I sat outside in the truck. Alone. No one had arrived yet. The fall colors were amazing but even they couldn’t stop my heart from racing. “What am I doing here?” I asked myself. The resident dog looked at me from outside the vehicle as if to say, “What are you doing here?” I could feel my eyes begin to fill with tears. Again. “I can’t do this Lord. I don’t want a new family. I’m scared. And broken.” I felt His nudge, a gentle whisper, “I know the plans I have for you Laurel. Building. Oneness.” …the words from my latest journal. Every time I begin a new journal, He gives me a new word and a scripture to go with it. I rarely know what the word means or how personal the scripture is until the end of my journal. It’s part of the journey He has me on. Trusting Him. Giving Him my heart. I end every journal with the scripture and word He gave me, with some special message from my heart on the journey He’s had me on for the time spent in those pages. That is when He reveals the next word and scripture for the next leg of my journey. I begin the next journal with that same message from the heart, with the new word and a new scripture. That way when my peeps are reading my life story, they’ll know which journal is next.
I looked down at my journal now, through tears. It’s my most beautiful one yet. It’s a rich blue with a ship on the front. My last journal was all about WAR. I learned so much through those pages. When I got this journal, I felt Him whisper “Laurel come home to my safe harbor, all tired and weary. Find rest in me.” In fact, at the time I felt like all 10 of my InCourage Team members were finding safe harbor with their ships too. I had this vision of us all finding rest together. It was comforting. As I rested I would look out to sea. Sometimes tears would come. Sometimes joy. Sometimes just the mist of the ocean on my face. I felt Him whisper “Soon Laurel, I’ll send you out to sea. You are going to need to know who you want with you on that ship.” I didn’t understand it then. It’s one of my favorite things about Him, the mystery. Yet now I was almost done this journal and He hadn’t given me a scripture for it. He had never done that before. And now, here I sat I waiting for the women who were organizing this event so I could help set up. Sigh. My heart was racing again.
Why was I there, you might be asking. Well I needed to find a new church home. I had tried this church before and really loved the pastor. I knew a couple of women who went here. But my heart still longed for something lost…and I wasn’t really ready to dive into a season of transition. Are we ever ready? I had decided that if I was going to see if this could be my home,
I needed to be ALL IN.
I needed to go with an open heart to see these women through the eyes of their Father. To go with a willingness to invest in them, serve them, see them and know them…and love them.
Okay, maybe I’m the only one who does this but at this point, I dug in my heels a little and said “Okay God! FINE! If you want me to find a new church home, and this is it, you’re going to have to prove it. I’m almost done this journal and I don’t even know what it’s about. Building Oneness. What does that even mean? And WHERE IS MY WORD?!” (Insert near tantrum).
…just then I heard a car. Oh, they’re here. Heart racing. I stepped out of the truck. One step. Then another.
“Hi. I’m Laurel.” …
They welcomed me with open arms, putting me right to work. I got to know names quickly. It felt homey.
Then the speaker stepped up. I looked at her, I mean really looked – with my Papa Eyes – His eyes for her. I saw a courageous, beautiful, broken, mosaic of His creation. “See,” He said, “You aren’t the only one who has been hurt. Do you see her?” Yes, I saw. And her brokenness didn’t look like ugly scars, it looked like light shining through glass.
“Hi y’all.” She said (yes she really said that). “I’m Shelly.”
** click here to read part 2 of this post.