For some reason, I feel like I have been experiencing a range of emotion that I never felt before; higher highs and lower lows. The mountain tops are full of excitement and passion, yet the lows have been caused by of a grieving process that I was not aware would happen. These past seven or eight weeks I have felt this heavy burden. And for a few weeks I could not figure out what it was. There were times it felt like I was literally carrying a load of emotion that was a literal weight on my shoulders. So these past seven days, I have spent time reflecting, journaling, and praying.
The more I reflect about the last two years of my life, the more I realize how much has actually changed. We moved cities, changed jobs, my kids have all gone through major developmental changes, my marriage has had greater tension due to all these changes, and my community has for the majority, completely shifted. Most relationships I have had for years do not look the same as they once did.
A little over a year ago, I decided to leave a church that was “home” for roughly the past 18 years of my life. In this same church I began my faith journey. My closest friendships were formed. I met the woman of my dreams that became my wife. I oversaw a large student ministries of hundreds of students. I took a part as this church grew from a single location, to having multiple locations/campuses, and while leading the student ministries at this church, God brought Julie and I our four children, an unexpected, but yet glorious blessing. The church that I learned about the hope Jesus infuses into my life became the same church that I poured my heart and soul back into.
While deciding to leave that was an incredibly hard decision, I left with hope of creating a community in Pasadena, CA that would allow similar stories for others. Stories of hope, of life-change, or restoration. It was my desire to see a church that came together in genuine community with God and others. Not the facade of a community that goes through the motions, but the same positive experiences I had. I know that those experiences for people are far and few in between, but when one experiences that life changing community, there is no going back.
Yet even though I am seeing all of those hopes blossom in our new church and new community, the reason I have been carrying this load of emotion is from the grief of losing or shifting communities. You realize how quickly relationships are “forgotten.” And not Intentionally or out of offense, but because of the busyness of life and the change of pace. While I am not “hurt” because of people, I am becoming aware that I have been grieving the loss of close friends. About a week ago, I asked myself the question, how will this grief heal? It was through that question, I realized the biggest risk I actually took in choosing to plant this church. I risked true community.
But over the course of the last ten days, I realized how God is always at work. He has not only delivered a new community, but a deep community in a short time. I have been so encouraged by so many people. The hard work, the passion, the care, the desire to see the birthing of a church. The desire for people to be united in a genuine, hope-filled relationship with God, and genuine community with others. And God is delivering that. Taking a giant step of faith IS risky. But in order to gain whatever it is God is calling you to, risk is necessary. I would encourage you today, to take whatever step of risk you need to take, to begin to see the blessings that God truly wants you to have.