on rolling out welcome mats for divine work

Originally published Thursday, 15 December 2016.

She sat across the table from me, reminding me a lot of my younger self. Her pen was poised over a notebook, and I could see she’d already been making notes and plans. And so, this was it. After seven years of founding and developing The Bridge of Storm Lake ministry, I was handing over the position of Communications Director, a role embedded into my heart - and the role to which I knew she was called. Although the past months had been an awkward scene of passing the baton, it would be official now, I told her.

Of course, it would sound nice to say “it’s always been God’s ministry” and “He can do with it as He pleases,” as if my feelings were exempt. But the reality for this mama was that it felt like my baby. I had dreamed of it and named it. I had labored over it, drawing up plans and tucking away dreams in drawers, like neatly folded onesies and receiving blankets. Eventually, the vision was birthed into reality. I cleaned it up and swaddled it with human words, making it presentable to onlookers who received and celebrated it. Together, Jay and I loved this vision-baby, amazed at what God had laid in our arms. We held on through disappointments and failures because we shared this passion to see it grow and develop and be all that God had intended. We cared for it, nurtured it, protected it, sacrificed for it, as any parents would do, through long days and sleepless nights.

Sometimes Sacrifice calls us to hang on. But, other times it calls us to let go. Only Faith can explain to us the difference.

That day over coffee, I was compelled to let go. It was time, as every parent knows when its time to encourage babies take steps, head to kindergarten, go to a sleepover, stay home with babysitters. Wings must be given and maturity means gaining independence.

And trusting God means entrusting plans and people to His capable hands.

Maybe, like me, you've hesitated over letting go. But, it's not because we don't trust others, is it? It's because we don't always trust ourselves without that baby on our hip. Because we resist the murky question of what could be next.  Because the next step hasn't yet been revealed in clarity. So, if it's not this, then what? If I'm not doing that, then what will I do? Who will I be?

And the truth is, when God closes doors, He doesn’t always open a window. At least not right way, and not always the ones we keep staring at. Sometimes, mercifully, He just lets us sit in that quiet room and breathe His peace amid the questions.

He reminds us our work is not our identity.

Maybe He wants us to step away before we step up again.

Our maybe it’s not about stepping up or stepping out at all. Maybe it’s about Who we step into more fully.

And, maybe it's about how letting go invites us to open up spaces that our arms have been wrapped tight around. It makes us available for new seasons, allows others to experience God in new ways, and rolls out welcome mats for divine work we’ve not yet imagined.

We must release to receive.

We must let go to let in.

We must face closed doors to come closer to God's next door.

Today, let's know this without doubt:

Letting go doesn't leave us void; it frees up spaces and souls for the Spirit's filling.

Lord Jesus, we sit in the temporary, in the now of life. We can't always make sense of what You're forming on the horizon. But, we trust You, and we entrust to You the people and plans around us for Your glory. Would You come today and rule with Your peace? Thank You for guiding us with closed doors and closed windows. Help us to settle back into Your ways and to trust You with every change. Amen.