Finding Rest in Truths that Cannot be Shaken
Two years ago, I went through a grieving process. I experienced a loss that would shape my future and it made me cry. My church, Immanuel, is a part of that process and the joy that would follow. The people at Immanuel have also been a demonstration of God’s Unshakable Kingdom described in Hebrews 12.
It was about this time 24 months ago when my husband, Steven, began talking seriously with the pastor search team at Immanuel. We started preparing to make a move to Little Rock if God confirmed a call to serve.
I had to face the fact that I might have to present myself to a new church, a new city, and a new ministry as a broken vessel. During the previous four years, Steven and I both faced difficult health challenges. Steven made a full recovery and I did not. I realized my future was not lining up with my expectations. I was used to being full of vitality and energy. I was accustomed with high demands and busy schedules. I thrived on doing and serving, but my body demanded rest.
I felt called to ministry and I did not feel comfortable with rest. The search team came to meet us in Dallas. We spent time learning about each other and building a friendship. We had to tell the truth. “If you are looking for a perfect pastor’s wife who can volunteer for everything and do a million things for the church, we can’t come because I can’t do that. Right now, God has called me to a Sabbath Season. I am in a time of rest and I don’t know if that is for a short time or a lifetime.”
I know everyone has hardships in life and I didn’t expect to be exempt from them. I suppose I just didn’t expect them to completely alter my life. I suppose I planned to experience tragedy and then bounce back to normal with a big smile and pick up where I left off. My grieving had to do with facing the reality that I may never “pick up” again!
This year, I have been studying Hebrews 12:14-29, which describes a tension that is a part of all of our lives. We are stretched between brokenness and joy. And I do mean stretched! Sometimes this tension between brokenness and joy aches with every pulse. My brokenness pushed me to a position of rest. If I pursue the cross, it will propel me to a place of joy. I am irresistibly pulled by a supernatural force because I am part of an unshakable kingdom and future.
Hebrews 12 tells us that God is the father of our spiritual lives. I knew theologically that God loved me whether I was lying in bed with illness or serving with zeal. I recognized that I was struggling with value I placed on my own life. I also realized I would not have the luxury of nursing my own insecurity if I became the pastor’s wife at Immanuel. I would need to accept that if God called, I would have to go to the church in brokenness and not in perfection.
I am struck by the teaching in Hebrews about encountering God in the brokeness at Mount Sinai and the joy of Mount Zion. Both of the examples used in this passage speak about a personal choice to persevere, but in a context of a large group. The Bible speaks to a group that is grieving and a group that is celebrating. Each of us must pursue Jesus, but we have the benefit of doing that in relationship with others. At Immanuel, I have been overwhelmed by those who love me IN brokenness and WITH joy. And, truly, this is one of the reasons I am excited about the Women’s Night of Worship. It’s a time to find rest in unshakable truths for the individual life, while celebrating in the context of a loving and understanding community of women. Having the opportunity to spend an evening with women in many different generations who have weathered the storms of life with an unshakable faith is a highlight of my year!
I want to say thank you to everyone who has loved me in hardship and all who have brought JOY to my life!