Today marks a pretty big day for us. It is the first core meeting for our church plant, Redemption Church Northridge. In many ways I can't believe we are here, in others it still feels like we just moved. My emotions are all over the place today. I am excited to see how God builds His church and uses us here in Northridge. I am in awe that we are starting. I am overwhelmed with all that lies ahead. I am thankful for all the ways God has provided, blessed, strengthened, and made possible this day. I am sad because I terribly miss our church family in Auburn, today they are having a feast at church - the first big thing we are missing. I praise God for the way He is growing our church in Auburn and the people we are seeing step up and serve - it makes my heart fill with joy. The anticipation of what is to come and the peace of knowing that God is at work is exhilerating.
I decided that due to all of this today is a good day to write out some of the ways God has been working and growing us over the lat few months. I can't put them all down because I know He is still working and has many plans unbeknownst to us. But I will try to put some down. Since my emotions are all over the place I hope my thoughts make sense.
Honestly, writing this all out is no easy task and yet I know I need to do it 1) for myself so I can begin to process it all and 2) for you so you can rejoice and learn with me. The thoughts and emotions we have had over the last couple months are numerous. And yet, the ways in which I have seen God grow our faith as we learn more and more to trust Him is huge. It has been one of those times where you feel inundated with emotions and wonder if you’re learning anything at all. Yet as you continue to move forward and put one foot in front of the other you see that God is working and will continue to.
In so many ways we have seen God's faithfulness time and again. From our housing situation, to people helping us paint and unpack, to the peace He has given knowing we are where He wants us, to the comfort I have had when I am lonely and missing dear friends and family, to the people He has given to be a part of the leadership of this church, to helping our kids adjust to a new place. He is faithful! I am learning that if I look to Him to provide and meet my needs He always will. I don't always do this, but I am learning.
Dependence is another huge way in which God seems to be causing us to grow and be stretched. This isn't something that comes naturally to me. I tend to think I can do things myself and if I just plan right or grow in the right areas then I will be o.k. That is so far from the truth. I am completely dependent on the grace of God. I can do nothing apart from Him. He is the source and strength of all that I do everyday. Some of the ways in which God has been teaching me this is in my health.. God has been incredibly gracious in giving me the strength and stamina I needed to move and unpack and get us settled. And then I got sick and had a pretty big relapse in my energy levels. This has been hard. I have had the thought of wondering if God realized the timing of me not feeling up to par being really bad. And then I realized that God does know, He is just answering my prayer to keep us dependent on Him. We know that we are not the ones who are going to build this church, save people, or minister to them. It is God and God alone. He will use us, but only if we are trusting in Him and seeking to be used - not working independently along side of Him. I want these truths to constatly ring in my mind through out the day.
One of the other major things that has been causing me to grow in my trust in the Lord is relationships. This has been hard. It has been a long time since I moved somewhere and had to get to know people without the help of a church body. The last time was in college. One of the big milestone of growth in my walk with the Lord. And now I am in the same spot. I have friends around the greater LA area, but none really in Northridge. It has been an interesting and eye opening experience for me. There has been many days I have gone to the park hoping to meet someone, to make a connection, and have come home no farther ahead. In order to see someone during the day we have to go out of the house - something I have not had to do for awhile. One day I went to the park and was excited because there were a ton of moms there. I was hoping it was a play group, maybe something we could get invloved in. It was. It was through a church nearby, a great church from what I know. However, all of the moms were so preoccupied with each other they wouldn't even make eye contact with me. I could tell by their conversations that I would have a lot in common and lots to talk about with them, but they just didn't have the time. I realized how many times I have done the same thing. I don't want to be like that! I want others to feel loved and included even if I have never met them. God is providing though. I have met two different girls in the last couple weeks. One seems to really need a friend. We went to the park one day and I am trying to get together with her again. The other I met at the park. She has one little girl Carsons age. We met by me asking her if she knew of things to do with young kids in the area (this has become my way of starting conversations with people). She replied by saying she has been looking for things too and has found nothing except things that cost a lot of money. This has been the standard reply I have gotten from people. So, I am praying about starting a mom's group and seeing what comes of it. There are none that I have found in the area that is not connected with a church or preschool. And there are a lot of people here that are not connected to either. Tim and I are also praying about getting involved in the YMCA here. Many people seem to be involved in it and it would provide some consistency in seeing people. I can go to the park, but I most likely will not see the same people twice. We will see how God works and provides.
I know there are many more things, but I will leave it at this for now. Thanks for all of the prayers and support. God is working and He will continue to!