I haven't blogged in a couple of weeks because I really have been in a valley. I haven't felt particularly connected with God and to be honest, have almost felt alone and a bit helpless. I have just been waiting for the connection to return. The waiting period feels more like abandonment and a lot less like a waiting room. So over the past couple of weeks, I have been going through the motions but have been feeling quite empty.
So this morning on the drive to church, I thought about the fact that maybe there is too much noise in my life to hear God. I am on the go all the time...and I rarely stop. And in this waiting period, I have felt God nudge me to do a few things but honestly these things do not make sense to me. And the things aren't necessarily been "answers to my prayers" so I have held steady in my ways (ha! my ways...you'd think by now I would know herein lies the problem. My way is never the right way!).
And even when you do ask, you don't get it because your whole motive is wrong - you want only what will give you pleasure.
1 John 5:14
And we can be confident that he will listen to us whenever we ask Him for anything in line with His will.
So I walked into church today really hoping for a little encouragement and direction. And let's be perfectly honest, by 'direction' I was really seeking reassurance that my way indeed is what is best for me. Well, encouragement is not what I got; instead I was faced with heart break. Our lead pastor, who I absolutely love hearing preach, is leaving the church. Tears were literally rolling down my cheeks when he was making the announcement. I am heart broken.
Sidebar: This crying bit is taking on a new form in my life. Seriously...I have really started to connect with my emotions and it amazes me every time it happens. Not only crying but I have basically learned to be honest about the way I feel about things. Twice in the past two weeks, I have had a very real, honest conversation about my feelings toward another person. And it felt great. The "upfront, tell-it-like-it-is Ashley" suits me well...I think!
Anyway, here is a pastor that has built a church that I love so much, I drive to Tampa to be involved with it. And he is leaving. Although this was heartbreaking to hear, what was so amazing was his message around leaving. He reminded us that when you are praying and praying for an answer and God nudges to do something, even it is unrelated to what you are praying for, you need to obey. Sometimes the answer is obedience. God doesn't just want us to hear what he is saying, he wants us to listen. Listening is active. Obedience is evidence of listening.
When you bow down before the Lord and admit your dependence on Him, He will lift you up and give you honor.
He went onto say that several weeks ago, God gave him a feeling as though his time at this church would be drawing to an end. And although he doesn't understand why and he is very sad to be leaving, he is going to be obedient. So almost as a final parting gift, this amazing pastor has demonstrated His faith and obedience to the Lord. And through his powerful message this morning, I realized there is a lot noise in my life. And the noise has clouded my ability to obey God. And although the two specific things I feel God wants me to do make no sense to me whatsoever...I just need to obey Him. And trust that His plan is greater than mine. And there's a part of me that loves how God used the pastor's obedience to Him as an example of obedience for me.
Obedience, a pastor and a waiting room,
Just a few reflections about everything God is teaching me in this life...a journey deeper into His purpose for my life.