One of the visions for our blog is to build community and to share our stories. Here is the story of a relatively new member of ASC:
Father Steve planted a rather convicting thought in my head the other week when he talked about unknown desires and longings God has yet to reveal to us. I am so programmed to know how I see God working that the thought that there are other wants and calls He might have for me, throws me for a loop. You see, I very much experience God in people, places, and service. To me, those are where I see Him working in my life: I see God and His ingenuity through people, I remember His love through worship and the glory and beauty of place, and I feel that I become part of the Gospel narrative by service. People minister to me, places minister to me, the worship service ministers to me, and be able to serve does wonders for my soul. But to think there may be other areas completely intrigues me! I like how I experience God, why would I want more? Oh wait, let me tell you my story.
Hi, my name is Sarah. I once was a teacher that loved my job. Then I got married, moved, and became a teacher that hated her job. I always enjoyed working with my students, but teaching is often a lot more than teaching . So when I taught in a place where I lacked a support system, lacked a strong community, lacked a lot of things that make me thrive, I saw myself, my abilities, my strength, my good side unravel. In other words, I watched my life fall apart and there was nothing I could to do to stop it, or so I felt. In certain ways my life did fall apart, I became physically unwell, then pregnant and unable to do my job, so I resigned, struggled to feel apart of the city I lived in, and failed to overcome the negativity that surrounded me on all sides. Being a product of culture that prides itself on productivity, I felt at a loss- my job was my identity in a lot of ways, so to not work! Well, you can imagine feelings of failure and meaninglessness, I had many of those. Add in a church plant that didn’t have very many places to plug in, or at least feeling like doors closed on places that I wanted to plug in, a city where people aren’t the friendliest or with whom I couldn’t connect meaningfully, and then being privy to and seeing really hard things around me with an overwhelming sense of injustice and oppression everywhere, and you get a Sarah without people, place, and service with which to experience God and to remain at peace and in contentment with the world around her. It was rough. Don’t know how my husband put up with me and my rather painful angst and misery. I think the hardest part of all was losing a lot of my joy: joy of the Lord, joy of teaching, even the joy of understanding what it means to be a child of God.
Thankfully, by God’s mercy and love, my family and I did not stay too long in this place that must not be named, and God opened doors for us to move to Durham, North Carolina. He even nudged us to All Saints Church where He is opening more doors and showing us new ways to experience Him. Most of the ways I experience Him are still through people, through worship, through a sense of place, and through service, and All Saints has those in spades. But I also see the need for and sense that there are more ways to experience the Lord. All Saints is where I have begun to see bits and pieces of what that might look like. The fellowship, worship, and service at All Saints is so rich and so filled with the Spirit that I feel I can heal, find joy again, and discern in a safe place what He might have for me. And right now, what God has for me is to be a mom. And by being a mom, I have the ability to explore Durham and enjoy all that it has to offer (milkshakes at Ox & Rabbit anyone??), to be apart of cool mom groups, and also have time to rest and grow more in the love and knowledge of Christ. I know that one day He may take me back into the thick of things, or more painful refinement processes, but I am content in the here and now to know that God is Good. He is Faithful. He will lead and guide me where He wants me- be it calm waters or shadows of the valley of death.