I could feel the sadness creeping in. It was heavy and thick, like Mississippi mud, and I tried to swallow it down, but it rose up, a knot in my stomach that threatened to crawl through my chest and escape as a ragged sob.
Sometimes, you just don't want to lose it in public...but sometimes you do anyway.
This weekend at church, we continued our "Rooted" series. First, we talked about being rooted in the word, and then in our relationship with God. Last week we talked about being rooted firmly in relationships with other believers, and this week, we talked about being rooted in our purpose.
It didn't really affect me until then end...until the worship team was singing about moving forward and Pastor Freddy prayed about clarity of vision. That's when the knot started forming.
Five years ago, I received a calling from God (and you can read about that here). He didn't ask me to do anything specific at the time. He just told me He was calling me.
I know it was real. I know He's calling me. I know He wants something very big from me.
But I still have no clear vision of what that is...and somewhere, deep in me, that weighs so heavily.
I remembered feeling like that another time at FLC, just over three years ago, when we visited on a Saturday night on a whim.
I was pregnant with Avery at the time, and Pastor Freddy was preaching on GOING: praying hard for God's will, but MOVING. I wrote a blog post about it because, even then, I felt the indescribable urge to move forward, but felt the hand of God holding me back until the time was right.
And once again, last night, there I sat on the front row, tears streaming down my face because I'm so ready for my vision.
Or am I?
Cognitively, I'm very aware that I'm NOT ready. I have six children. Five of them are still in our home, three of them are ages four and under, and we have yet another baby on the way. Taking care of them is most important right now, and I know I'm not ready for any huge responsibilities beyond that. Raising them is part of my preparation process.
Furthermore, I know that, should God give me more of His vision, I wouldn't wait for His timing. I like to jump in with both feet, and I would jump straight into the wrong thing. It's almost certain.
I think that's what made the overwhelming sadness so difficult to contend with: I felt like there was no reason for it! God's got this! I'm very aware...so why the heavy heart?
When I got home, I did some digging. I went back to the blog post I wrote three years ago, and it ministered to me.
First, it brought back to mind a verse that I should truly plaster all over the walls of my house just to make sure it gets plastered on my heart:
For the vision still awaits its appointed time;
it hastens to the end-
it will not lie.
If it seems slow, wait for it;
it will surely come;
it will not delay.
It is exactly what I am sure of in my heart, and there it was, staring right back at me from God's Word. He is so good.
Secondly, however, it reminded me to look back and see the progress that's been made in the last three years, as well as completing a sound assessment of where He's still doing some major work on me.
I started two pages in my prayer journal: one for "lessons learned" and another for "lessons He's still teaching me." Then, I went back through almost every, single blog post I've made since the one in May of 2014. The results were both uplifting and sobering.
I was able to fill an entire page with lessons I feel God has worked solidly into my heart, lessons that have become part of my daily walk, part of who I am as a follower of Christ.
However, there was also 2/3 of a page of lessons He's still teaching me - areas where I may have picked up part of the lesson, but have continued to fumble or have just dropped altogether.
I felt both deep conviction and sincere gratitude. God has already given me my next steps: complete the ones He's already given me.
There are areas in my life - diligence, household management, self-doubt, confidence - where He's still teaching me lessons, and if they are not tended to before I go into ministry, I will crumble and fold under the pressure of the enemy.
Pastor Freddy even preached on that last night! He said, "Sometimes we have to go back and complete what God has already asked us to do in order to move forward into what He has next." At the time, however, I was unable to see how that applied.
I once was blind, but now I see - thank God for His amazing grace. It's time for me to move backward and pick up some things I've dropped in order to make sure I'm fully equipped for the road ahead.
I made a report card for my heart: in some areas I've got O's for outstanding and S's for satisfactory, but I've also got some big fat N's staring back at me for areas in which I desperately Need Progress.
The main verse we've concentrated on for our Rooted series has been Colossians 2:6-7:
Therefore, as you have received
Christ Jesus the Lord, walk in Him,
rooted and built up in him
and established in the faith,
just as you were taught,
overflowing with gratitude.
And very appropriately, that's where I ended up last night. I laid my head to my pillow overflowing with gratitude, knowing all God has already done, grounded in what He's still doing, and excited for what's to come.
That's another lesson from the past that He's still writing on my heart:
My adventure doesn't start
when I become the person I'm supposed to be;
my adventure is in the BECOMING.
Alissa Shea Coburn
December 30, 2016
And I'm enjoying my adventure.