Catalyst (basically meaning that little ole' introverted me is in a God-ordained position to connect the PEOPLE within our arts team... people who scare the bejeepers out of me because they are real and scary and potentially messy and involve risk) - but God is growing me and I am so glad to be along for the ride!... and it never would have happened if I had stayed at my comfortable old church! :) God Bless!

    Jess of The Colorful Ones

    p.s. I received the prize prints and love them... I took pics and totally intend to blog about it, but I was knocked out with a 3-week killer bronchitis last month, so a bit behind lol... but thanks again! :) God Bless!!!

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