I grew up in the church.
It’s a blurry line as to when I officially started ministry, but I was flipping projector slides (IYKYK 😂) and cutting out Sunday school craft activities long before I was even old enough to go to youth group.
Sunday School assistant turned into teaching, then youth leading, amateur coffee-making, leading services and worship leading. Over the years, I volunteered in just about every church area imaginable.
By my mid-twenties I was leading our worship team and hosting regional events. And by 30, my husband and I were co-pastoring a new church plant.
I’ve rewritten this part many times, because I want to make it very clear, this is not to boast.
THIS IS A CONFESSION.
By the time I was 30, I had poured every last part of my heart and soul into the church.
I was the ultimate yes-woman.
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When God’s timing doesn’t make sense
In early 2022, I was 36 weeks pregnant with our second child, and my husband came home and said he had been offered a promotion. One that would mean that we would have to uproot our little family and move in 3 months time.
It didn’t make sense to me.
Why would God want to move us NOW?
We were finally feeling settled and it didn’t make sense to us to leave our church now.
But within months, we had moved.
God answered many prayers about the place we were leaving, but the place we were going remained a mystery.
Taking an unexpected year of ministry
Within weeks, my husband and I found ourselves sharing with our new pastors that we were ‘taking a year off ministry to focus on family.’ Words that would be so faithfully honored by our pastors…and by God.
We knew moving would decrease the amount of ministry for a time, but we weren’t intentionally seeking one year off ministry.
But God had other plans.
Because the truth is, WE NEEDED REST.
Amongst other things, we had moved so that my husband could be home more for the kids. But as we told people that we were leaving to focus on our family, we never realised the weight of our words.
We never realized that the depth of what God was going to do in our hearts, was going to shape the trajectory of family.
We would never be able to teach our children how to walk in the freedom of Jesus, if we didn’t first fully know it for ourselves.
Don’t get me wrong, we have been tending to the state of our hearts all along. But there were things that needed to be tended to in the stillness. Busyness creates a sense of urgency, and what God has been doing in our hearts was not to be hurried.
Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? Come to me. I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis. Simply join your life with mine. Learn my ways and you’ll discover that I’m gentle, humble, easy to please. You will find refreshment and rest in me. For all that I require of you will be pleasant and easy to bear.Matthew 11:28-30
When God pursues you
We needed rest and we didn’t even realize. And it took a complete uprooting of all we knew in order to get us to stop.
And this past year has been surreal.
I never expected that our NO, or not yet, to ever become the very thing that marked us for the year ahead.
Because even in our rest, GOD WAS STILL AT WORK.
This year has been one of restorative rest. But restoration is not easy. Just like when a beautiful old home is restored, there are parts that need to be removed, renovated and remodeled. Each room seems unlivable, as it is stripped back and restored. But once the transformation has taken place, the room is truly beautiful.
I love the Church. I love the complexity of who we are and the way in which God relentlessly pursues his Bride.
But the state of own hearts must be tended to.
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Tending to our broken hearts
Busyness is not a requirement for the Kingdom. But our world idolizes busyness and the lines get blurred easily, even in the Church.
I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope.Psalm 130:5
Stopping for a year made room for God to do a deep work in our hearts and I have come to know the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2) in a whole new depth.
I wasn’t expecting it to be a year of deep healing.
In fact I didn’t know I needed to heal.
Not because my life was free from pain and disappointment, but because I thought I had dealt with it all.
And I had in many ways.
I realized that I have learned to deal with pain quite well. Wave after wave that hit, I was still standing.
I was still serving.
I was still giving my all to those around me.
I was still giving my all to the Church.
What I didn’t realize was that God wasn’t healing past pain, he was healing me.
He was restoring who I am.
He was redeeming who I am.
He was renewing who I am.
Want to tend to the state of your heart? Find our about more Unveiling Identity.
The old has gone the new has come
You see, freedom isn’t based on my circumstances, my ability to ward off peoples’ opinions or the strength of my own inner battles.
It’s based on who God says I am.
So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.John 8:36
My freedom is found in allowing the TRUTH of who God says I am to become my REALITY, as I surrender over and over, as I become more and more like Jesus.
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Why your identity in Christ matters
The question of who does God say I am is more important that you will ever know.
He is the only source from which our true identity comes.
Because only God can take our broken, sinful, unholy selves and make them whole.
It is from a place of truly knowing who God says we are, that the fear of man loses it’s power. Where insecurities, fears, comparison and lies lose their power.
This is the place of intimacy that we were designed for; a place where God’s voice is the only one that speaks and shapes who we are.
You may not feel called to have a year off ministry, but dear friend, do not neglect the state of your heart. Find space to allow God to do a deep work in your heart, because that is a work that will never end until we reach eternity.
God is not just looking for your service.
He is looking for a people who are FULLY SURRENDERED to him.
And it is from this place of knowing who we are and allowing God to transform, renew and heal our minds that our service to him will naturally overflow.
Dear Sister, are you ready to unveil the beauty of your true identity, uproot the fears and lies that you back and boldly reflect the glory of the One who has called you.
Daughters of the King: Unveiling Identity is a five part series for women who long to discover and boldly walk in the beauty and fullness of their true identity as a daughter of the King.
We are about to get real about the transformative truth of who God is and who he has called you to be. Because, knowing your true identity as a daughter of the King, well, it changes everything.