Looking Forward

This morning I pulled out my journal. The same one that I've had since 2010. Yeah, I don't journal much. I was on my way to the back of it to write (obviously, right?). But as I flipped through the pages, I slowed to read a few entries. And sighed.

What I read didn't make me happy. That journal is nearly five years old now. In it I have written my mountain top moments and my low moments. And as I flipped from entry to entry, I read the same things over and over again.

Here I was thinking that this past year had grown me so much, yet I was struggling with the same things that I had five years ago. Same struggles, same mountain top moments. Had I made any progress in my walk with Jesus? Talk about dissatisfying. And feeling like a failure before my God.

But then I hit the entry for July 14, 2013. When I got to the bottom of that entry and read the words, I was shocked. Not at the prayer itself, but in realizing that a year and a half later I could see the answer.
"God I pray for a church in France where I can worship and honor You with other believers. How that looks is up to You."
That last little sentence nearly blew me off my feet. I am sure when I wrote it, I imagined many things. I probably imagined old wood pews or ancient stone work. None of the churches I attended had that. And by Easter I was no longer attending a church that met in a church building: they were all in French, and I simply couldn't understand what was being said.

Instead, I was unwrapping myself from the idea of a church as a building or a set worship schedule. Not that those things are bad; in fact, I am happy to be able to do those things now that I am back home.

How that looks is up to You.

Church is the body of Christ. It's the believers. It's not the building. This past year, church was a small gathering of believers and others who wanted to learn about Christ. Meeting weekly during school semesters. Sometimes it was two or three of us. One time fifteen. It was questions and answers. Digging deeper into God's Word. It was finding encouragement and, sometimes uncomfortable, truth.

That's how church looked.

God answered that prayer. He did give me a place to worship and honor Him. Even if it was ... unconventional.

I say all that to say this: God showed me that, even though sometimes I take steps back, I have grown. I'm not the same girl that started writing that journal and I am not the same girl who left America a year ago. But more importantly, I realized that I'm not done. Yes, I still have my struggles. I still have so much to learn and so many places I need to grow. But God has given me a new year, new slate. It's time to stop looking backwards at the person I was and look to see the person He wants me to become.

So, here is to looking forward to 2015 and all the things God will teach me this year!

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