This morning I attended my first church service since moving up to my new community! What a beautiful experience to worship again as the body of Christ, this time, on the Central Coast! As I sat in the service, I began reflecting and realized over the past few weeks, that it’s been easy to live on my own strength and to forget how much it has been God’s strength that has gotten me through the toughest of times. It’s easy to forget those nights of crying and moments of such deep sorrow and loss and confusion and desperation. It’s easy to forget the pleas with God for peace and comfort and hope when He provides peace and comfort and hope in the most unexpected moments and places. And when He provides rather quickly! It’s easy when so much is going so well, when a new job is exciting and challenging and exhilarating. It’s easy when a new community is welcoming and warm and inviting. It’s easy when life feels so great, so “together,” to forget that it is He who is the Ultimate Provider of that strength, peace, comfort, hope, and childlike JOY.
Today in the middle of worship, however, the reminder of His power and strength in my life became quite apparent again. As we sang “Lord, I need you, oh I need you, ever hour I need you,” I was brought to tears, remembering the goodness of my God who has provided for me time and time again. I broke down, quietly of course, tears flowing down my cheeks and they wouldn’t stop for the remainder of the song. Those tears held so many emotions: gratitude, joy, grief, and exhaustion (my new roles have kept me busy!). Ultimately, the reminder to turn to Him daily, hourly in fact is what brought those heavy falling tears.
Today, I thank God for instilling in me a strength greater than I ever knew was inside me. I thank Him for providing me with so much NEW: a new city, a new job opportunity, a new community, a new coast, and the reminder that I am strong. I am a woman built and rooted in His strength and that family and friends are along for the ride with me as well. He has provided and paved a way for me to grow personally and professionally. And I couldn’t be more grateful for the amount of peace, comfort, and joy He has blessed me with at the beginning of this new journey.
The sermon today was based on the book of James and patient suffering. Oh, the irony! J But in contrast to suffering, I realized today that He is healing my heart, day after day, and allowing joy to invade every aspect of my heart and soul. I don’t know that I would consider myself in the midst of grief and suffering any longer, and that is victory! Standing in church today, looking around and realizing I knew only one person in the group, I expected to feel alone. I expected to feel sad, having left not only family and friends, but also my church family in Fullerton. While there is sadness in moving to a new coast and starting a new job with a new community and not having every one within an hour’s drive, I was reminded today I am not alone. During worship, I felt anything but alone this morning. And I am so grateful for that. I am grateful to never truly be alone, as I believe in a God who does not leave nor forsake His children. We all matter to Him, and we are all stronger than we think we are. Amen.