(This past weekend at our church in St. Louis, Jared and I were asked to give a testimony on 'Belonging'. Now days later, we find ourselves about to board a plane to Honduras once again. As we go, I carry the reminder that God truly is at work in us in both places. No matter what part of this earth we find ourselves in, we are always underneath our Father's roof.)
I didn’t want to come here. I’d just spent nearly five years with The Micah Project, and I had no interest in moving away from a place that I loved, people that I loved, a job that I loved, and--in my pride--a reputation that I loved. Micah was where I felt like I belonged. What could I possibly have here that I didn’t already have there?
Oh right: him (points to Jared). I loved Jared, and Jared was here. But there were also moments and days when I forgot. Or, at least, when I wondered if that ‘love’ would be enough (no matter how great a job Jared did at showing me). A few weeks before getting married, a dear friend and staff member at Micah asked me what I was afraid of as I looked ahead. I answered, “that Jared would figure out he didn’t want me, and I’d be stuck in his life.” Would I really belong with Jared--in his heart and in his place?
After hearing me out, my friend responded, “Even if that’s true--which I really don’t think it is--you’re going to be okay.” And he was right. The answer to my fears was not convincing myself that Jared loves me--though I know that he does--the answer to my fears was knowing that the One who has always loved me will always keep on loving me. As I approached one of the biggest changes of my life, the biggest part of my life never would: the Lord. He is the same--always has been and always will be--and my standing with Him is sure, unchanging. I belong to him, and nothing--NOTHING--can change that.
So, what does that have to do with “belonging” at Central? Well, just as my marriage to Jared, though utterly beautiful and an incredible gift, is not where I find my ultimate belonging, neither do I find it at Central. My belonging, first and foremost, is in my identity with Christ. He has chosen me, and that type of choosing lasts for an eternity. Sure, I wish that my marriage to Jared would extend into eternity, too, but it’s not going to. Marriage is for this side of the Second Coming, but our connection to one another as fellow children and heirs of Christ? Well, that’s forever! This realization doesn’t lessen my commitment to him, but rather increases it. Our bond in marriage is for a lifetime, but our bond as fellow members of the family of God is for an eternity. Likewise, whether you like it or not, all of you fellow children are stuck with me for an eternity, too ;).
You see, our membership to Central Presbyterian Church is temporary, but our membership to one another as members of the body of Christ is not. I don’t belong here because I have a prestigious business card I can hand you, or a host of nearby friends and family to boost my reputation, or a knowledge of this city’s rich history, or a stage where I can showcase all my talents to impress you. I’ll be honest, I wanted those things at first--to tangibly claim my place here--but God needed to show me (AGAIN!) that He is my entrance. And He is yours, too. Jesus is how we are connected for an eternity, and not just at Central but anywhere we go. But right now he has me--and you--here. And while he does, I look forward to seeing how God uses and shapes who he has made me (and you) to be through the power of the Gospel. We’re growing together. Broken believers bumping up against broken believers--confessing, forgiving, serving, praying, loving, grieving, and rejoicing (kind of like marriage, huh?)--together looking forward to the coming of Jesus--in whose heart and place we truly belong. Forever.
|(Oh, and speaking of 'belonging', there is a new member to the family. Introducing BABY BULLOCK! Coming to you this summer :))|