Two years ago a part of my heart died…. or at least I felt like it had. It was almost two years ago that I found out the ministry I was working for was closing its doors and we were about to hold our very last conference. The participants would not know about this decision until a few weeks after the conference had occurred, so we went through the motions with a smile on our face. But in reality, many staff hearts were broken, including mine.
This was the same ministry had revived my heart 5 years prior when I attended my first conference in 2013 as a new mom of two. I was exhausted by the whirlwind of 2012 (adopting our son in January and then finding out we were pregnant months later with our daughter). It was a tiring year, but a fantastic adventure. But with a colicky baby and a one year old who was running all over the place I was exhausted mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. When I sat down at the conference, I was just thankful to take time for myself where I could focus on me and God…. It was a break! But once the conference began, I realized it was more than just a weekend away. It was a fresh start in my heart. Up until then I was in denial that I was experiencing postpartum depression and I was falling into a dark place, even though having kids and being a stay at home mom was my dream that I had finally achieved. It was at that conference that God reached me with His words, reminding me that I was the perfect mom for my children and that it was ok to be perfectly imperfect. That conference changed my whole outlook on life and started my relationship with Jesus back up into high gear. I decided I wanted to become a part of that ministry through volunteering or just promoting it among my friends. I had no idea that God had another opportunity for me to be a part of this ministry. In 2014 He prompted my heart to send in a resume for a job opening at this particular ministry. Within 2 weeks I was working for the ministry that changed my life! How awesome to be able to serve among the women that made such a huge difference in my life. Working in this role I found out was my dream job — getting to serve in ministry and doing something I was truly passionate about! Life was just about perfect.
So it was with great surprise when we found out the ministry was closing just 3 short years after I began working with this amazing group. When my co-worker and I sat down so she could break the news to me at a Starbucks, the room felt like something out of a movie. All I could see was my co-worker and the rest of the world faded away. The world became dim and my heart began to break. I began to ask God why He would allow something that was so good and so meaningful to so many moms dissipate. And while several of my co-workers saw God work in their lives quickly with other ministry opportunities I still questioned… WHY?! I even saw other opportunities that He gave me and followed His instruction in serving in them, but I still was grieving the loss of this dream ministry that had been instrumental in my life as a mom, as well as my walk with Jesus.
Here I am 2 years later and the ministry is beginning again with new faces and conference is approaching. As it turns out, I am still grieving. Today I was able to help serve as it starts up again. I was excited for this opportunity even though I was fully aware it would bittersweet and emotional this weekend. But I was shocked today when I realized it wasn’t just emotional… it was HARD! I felt like I could treat this as a new ministry/ conference but that is easier said than done. I missed seeing some of the familiar faces that had been part of my “tribe.” I missed being in that role where I could bless the moms through serving them. Instead I felt like I didn’t know what was going on and out of the loop. It was hard!
So on my drive home this afternoon I began to pray. I prayed over the conference. I prayed over the new staff. I prayed for the volunteers and participants. I prayed for the speakers. I prayed for Jesus to show up as He always had. I prayed… and I prayed… and I prayed. I found myself driving through tears and heard the soft small voice say, “It’s ok to still be not ok.” I expected a change of heart or some small comfort to help me move on, but instead Jesus met me where I was at and said it was ok to feel this way. He also reminded me through His word that “His Will, not mine.”
This weekend as I serve this ministry that is so dear to my heart, I am praying that God uses my hands and feet for His glory. That may look different than I remember, but I have to trust that He is doing good things and wants me to be a part of that. Change isn’t always easy. We may not understand when God takes something away. But we are called to TRUST HIM! So that is how I am going in to this difficult weekend. I take with me a servant heart, a willing spirit, and a whole lot of trust.
What difficult thing has God called you to do? How did you see Him show up in the middle of it?
Beautiful, Emily. Love you, friend!