Today my dear friend, Lynn, is retiring after 31 years of teaching. I know she has been a tremendous blessing to the children and teachers she has taught over the years. I know she is at peace about leaving, but a little unsure of what her future holds. Thankfully, she is an amazing woman of God and is completely putting her trust in the Lord for what He has in store for her next.
I can relate to that feeling of the unknown. My husband and I really felt God was calling out of our church to somewhere else. We didn’t know where, but we knew He was calling us somewhere. We made the difficult decision to let our church of 13 years. It was very hard because we love the people and many of them have become like family to us over the years. However, we knew that we knew that God had said it was time to move on.
There is an indescribable peace that comes when you know you are being obedient to God. During this time, God led me to a Scripture from Isaiah.
“Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
19 See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.”
This verse was very comforting because I knew that God wanted me to not be focused on the past and all the things I would be leaving behind by leaving our church but to fix my eyes on Him and what He had in store for the future.
Just as I know Lynn has mixed emotions about leaving, especially leaving the people she has taught with and friends she has made, leaving our friends at church was very sad. What I have come to realize over the past 7 months is that when we leave a place, even if it is what God wants, it is not easy. It isn’t easy to leave and have to start over. It is even harder for those you leave behind. While we had peace about leaving, those we left didn’t. They didn’t have the comfort of knowing they were being obedient to God.
Change of any kind is hard and endings are even harder. People’s feelings get hurt even when we don’t mean to hurt them and it isn’t something we can fix. It is a call to prayer to the One who can heal all wounds. What I shared with Lynn this morning is a lesson I have learned through all of this. When you leave a place, you hurt people’s feelings, even unintentionally and their feelings matter. It is important to pray for God to comfort and heal their wounds. It is like when your spouse or a friend hurts your feelings. They probably didn’t mean to, but your feelings are hurt nonetheless.
I continue to pray for the church we left and the people there. They are doing some wonderful ministry and reaching people for Christ. Praise God for that! We have been called to help start a new Anglican church called Grace Anglican Community and pray we can be a blessing to those in our area who don’t know Christ and help those who do grow in their knowledge and love of Him.
Change and endings are challenging, but part of life. May we all seek the Lord on behalf of those we may unintentionally hurt along the way and pray that God will cover them in His love, mercy and grace!