“Capture our hearts and our imaginations completely Lord. Challenge Your people, who are Your body, to let go of all we think we have to know and believe is good so that You can bring about Your best! Change us for Your glory Lord!”
Check out this video!
To say that God has brought change into my life this past year is an understatement. Time has not been the main culprit at stopping me from writing, but the difficulty in articulating the multifaceted ways that God is reshaping not only me and my life, but my entire family’s lives, has been. God has really had my full attention and been consuming my thoughts and imagination almost every waking moment.
When I watched the video that I posted above, I was so inspired and compelled that I just had to write and share it with you. As the primary color for autumn, which we know is a season of transition, ORANGE is a color that suggests CHANGE. God has been keeping me at peace, blessing me, stretching and empowering me as He chips away more of the “untruths” that have attached themselves to my soul. He continues to change me from the inside out. You could definitely color me orange. I am learning to embrace change as God walks me through my own season of transition.
Now that so much time has passed and there is so much to share, I hardly know where to begin so let’s start with the most obvious…how did I come by the ORANGE video? Well the answer is big change # 1…I am now living in Tampa, Florida and serving at a new church, Fishhawk Fellowship Church. The Children’s Ministry Director at FFC, Donna Terrell, shared this video link in hopes that others would join her at the upcoming Orange Conference in Georgia.
I must digress and share with you why we moved to Tampa. Back in a previous blog, “Daring to Dream Again”, I shared that my husband and I were transitioning into a new season of our lives, empty nesters, pursuing new vocations, after our youngest graduated high school and headed off to college and the closing of our long time family owned business in Key West. More on those topics in a later blog.
By May of 2008, Brooks, my husband, was already off to New Jersey to work as the pitching coach for the Sussex Skyhawks, a baseball team in the Independent Professional Canadian American Baseball League. As I faced the daunting tasks, without the help of my husband, of moving our daughter, Jessica, to college in Orlando, moving myself to Tampa, all the while leaving our house cleaned out and “show ready” for our realtor, it hit me like a ton of bricks how profound the changes in my life were going to be. No children nearby, no husband nearby, new city, new culture, living with a new “roommate”…my mother-in-law…in her home, trying to find a new job while also praying for and pursuing music ministry opportunities, and to top it off without any tangible help from my long time friends and church family in Key West. Could I do this?
To say I prayed earnestly for weeks in preparation of this “big change/big move” is an understatement. With every wall I painted, piece of wall paper that I stripped, and closet, cabinet or drawer that I cleaned out came a flood of memories accompanied by a river of tears.
What I thought was going to be my liberation…my moment of freedom and deliverance into the “real world” of opportunities suddenly became weighed down by the overwhelming reality of my human struggle with change.
Why do most of us struggle so much with change…even when we have been praying for it? It probably would have been much easier if my family was all ending up in the same place, together like we have been for 26 years, but that was not the case. We were and still are living individual lives …Brooks on and off the road coaching baseball, Matt in Key West, Jessica in Orlando and me in Tampa. That is the part that was wrenching my heart. Suddenly I realized how being completely alone felt. It was really sad and scary.
“He that dwells in the secret place of the most High abides under the shadow of the Almighty. He shall cover you with His feathers and under His wings you shall trust: His truth shall be they shield and buckler.” Psalm 91:1,4
Once again, my God in His comforting still small voice whispered into my heart…”Be still. You know that I am your God. You say you trust Me. You gave me your “everything”…remember? Didn’t you mean what you said? I am with you always. Fear not. I am in the process of answering your prayers.”
“Yes Lord”, I prayed, “Be my covering. Keep me safe in the shadow of your wings. You know my needs and my desires. You love my children far more than I ever could. I trust You Lord with my loved ones, with my life, with all the uncertainties and changes we are going to face. Give me strength to do this. Give me the energy, courage and attitude to journey forward into the unknown.”
The more I worked on the final remodeling efforts of our home, of course while listening to music blaring on the stereo, and talking to God…the more I cried. I accepted the tears as a right of passage into this new season and new life. I was grieving and saying goodbye to everything familiar, everything that I had sowed my love, life, talents and energy into for 20 years. It was necessary to “let go” again…in more ways than I will probably ever be able to explain…of the good and the bad. In the midst of it all, I asked God for one thing for myself…and one thing only.
I prayed, “Lord, I need your help finding a new church. Brooks will not be back for months. Please cover me in this decision and help me know where you want me to worship and serve You in Tampa. You know how very much I love to lead worship and how very much I love being part of a worship team and band. That is my desire Lord. You know my heart for outreach, missions, and women’s ministry and discipleship . I will accept whatever Your will is for me Lord. Please lead me to where you would have me use my gifts and talents in worship to You my God.”
I decided to spend a long weekend in Tampa after moving Jessica into her summer term apartment in Orlando before returning to Key West to pack up and move myself. The practical side of the mother in me thought, Tampa is a lot closer than Key West…just in case we’ve forgotten to do something or my girl needs my help the first few days of college, which she didn’t.
It wasn’t that it was a far or difficult search to find FishHawk Fellowship Church that made what happened that Sunday so amazing, it’s what happened once I got there that totally thrilled my soul. It was hard to believe what my own eyes could see…in the church’s bulletin that Sunday were two announcements asking for someone to serve…
- as a keyboardist with the praise team band and
- as a facilitator for a ladies Bible study
Those were the exact two positions I had just stepped down from the week before at my home church in Key West. Thank you God for making my path straight.
It has been 9 months since I first began playing keys and singing with the worship team and choir at FFC. I have also been blessed to serve alongside some awesome new “sistah friends” in the women’s ministry. Fishhawk is an “on fire” young church of over 900 attendees. It is growing rapidly under the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Lots of exciting change and spiritual growth happening there too. I am blessed to be a part of a church with a huge vision and heart for the Lord, His loved ones, and the lost. I am not afraid of the changes that are happening as growth continues. I am excited for them. Me and my life fit right in there.
As I journey on in my new life, I’m learning more and more to embrace all of the many profound changes in my life. I am only able to do this because I have a constant in my life that NEVER changes…my Lord, my Savior, and Heavenly Father and Best Friend…Jesus Christ. My liberation and freedom continues as I continually strive to depend on Him alone for everything. I still have a lot of unanswered questions, but I am willing to lay them down at His feet and choose trust instead.
So now I am wondering…
Is God calling you out and asking you to be willing to live a life worshiping Him in the shadow of His wings?
Will you allow God to capture your heart and imagination completely?
Have you given Him your “everything” …yes, I said “everything”?
Are you willing to let go of all you think you have to know?
Would you be willing to release all the good things that you hold tightly to your heart into His hands?
Do you want His best for your life?
Then I say…Embrace change for His glory along with me and let’s Choose to Shine!
Keep your eyes on Christ and remember…
You are loved!