It’s been a couple years since I have blogged, however, God has been speaking to my heart and I wanted to share with you in hopes that maybe someone else facing the same struggles could find hope. I will just take it day by day and share whats on my heart and eventually get into my past and how God brought me through to the other side.
I want to share my most recent battle with you today, which feels like it has lasted FOREVER!! I know God is probably thinking, “Is this girl ever going to get it?” I’m just really thankful he doesn’t give up on me, but continues speaking to my heart and teaching me along the way.
I was born into a family of Jesus loving, satan stomping people. My mom was raised in church her whole childhood/adolescent years. My dad was also raised in church, in fact as a preachers kid. His dad pastored in many different states as he was growing up, eventually landing him in Texas where he met my mom and her family. From the time I was born my grandfather was my pastor, then two different uncles and then my own dad.
Ministry was my life, even before my dad was called into full-time ministry our family worked along side my grandfather or uncles helping in different ministries. My weekend outings as a child, teen, and young adult was cleaning the church and setting up for Sundays.
When I was 17 I felt a call to children/youth ministry. I served along side some amazing people through the years, mentored by them, and eventually becoming a children’s pastor myself. It was all I knew, really, working through the week getting ready for the following Sunday and Wednesday services, and helping my church family in different areas of need.
When my dad took a church in Mesa, Arizona in May of 2014 my husband and I knew God was calling us to Arizona too, even though I said I would never move to Arizona. How often does God call us to do exactly what we said we would never do?
We continued to work along side my parents helping lead worship, teach, help with media, and pastor the kids ministry. However, in September of 2015 we felt God was calling us to leave my dads church and venture into unknown territory, well for me anyway. My husband, Tim, was raised in church and was very involved in ministry as well, but he had been to many churches through the years. This was definitely new territory for me and our children and I was so scared, but I knew God had a plan and that gave me the peace I needed to jump into the unknown.
We moved to Queen Creek the following month and as we were moving we kept passing a local church and we felt drawn to try it out. It wasn’t long before we felt this was where God was placing us. It was an amazing church and everyone was so nice and friendly, but it was unlike any church I had ever been to before. The church’s we attended never ran over 150-people, this church had thousands in attendance each week. Talk about overwhelmed, this introvert was EXTREMELY overwhelmed, but felt accepted and loved.
I immediately tried to finding my place, I started volunteering in kids ministry and it was so difficult for me not being in leadership, not in a bad way like I thought I was better than anyone else or that I was too good to serve under other people, that wasn’t it at all. It was just so different for me, I was having trouble finding where I belonged.
It wasn’t long after that we decided to open an in-home daycare and that completely consumed all of my extra time and so I stopped volunteering. I felt like the daycare was part of my ministry, loving on children in our community, offering affordable rates, and a safe environment for the children God brought into our home. For the first time in my adult life we weren’t living pay-check to pay-check. The business took off and still to this day is doing amazing and such a blessing to our family.
I wish that would have been it and everything would’ve been happy ever after, I like to live in a dream world...lol. Here we were attending a great church, doing amazing financially, living in a beautiful home and life was everything we had hoped and prayed for, but I found myself fighting depression. I missed my family who was now living back in Texas, I missed serving along side them, I missed what was, what was familiar to me, what had been my identity. I missed knowing everyone I went to church with, I missed teaching, I missed speaking and loving on people.
It got to the point where I was so unhappy with what I had always wanted we decided to move back to Texas and serve in my parents church. We were willing to go back to financial hardship, give up our home, and everything we had worked so hard to build here in Arizona to go back to the familiar, my safety net.
We were a few months into our planning and budgeting our move when God shut it down almost as quick as the decision was made to leave, God was like, no ma’am, you need to stay. I felt such peace in that moment and thought okay, so God wants us here what am I supposed to be doing in ministry? I got back into volunteering at our church, this time with special needs and although I adored those sweet babies and the people I got to serve along side it just wasn’t the right fit, it wasn’t where God wanted me. It was during this season I felt God speak to me once again telling me to just relax and enjoy the season I was in, to stop searching and just enjoy the moments I was living.
It wasn’t long before depression began sneaking back up on me and I felt that yucky hopelessness try to consume my thoughts and affect my daily life. I did not want to fall into this trap of despair, how could my life be so perfect for me and I feel down and sad all the time? This isn’t what God has for my life, so I began playing worship music every morning as soon as my feet hit the floor and filled my heart with God’s word and devotions and books that would speak to those dry things in my life.
There were days I didn’t feel like anything had changed and moments where I thought is God going to bring me through this? I kept pushing though, I continued filling my thoughts with life giving words and refused to give-in to depression. That almost makes it sound like it was so easy, but it wasn’t, there were days where I didn’t have the strength to fight back and I would succumb to the yuckiness of depression. It happens to the best of us, but the important thing is that we don’t stay there.
It would be nice if you just had to fight it off once and it never returned, but life doesn’t work this way. One day about a month ago I read a quote from Pastor Steven Furtick; “If the devil can’t keep you bound in failure, he’ll try to keep you from enjoying your success” It was like a light-bulb moment for me, I’m living everything Tim and I had prayed for for so many years, we’re finally living it and I can’t even enjoy it. Well, not today satan, ain’t nobody got time for that.
I have done so much better since that aha moment, God always knows what we need at just the right time. I still continued to battle with the question, “What am I supposed to be doing in ministry?” It’s like I know I am supposed to be doing something, it’s part of who I am. Day after day I’m seeking God and I’m like, can you just tell me? If only it was always that simple.
The other night I was woke up at 3am by our new puppy needing to go potty, when I laid back down I could not go to sleep and God just began speaking to my heart and showing me in a vision what I had been begging him for. It seems my answers always come in the middle of the night, I guess because all is quiet and I am able to fully listen.
In the vision I saw this pig and it was rooting against a fence line. The pig was attempting to dig under the fence to get to the other side. However, behind the pig there was a tree blocking the pigs view from what was on the other side, but once I looked around the tree it was this never ending gorgeous land, full of life and beauty everywhere my eye could see. I was like okay, what does this mean? Then God began to interpret the vision for me, explaining to me I was like the pig. I had my back turned to the promise land and was insistent on returning back to my old life, my place of comfort, my safety net. However, that was a season I had already endured, I could push my way back, but if I would just turn and move forward I could see what was around the tree, the present that God is trying to push me forward to see. God doesn’t intend for us to not continue moving deeper into our relationship with him, he doesn’t want us stagnant. Nothing good comes from being stagnant.
In the vision as I began to move forward around the tree not only could I see beauty everywhere I looked, but I saw my children playing, happy, and carefree. God revealed to me that more than I can see as of yet is being birthed into my children in this season. I am not just kicking rocks, this is one of the most important seasons I’ll be in and it’s not about me, it’s about my children. I am raising the next generations of world changers, the next generation of our amazing lineage. These three little lives God has entrusted to me are so much more than my fleshly sight and mind can comprehend. If I would look back to the decision we made in 2015 to move away from all we knew, it was because of our children, but I had lost sight of that and made it all about me. How often do we lose sight of what true ministry is all about, it’s not us and making a name for ourselves, it’s about others.
I know this has been so much to read and if you’ve gotten this far I want you to know there is hope. If you’re struggling with finding your place in this world, in ministry, in the next step in life, don’t give up. The most important thing you can do is continue chasing Jesus, keep praying, keep seeking, consume your thoughts and time with words of life and wisdom. Don’t leave any room for the enemy to lie to you, to try and confuse you. God has a plan for you and your family and the season you’re in right now is for purpose. Sometimes the seasons carry storms, heartache, and moments of hopelessness, but there’s so much to be learned in those times. God is teaching you and honestly shaping you into the man/woman he created you to be. Don’t give up! Don’t give in! If you continue pressing in the answers you’re searching for will become clear in God perfect time.