Like a lost sheep.

You know the parable of the lost sheep? {Luke 15:4-7}  A story of lost souls, Jesus loving and seeking those who don’t yet know Him, going after them relentlessly, not wanting to leave even one in danger.

I think this parable also applies to the saved who have drifted away from Him, those who also need rescuing. I can identify with this type of lost sheep because this is exactly how I have felt for months now. I didn’t even realize it until today as I drove home this afternoon. This is me…the lost sheep.

And I’m ok with this fact because I know the Shepherd is coming after me. I realized this too as I was driving.  God’s got this…He has all along.

This is a story that some of you will read and actually know what specifically I’m talking about….you know, those IRL (in real life) people who read my blog.  I’m not telling it for any other reason than I blog my feelings and I’m real about my life. A few years ago a blogger friend who I haven’t met IRL told me that I had the perfect life. Nothing wrong or bad ever happened to me. My life was fun, exciting, joyous, wonderful, blah, blah, blah. I asked if we were thinking of the same life. My life IS fun, exciting, joyous, wonderful….but plenty wrong happens in between all the good stuff, and it’s not even close to perfect. I’m just a regular person with problems and faults. Why in the world would she say that?!

Well. Because of my blog. I only talked about the good things. Fun things. Exciting things. Joyous and wonderful things. Honestly? I didn’t think anyone wanted to hear all the bad junk. Everyone has their own junk…why would anyone want to read about mine? So after that eye-opening conversation, I decided then to just be real…100% me…the good, the bad, and the ugly. {which by the way was during a time of postpartum depression so if anyone else in the bloggity world thought I had a perfectly happy go-lucky life, they learned pretty quick that I did NOT. Ha!}

That is what this post is about…real open honest 100% me.  I’m saying this because I have NO hard feelings. Honestly. I blame NOBODY. I love everyone involved. And I truly am ok with how things turned out. So there’s my disclaimer. 🙂  I love you.

So back to the lost sheep.

I was deeply involved in a ministry at my church. I loved it. A few months ago, things happened and I was no longer involved in that ministry. I was hurt, more than I thought possible. I know my calling in this life…I have since I was a little girl. I also know that it doesn’t apply specifically to one place or another.  I know the place or circumstance can change…it has before.

But I really thought this would be my place for a long time.

I became involved in another ministry at the same church {that was already in the works…can’t tell me God doesn’t look out for us!}. It wasn’t as fulfilling but it was the perfect distraction that I needed to let my heart heal before making any decisions about my family’s future at the church.

I’ll be honest….if not for the Run for God group that my husband and I led this fall, we would have left the church and I would have completely abandoned my faith…because that was my gut reaction.  My husband said he would be supportive and understanding of any decision I made but he really wanted me to hang on. I didn’t want to. I wanted to let go and pretend like none of it happened. Go back to the time when Sundays were lazy days and life was on cruise control…because that was easier. 

I can be stubborn in my thinking so God really pulled out some small miracles during the duration of our Run for God meetings. He showed up every time during our meetings and then surprised me by joining me on my personal runs. I challenged him repeatedly…and he accepted and surpassed my challenges every time. A ministry that I helped lead actually ended up ministering to me.

I laugh when I think about it now. I’m an emotional person. I cry at commercials. I cry when I think about sad things, happy things, fun things, bad things. Man…I had to try really, really hard not to cry every time I ran through the colors at the Color Run last month just because I was SO excited to be there. My emotions are right out there on my sleeve for all the world to see. Always.

So you know I cried during our first meeting when we shared our stories {mine about a struggle to get back to my healthy self} and I cried again the night after our last meeting because of something the hubs said. He told the group that last night that he “hoped they got something out of the group, be it physical or spiritual. I know Christie did.” I’m pretty sure he meant *physically* I got something out the group because, oh boy, did I!  I got my running life back AND improved on every level of it.  And maybe he knew this group was the glue holding my faith together too because we have talked it…I don’t know. The point is this group kept me from diving down somewhere I’m so thankful I didn’t go.

Now that time has come to an end…it’s only a 12 week program.  I’m back to not knowing where I fit.  I used the Run for God weeks to just hang on. No growing. No moving forward. Nothing but just simply hanging on. It’s all I could do then and I know God was ok with that. He stayed with me through it and all he asked was that I didn’t turn my back on Him.

So that’s all I did. Hang on and keep my face turned to His.

Now decisions have to be made.  Because of my experiences in this church, I can no longer be involved with a church, and NOT give my time and energy to the mission of being “the visible church.”  I have to be involved on a level deeper than just dropping myself into a chair for one hour on a Sunday morning. This has been my greatest take-away during my time here. I have to serve.

But I don’t know what to do. This church? Another church? How do I utilize my calling in this place? Do I even? If not, where do I go to be the person I know I’m called to be?  Does my calling even have anything to do with church anymore? Where do I fit in?

And would it even be fair to pull my kids away from something they love so much?

I feel detached from the church. I feel like a stranger sitting among people I know….people I love.

And of course this affects *the practicing of* my faith.  In my home, I teach my boys every day about God’s love. I read them stories from the bible. I pick scripture for them to memorize so they have God’s Word right in their hearts. I tell them that God loves them even more than I possibly can….and they know that moms love BIG! I tell them about the importance of prayer, reading our Bibles, giving Him all glory in all things.

Yet I’m on autopilot. I don’t journal like I used to. I don’t read my bible unless I’m reading to my kids. I have a ton of books all about faith on my Kindle but I can’t even make it past the first couple of chapters before I stop reading. While I’m watering the seeds of their faith, my own faith is dormant.

Like I said, God has shown up in the last few months. My lack of motivation has not stopped His persistence. We talk. A lot. My favorite thing to do is scroll down my Facebook feed and say a “God, you got this” prayer for every status{the good, the bad, and the ugly} on my feed. It’s kind of become my ritual. But I haven’t really talked about this particular problem. I didn’t know what to say or what to ask.

Sometimes….it’s just easier to pray for someone else.

So on the drive home I realized my prayer.

God, bring me back to the fold. Drag me to where I belong. I don’t know where that is but you do. I know it will happen because You are the Good Shepherd who rescues His sheep. You got this…you have all along. 

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