Five years ago God led my husband Bob and me to All Saints Church on September 17, 2006, the “birthday” of this church. We were just visiting, checking it out, and neither of us had any idea that this would end up being our church home. Why would we? We live in Holly Springs, about 45 minutes away. We had just looked up nearby Anglican Mission churches, and since Bob was in town, we decided to drive out and see what was going on. But God had different ideas than just a visit. It was not in any way immediate, but we have definitely ended up staying and finding a spiritual home, a place of growth and sound teaching that is very important to us both.
Over the last eight years God has led me on a journey I never expected. He has taken me out of my comfort zone, stretched me, molded me, stripped me, and remade me. I have been to more places spiritually and emotionally than I thought I would ever be. I have been led out a church that I loved and a denomination and tradition I have known since childhood. Through this I lost friends and relationships that I thought would be life long. I had lived a life of service and commitment to my church, and now no longer had a church to serve. I no longer had a church to attend. But, I still had a God and he was at work, stripping away and stripping down. God stripped away the idols of worship that I did not even realize that I had, or that had me. I was left with no trappings, no tradition, no communion, no involvement in church community, no excess service of the church. I was stripped down until there was nothing but him. God, and God alone to serve, follow and worship, in spirit and in truth.
It was during this time that he brought us to All Saints Church. Though it is clear to me and my husband that this is where God has called us for this time, it has not been easy. We live 45 minutes away. My husband has a job that requires extensive travel, so he is gone about 95% of the time. Involvement for me is easier than for him, but still not easy. It requires a sacrifice. Just coming on Sunday requires sacrifice. But God is so good and has provided richly.
So, out of obedience I came, Sunday after Sunday, many times alone, many times with the dear friends the Lord has given, but not very often with my husband. Out of obedience I began to get involved. I joined the Prayer Ministry and my involvement with that has grown. I have attended Women’s Retreats and really enjoy the opportunity to get to know the wonderful women of this church. All of this has been a big stretch for me, as I am such an introvert. But I learned something about myself and my spiritual journey a few years ago. My spiritual life has been one of relinquishment, of giving up to God. Giving up control, giving up dreams, giving up my will and letting God take over. I also learned that Jesus will step into broken places and into broken dreams and bring healing and strength and beauty. And that is what he has done with me. The Spirit has opened me and stretched me, and he continues to do so. He has renewed me and filled me and taught me. He has moved me into Prayer Ministry here, a ministry I love. And the Spirit had prepared me for, and moved me into, a leadership role in that ministry, something that I would have never foreseen.
So, here I am. My involvement here at All Saints looks different than at any other church and time and place in my life, but I am confident that God knows what he is doing. I really feel that he is using the season to prepare me for the next steps on this great journey with him. He knows what that will look like, I don’t. I don’t need to. All I have to do is be obedient and follow him. He will show me the way.
Oh, the depth of the riches and the wisdom and the knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! Romans 11:33