Sunday, March 23, 2014

Surrendering to Change...and a Giveaway

I've been holding off on sharing this post until the right moment. Today, I finally can.

This morning, my husband announced to our church of twelve years, a church we love deeply, that our last Sunday will be May 4. He will be entering a Church Planting Residency at Mission Church. In 2015, we'll be planting a new church. I'll be part of the teaching staff for the plant, which is admittedly, very exciting. We adore the pastoral team over at Mission, and look forward to what God will teach us and how he'll use us there.

My husband is passionate about reaching the 2 out of 3 people in our area who do not know Christ (about 230,000 people) and those who are languishing in their faith. He has wrestled with this calling for years. Through it all, and specifically over the past year, we've sought wisdom and prayer from trusted friends, counselors, seasoned church planters, and our own church elders. Each has affirmed and celebrated this calling. Our church elders, especially, have been incredibly supportive. We're so thankful.

Kevin is both an adventurer and a man of great faith. I, on the other hand, am not a bouncy cheerleader for change. I still have the same tv/vcr combo that I had in my college dorm. And yes, I watch VHS tapes on it. I still own ET, Pretty in Pink, and the Secret of Nimh, for crying out loud.

Over the past several months, God has had me on a personal journey of learning what it means to surrender and obey.

As with any new challenge from Goda job transition or relational change; the fluctuating seasons of life or a goodbye; the life-altering upgrade from an old VCR to a BluRaychange, as we all know, can bring up fear and insecurity.

Some of us thrive on change. For others, like me, the prospect of change brings up all kinds of questions:

Can I trust God's sovereignty and timing for this change? Can I trust His provision during the change? Can I trust the ways in which he chooses to provide? Can I trust that whatever he provides will come from the fullness of his love?

When it comes down to it, the resounding answer is YES. I can trust him.

In fact, if I'm being honest with myself, the big fear-question is not really about God's trustworthiness.

When faced with change, the real question for me is this: Can I trust myself to surrender to God's will?

In Trusting God, Jerry Bridges writes this:

"[It] often seems more difficult to trust God than to obey Him...
The circumstances in which we must trust God often appear irrational and unreasonable...
Obeying God is worked out within well-defined boundaries of God's revealed will. 
But trusting God is worked out in an arena that has no boundaries."

I don't know if that's always true, but I'm certainly feeling it now.

As I've been praying about and processing what it means to surrender to God's will, I've found rest and reassurance in Psalm 16:6-8:

The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

If God is calling you to submit to a change, as He is me, then trusting Him might appear irrational and unreasonable. Trusting God may indeed be worked out in "an arena with no boundaries." However, I've come to realize that arena is never outside the borders of his enduring, unending, and unchanging love.

God's boundary lines lead to pleasant and delightful places, for all involved. The change may be difficult, or even painful, but God never operates or calls us outside of His goodness.

Bridges also suggests, "Trust is not a passive state of mind. It is a vigorous act of the soul by which we choose to lay hold on the the promises of God."

In other words, obedient surrender takes courage.

In spite of my fears, I choose to surrender to this change with trust, with joy, and with a little dash of shamelessness on the side.

What about you? How do you respond to change? Is God calling you to surrender to anything right now?
___

In honor of Change, I am giving away Terri Kraus' three book Project Restoration series, The Renovation, The Renewal, and The Transformation. Terri's series has been described by Nancy Ortberg (former teaching pastor at Willow Creek) as captivating, and evocative. Ortberg says, "Terri Kraus skillfully weaves distance, longing, forgiveness, and redemption into a cast of unforgettable characters. This is a book to savor and ponder."

As always, any likes, shares, tweets and comments will automatically enter you to win.




12 comments:

Leslie K. said...

Excited for you and your family. Thanks for sharing!

Unknown said...

Obedience to Gods call is critical to our growth in Him. It is difficult but necessary and He will help us grieve loss as He brings great gain to the servants who obey. I for one am so Thankful to God as I see the courage and wisdom in people like you and Kevin and how your faith will advance the Kingdom of God. We will lift you to The Lord in the days to come.

Deborah Hope said...

God bless you, Kevin, and the boys. I wasn't surprised by Kevin's announcement. I've always seen him as a leader in a different direction; Perhaps a bit less conventional, but definitely Godly. The two of you complement each other, and I'm sure you will work well together in your new church.

As for myself, I am a creature of habit. Change tends to make me anxious, rather than excited. I admire your acceptance of God's will, or challenge as it may be.

Unknown said...

I'm not sure why my post showed up "unknown"? :)
Love,
Chris Neilsen

Rhonda Sisson said...

Yes! Praising God for how He has gifted, prepared and called you both. Joel and I will miss you guys at CF, but our friendship and prayers go with you as you courageously follow God's leading. May The Lord bless and keep you. May His face shine upon you and give you peace. Rhonda

gaye parnell said...

God, Kevin and Aubrey - what a great team! Can't wait to see what happens!

gaye parnell said...

God, Kevin, Aubrey - what a GREAT team. Can't wait to see what happens!

Emma Anderson said...

I can totally see how God has been training you both up for this next step. God bless you all!

Libby Bryant said...

So excited for the next step in your lives. I know great things are on the horizon.
Love you - Libby

Aubrey Travis Sampson said...

Thank you ALL... You have no idea what these comments mean to me. Blessings on each of you! (and bonus: now you are all entered to win the books!)

sgtdeb said...

I couldn't have read this post at a better moment. Thanks, Aubrey!

Cindy Goorley said...

So happy to read the news! I have heard such great things about Mission Church...I bet Heather and Matt are thrilled! God bless <3