Several weekends ago Erin and I returned back home to Houston's First Baptist Church; a church we used to attend for well over fourteen years. It was marvelous!
Getting to see so many faces of people we deem as our spiritual family nearly made my heart explode with joy. These are people we've done some life with... Like raising children together and meeting on our knees seeking Divine help to get that job done. We've done mission trips together, weddings together, Bible studies together, leaving-snot-on-the-floor prayer meetings together, all manner of bridal and baby showers together and, sadly, funerals together. As large of an assembly as Houston's First Baptist Church is, there's a real family feel. Our first Sunday back was no exception. The hugs, the love, the chitchat, and happy squeals. Oh! All of it warmed my heart.
We originally left because our teenager kept begging us to come join her at a new church she was attending. Saying "Yes," didn't require her to break mine or her Daddy's arm, though. The church she was attending was a new church plant that had in fact launched its wings out of Houston's First. Not only did we love so many of its people already, we also knew and loved the lead pastor and his wife. In fact, Curtis Jones, Bayou City's pastor, had baptized our daughter some number of years before. Sure, were sad to leave Houston's First. But we were gaining another fabulous church and, happily, we were glad to be with Savannah.
Reflecting back on our experience these last several years, I've learned that sometimes God takes us from one place to another to do a work within us we couldn't have imagined or received any other way. To be honest, there were times when I thought we had made a mistake because the enemy came so strongly after not only me but my family in every way. He was already pulling his evil shenanigans before we left Houston's First. But he most certainly amped up the fight thereafter. When I say the devil came to destroy our lives, I am not kidding you whatsoever. He tried to destroy our mental health. He tried to destroy our marriage. He tried to destroy our children. He tried to destroy our relationships. He tried to destroy our witness. And, lastly, He tried to destroy the calling God has placed on my life to serve Him. Nothing, and I do mean nothing, was left untouched.
But God!... THE LORD PREVAILED! Just like He always does! WHOOHOO!
What happened to us reminds me of a story out of the book of Acts, Chapter 16. Paul, Timothy and Silas, following the leadership of the Holy Spirit, go to Philippi as the Spirit directs their steps. Right about the time that they're seeing God move, they run into a horrible situation. Evil men seize them, beat them with rods and, sadly, they are thrown into prison.
To think, it would've been so easy to think, "Did we make a mistake? Did we hear God right? Were we supposed to come here?"
The story ends beautifully because the one thing Paul and Silas' captors couldn't take from them was their worship of their God. While they worshiped on, their wonderful Savior broke them out of the bondage they were in.
I feel like them in so many ways right now. My husband does too.
What I'd like to encourage you with from our season is this: Go with God. And if you have gone with God, and you've run into a season of harsh darkness, keep worshiping, keep pressing on. God alone knows the best soil to produce the crop in His children that He's looking for. We'd do best not to overanalyze what He's asking of us, just go, just listen. Sometimes, like Paul and Silas, following God leads us into frightening times. But, hear this: God knows we'll be better for it in the end. He's faithful to His own.
I have you to know, walking into my old church as a new woman in Christ felt crazy good.