It's been a big week. Lots to document.
But, not now.
Something different now.
Something different now.
We've been visiting churches. Obviously. I think we've crossed off at least one for sure. Maybe two. The third one we visited this past Sunday. They have an interesting set up with multiple services occurring simultaneously with various styles of worship. The church was busting at the seams. People every where. They host traditional Sunday School classes on campus. And have lots of community service opportunities. The church has multiple teaching pastors preaching in their services with an executive pastor at the head. He was the same pastor we heard, oh, eight years ago.
Then, if we remember correctly, we decided against the church because of the contemporary worship.
My, my, my, my, my.
I really enjoyed the service. I felt at home there. Oddly. Since I've never had the experience of walking into a church and feeling like THIS IS IT. I know people who have had that and I've always been a little like, "Well, isn't that special." (Yes, please read that in your best Church Lady voice.) So it felt nice to have a sense of home.
The sermon was on 1 Kings 19 when Elijah runs from Ahab and Jezebel.
Our previous pastor preached on this passage in one of my favorite sermons. Ever.
The topic, "How: Dealing with Discouragement."
Listen. If you are walking a season of discouragement, when nothing seems to be going your way and you feel as if it's not worth it, stop what you are doing (reading this) and watch this sermon.
Like, right now.
I believe I've listened to it a dozen times.
So, yes, the passage is kinda familiar.
Hearing a different perspective on this moment in Elijah's life was welcomed. Although, I suspect I listened with more...intensity...than I would have prior to memorizing our pastor's sermon.
And for sure, the two sermons hit on several of the same points. It's kinda hard not to. But one thing I knew as the pastor started teaching...God was there.
The worship had been wonderful for me. And it must have been for at least one other person in the room because, whew. It's been too many Sunday's since I've felt The Comforter so strongly.
As the sermon began, I just whispered, "What do you want me to see, Lord?"
And started listening.
Most of the passage and sermon were refreshing and filling. I adore the lesson of God's voice not being in the big and powerful but in the still and quiet. I love God providing food and comfort. And I love Elijah yelling his resume at God about all he's done and IT'S NOT ENOUGH.
Not that I've ever done that.
Near the end of the sermon, we got to the part where God says, "Go back the way you came..." Verse 15.
Go back the way you came.
And I started thinking about the past five years. The years where I really did feel so discouraged. So lost. So...absent. It felt as if I had been dropped in the middle of an island. With a Threenager and a baby who ate every 90 minutes until he was four months old. Chris was gone. Most of the time. Leaving me a single parent six days out of the week.
(However, let me say, the last year of that, the year we spent in the last house. That year was not a year of discouragement. It was a year of rest. A much needed year of rest.)
At the end of all that, here we are.
Back the way we came.
And nothing has ever felt so right.
I've spent most of the week meditating on those words. "Back the way you came." I'm not sure what God has planned and that's okay. I know I'm doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing. Meeting my neighbors, ministering to my family, finding a church home. The world would change dramatically if we all basically truly loved our neighbors. I'm seeking to do just that.
But I also know those words jumped off the page because God said so. They are the answer to my prayer for Him to show me.
I feel such peace simply knowing we are "back."
Peace and incredible gratitude.
Time to release the hurt and bitterness and shame of the season of discouragement. And move on to getting into the Lord's presence, listening to His whisper and allowing Him to show me the full way back the way we came.