I drive down the freeway at sixty, leaving behind me a gathering of women I’ve called mine for the last eleven years.
I’ve said my good-byes and heard loving final words and looked in eyes and said, thank you for everything.
They tell me I can always come back, and I know this.
This place where loving teachers helped grow my daughters and where I grew to flex spiritual muscle I needed. This place where women soak up God’s words and dig deep and seek hard after Jesus — I know I’m always welcome here.
Yet it’s clear that God’s leading me to new places, though right now my eyes can scarcely see beyond the pavement in front of my car.
It’s been a season of many changes.
In September, we left our church home of sixteen years. Painful and complicated for sure. Yes, we are indeed seeking. Vision and purpose and plans (I so badly want to know the road ahead), but more — for truth. Because more and more, it’s clear to me that it’s not new truths I need, but a fresh understanding of old ones.
I do not want to be like the believer Brennan Manning describes as peaceless and joyless because she pants for one assurance after another of God’s love. I want to accept, receive and know this love (really know it), regardless of group belonging or church gathering or writing project or season of life or acclaim or criticism. I want to know the love of the One who promises he will be found by those who seek and allow that to be an overflow offering to whomever, wherever I be.
When I seek after knowing myself rather than knowing God (and therefore myself), I not only wander, but grow more self-centered in the process. When I seek a road map as goal, I travel frustrated circles. I cannot anticipate the twists and turns ahead and, even if I could, would not be able to navigate them as I’d imagine myself able.
There’s so much we can’t do, so much we don’t know, but it’s always been that the answer is not what so much as who.
“Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his face continually.” (Psalm 105:4) For, friends, this I do believe is where hope is found. Where purpose and love and healing are found. Where one foot in front of another is not death march, but invitation to life.
To gaze upon God’s grace, love and mercy is home for it is where we are found.
In the early light of morning I am surprised again as old truth becomes new for me in all CAPS and the splotchy ink of a cheap pen:
“God, You are doing a new thing,” I write, “and I need not force it.”