I don’t know about you but I think God works a lot of times in us through seasons. Seasons of busyness. Seasons of difficulties. Seasons of prosperity. Seasons of excitement. Seasons of loss. And the list goes on.
Lately I’ve been in one of the craziest seasons I can remember in awhile with so many things going on, our church, 121 Community Church, moving new to a brand new building, celebrating Easter, and reflecting on things that matter the most…and all of this seems to have happened at the exact same time.
I remember specifically walking through 121 for the very last time. No one was there. Nothing was left. Not only was it a little emotional because of such history happening there, but something happened at that moment. It was if God stopped me in my tracks while looking down the empty hallway and said, “this…..this is what life is about……..this is how fast life goes……..now that you see this, what do you think really matters?
And I immediately knew the answer…
Do you ever have those seasons where you feel like God has just gone completely dark and left you to fend for yourself? Perhaps that’s a little overdramatic, but I would venture to say that some of you know exactly what I’m talking about.
To catch you up (since I haven’t had much to say in the last couple months – really sorry about that) . . . our family relocated to the Nashville area of Tennessee to follow what we strongly believed was a prompting from the Lord. It was not an easy process, but we made the move at the very end of 2016. Now, 3 months in, the boys are thriving in their new school, Stephen is cranking away working his job from home, we are making new friends and getting embedded in a great church community, AND we are getting to watch what will be our new permanent home go up in the lot right next to our rent house. Lots of exciting things going on, and yet there still seems to be some pretty substantial gaps that, quite frankly, throw me into a spiritual, mental, and emotional battle every day.
I fully expected to be settled into a new job well before now and I definitely did NOT expect to be looking at almost 6 months since the last time I was behind a microphone. And yet, here I am. Still without a steady income and still waiting to get to do the thing I love doing the most. The two pieces of my world that I thought were the main reasons the Lord was relocating our family are the only two pieces of this puzzle that are still missing.
Please don’t hear me say that I’ve somehow convinced myself that the Lord has uprooted our lives only to abandon us in the desert. There are plenty of good things happening for us that are exciting. But as it goes sometimes with God-sized plans, all the things that make sense have gone out the window, which for personalities like mine creates a deep sense of unrest and leads to feelings of doubt.
And then the other day as I was processing some of this with my husband, Stephen, it dawned on me that this place is somewhere I’ve been before and had just tucked away in those dark corners of my memory.
I’m thinking about God’s best lately. What does it look like for a believer in Jesus Christ? If we are encountering God and experiencing His best for us, do we continue to have a gnawing sense of dissatisfaction with who we are, where we are or what we are doing in our present state? When things get complex, sometimes I like to revert to simpler times when things just seemed to make sense, honesty didn’t have a filter or agenda and I could see things plain as day. In many cases, I’m brought back to Denver.
Some of my favorite memories of summer in Denver have to do with an amazing amusement park just down the road from my grandmother’s house. There was no place like Elitch Gardens (Elitch’s for those in the know) for a kid during summer vacation in Denver. The Splinter, the Wildcat, Mr. Twister, all of these rides guaranteed great fun and cemented my love for roller coasters.
It made a mark on me and I made a mark on it for a long time, making sure to stick a piece of gum to the portion of the log ride where every kid and immature adult seemed to leave offerings. For me and many other North Denver kids, Elitch’s had no equal; even though Lakeside Amusement Park tried it’s best, for a cheaper price.
You know those generic/store brands posing as your favorite beverage, for example, Dr. K instead of Dr. Pepper or Green Lightning instead of Mountain Dew? That was Lakeside. I couldn’t always afford admission to Elitch’s, so I spent more time at Lakeside wishing I was at Elitch’s, for one reason in particular.
Maybe you’ve heard the phrase, “Talk is cheap.”
Today, there’s no shortage of talking, texting, or tweeting.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with talking. It’s a good thing. People are built to talk, and with technology making it easier, we are.
Talking is important to friendship.
A good friendship is marked by good conversation. Good conversation usually means an exchange of sorts. One person talks, then the other, and repeat. However, sometimes a one-sided conversation is necessary, when one person talks the whole time and the other just listens in support.
I took a long walk the other day. My whole purpose was to walk and talk with God. The weather was as perfect as I could want. The topics were plentiful. I unloaded many prayers that morning.
But as I neared my home, it dawned on me. I spent about an hour walking and talking to God, but I didn’t give Him time to speak to me. I wasn’t taking the time to listen.
Whenever anyone brings up heaven, what do you think about? What comes to mind? Is it the thought of people floating on clouds? Playing the harp? Just singing all the time? There not being anymore pain or suffering? Daylight all day long? Does it bring excitement and anticipation into your life? Does it sound boring?
We have so many ideas and thoughts of what heaven will be like we’ve even made tons of movies about it. At the end of the day, there is not one single person who has been here on earth who has been in heaven…except for Jesus.
It’s interesting that we default to making up what heaven will be like “for us” or look around to other ideas to try to get a glimpse into heaven, when we have something…and someone who can tell us firsthand what heaven will be all about. Be encouraged to spend time with God today, pray, read the Bible, and reflect on what the future has to hold for followers of Jesus.
Here is what the Bible has to say with scripture on heaven:
This is a guest post by Matthew Brough, Pastor of Prairie Presbyterian Church in Winnipeg, Canada for over 13 years. He lives in Winnipeg with his wife, Cheryl, and their daughter, Juliet. You can visit his site Spirituality For Normal People
, and contact him here
and on Twitter.
If you are interested in writing a post for us, visit our Guest Post
page. You can also view other guest posts by clicking here
“I’m spiritual, but not religious.” I’ve heard this little phrase hundreds of times, but I’m not convinced. After years of working as a pastor, of trying (though often failing) to put Jesus first and truly trust Him, I have come to the conclusion that spirituality needs religion.
When I say spirituality needs religion, I am not talking about doctrine or theology, although they are important. What I mean is spirituality needs to be structured.
“I’m spiritual but not religious” is like saying I don’t want to follow any rules or patterns in relation to God. This is an attractive idea because we get to be in charge. We can do what we want, when we want. I can be “spiritual” while drinking a latte at Starbucks, while biking, while sleeping in, or while watching Netflix.
For most of my life, this was the kind of spirituality I practiced. It was an “I believe in God but I don’t really want anyone or anything to tell me how to connect with God—I’ll do it my own way” kind of spirituality. This, of course, meant not really connecting with God at all.