The last seven weeks of my life have been tough. I have felt physical pain, defeat, frustration, and loneliness. Yet I have also felt unspeakable joy, unexplainable peace, and incredibly close to God.
I just finished a Bible study tonight that I was doing with a friend. I don't know that I was successful in reaching my initial goals for the Bible study, but I did grow in my walk with God in ways that I never imagined when I agreed to start the study. I wasn't expecting this study to be the kind of study in which you find yourself having your life turned completely upside down. It wasn't even that kind of Bible study. But here I am....changed. I barely recognize that girl who started that study the last week of July. She is different.
I won't go into all the details, but as the weeks pass you will see them start to emerge. In the past few weeks, I have talked with God. Not audible dialog, but dialog none the less. He has whispered in my ear more than once in the last few weeks. He has stripped me of all the props I used to hold myself up, and has let me learn to free fall...right into His arms. He has reminded of things that I had almost forgotten. He has sent me signs that let me know He is there.
I am learning to let go and trust Him. In our search for a new church home, I have tried to be quiet. I have tried to listen to Him, and to let my husband be our spiritual leader. I have tried to let my kids help to lead rather than be led. I will confess that I despise the process of looking for a church. When I was eight or nine, my entire family left the only church I had ever known and began the painful process of searching for a new home. I dreaded Sunday mornings because I always was the one who went to Sunday School alone with strangers. I couldn't understand why we had to make this change.
Yesterday we visited that church I left when I was eight or nine, for the second time this month. Yesterday morning my husband sang in the choir. I wanted to be up there too, but I wouldn't go. It's too hard for a broken heart to grab on to something too soon. The fear is too much. But last night I watched as people filed into the choir. I watched the song leader pick up the red church hymnal (one of the requirements a church must have according to my kids). I watched my husband stand up to go to the choir. It was too much. I was up before I knew it and headed for the choir.
First came page 34. Then page 4. And then page 76...Jesus Spoke to Me. Now, I'm not the best singer. I don't pretend to be. But I will say that I have learned how to carry alto pretty good on page 76 if need be. Last night I sang it, but not like I usually would. I don't know how loud I was singing, or if anyone could even hear me because my heart was beating so hard in my chest. And from the direction of the empty chair to my right, I heard that whisper again. A whisper, and yet so loud it was deafening. "Michelle, I told you not to be afraid, for I am with you. Be not dismayed; for I am your God: I will strengthen you. I
will help you. I am holding you with the right hand of my righteousness."
There is was...my favorite verse, Isaiah 41:10. But it wasn't on a page in my Bible. He was pausing again for me. Pausing just for a minute to whisper a sweet peaceful reminder in my ear. "Michelle, you silly girl. You only missed two weeks. Here you stand with a red book in your hands in the alto section of the choir. My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are my ways your ways. The next time I tell you to jump, just do it. Haven't you learned by now that no one loves you as much as I do? Haven't you learned that you may fall, but you are never out of the reach of My hand?"