For a few very hard years this word was my mantra.
The word means
-undismayed; not discouraged; not forced to abandon purpose or effort
-undiminished in courage or valor; not giving way to fear
But the truth is, I was often dismayed by everything that had taken place, and I did battle discouragement. I battled fear and doubts. I hurt and was angry, and sometimes "undaunted" sounded more like a mockery than a mantra, and I was determined to be real about all of it in these posts, thus the name, Undaunted Reality. More than that, though, I was determined to live undaunted, not because I'm so great or strong, but because my God is, and no matter what this world looks like, He is the only reality that matters.
I pray I live the reality of Him beautifully undaunted.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

A Beautiful Difference

Five years ago we left the church we had been attending for the last six or seven years. During the seven months of our lives  changing so radically, only two people contacted us from church, and they were sincere. One had not even been told by the pastor who was supposed to notify WonderGirl's volunteer team that the kids' dad had died, and when he found out six weeks later, he was stunned and wanted to know why I hadn't told them. His concern was completely sincere, and he is the one who had one of the children's pastors contact me weekly trying to connect with Robert. Robert was too deep in grief, but good golly, Boaz tried. Beyond that, no one contacted us.

No leaders from any of the four ministries I was part of. None of my team captains. The kids' pastors. The men's pastor where Rob attended weekly and suddenly stopped never checked in. Not even the pastor who did the funeral. (Need to correct that. Pastor Kam Hunt and Brittany Nelson kept in contact with us for a very, very long time. But he told me later that he didn't know we had left the church. I let all the right powers know, and no one told the people covering us.

When we left that church, we felt abandoned. There is no other word. It only added horrible pain to an already painful time, and I said then the only way I would ever go back to that church is if God Himself said I absolutely had to.

In February of this year, God woke me up absurdly early and said go, so we did.

And in the last seven months, we have fallen in love with people there. We are part of ministry teams that we love. And, we know we are loved, like really loved. There is no residual ick. No leftover mess. It's like nothing happened, and there is just deep appreciation and love.

And we are leaving again.

The real, can't get past it, reason is the decibel level of the music. It really hurts WonderBoy's and my ears. I am not saying it is bad or wrong. It just doesn't work for us, and I'll blog about that because there are some beautiful things about God I have learned in this that I want to share with you, but we're leaving.

This week I wrote the leaders of our team and the pastors over our team and told them, and you know what those crazy wacked out people have done? Love us.

Our team captain, Helga, sent me an amazing email, very well thought out, very detailed, very compassionate and personal, looking at everything I have mentioned in my blog that we are looking for and looking for ways to find it at our church. The summary of her email: Let's see if we can find a solution that allows you to stay comfortably.

Talk about being loved and fought for! Folks, take a lesson from her. THAT is what a captain does. THAT is the heart of God.

Our other pastors, deacons, and leaders have emailed. They have prayed over us. Blessed us. Told us if we ever want to come back, their arms are open. Even after I told them we are leaving, one of our leaders has been emailing me to check on WonderBoy's dental situation. The prayers are so precious and so personal. I read each email and the prayers, and tears fill my eyes because they are praying for us exactly what I am praying.

And I have to tell you, if I were not absolutely positive we are supposed to leave, the love these people are pouring on us would make me march into one of their offices and say, "Okay, there has got to be a way for us to stay. How can we be part of the church and avoid the music?"

Y'all, I am humbled beyond words by these beautiful people, and I'm telling you this because I want you to see what God can do when people follow His heart.

If we had never gone back to that church, these people would have never loved us. They couldn't. Our choice to walk back into a place that reverberated with hurt, allowed us to be in a place that reverberated with healing. Sometimes it works that way. You have to walk into what hurts you the most so God can heal you the deepest.

And these leaders...THIS is what Jesus looks like. Let's be honest. A lot of leaders and pastors would have taken offense and pretended we were dead. I've seen it happen. It's happened to us. But not them. They didn't just wish us well. They poured oil of goodness, life, and love on us with their words of blessing and prayers.

I understand why God is having us leave, but like I said, with love like that, it is hard to go. Needless to say, it is so different from last time...and it's a beautiful difference.

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