30 January, 2016

From My Heart

There is someting on my mind today, something I want to bring forth to you from my heart. I've shared a lot here over the last (almost) ten years: the courtship and eventual wedding of our youngest, the births of our grandchildren, illnesses, injuries, crises, childhood memories, family, home improvements, travel journals, the adventures of Hannes, celebrations, nature, victories, failures, books, movies, friends and faith to name a few; oh, and quilts... so many quilts! If you think that this post is going to be more of the same, you would be wrong. Today I am going to share something new, something that is deeply personal, the subject of which is likely to appear in upcoming posts and I want you to hear the back-story here first and not be confused. When I was growing up my mother taught me never to discuss two subjects in mixed company: politics and religion. I have never touched either one of those here, until today; and it won't be politics!

Our family has been a member of the same church since 1975. My husband even longer, he was a member as a child, in the mid 1960's. We moved away for job relocations and returned, as he had when he was a boy, always to the same church. Our children grew up there; were baptized, confirmed, married and their babies were baptized there... at the same font where their parents were welcomed into God's family. Our friends are there, relationships developed over decades of raising children together, fellowship activities and serving God on a myriad of committees together. We have strong relationships with our Pastors there, and the staff. And yet, given all of that, I felt strongly this past summer that God was calling me away from that place. It is hard to write, even now, how painful that realization was. I rationalized, I bargained, I struggled, I cried, I even tried to ignore God's nudge. It was impossible. My husband felt the same calling, his response was the same. We prayed; separately, and together, for clear discernment. What is this type of discernment we prayed for, you might ask. Well, one of the best definitions of it, in the Biblical sense, is found here:

From Grace To You by John MacArthur:
The key to living an uncompromising life lies in one's ability to exercise discernment in every area of his or her life. For example, failure to distinguish between truth and error leaves the Christian subject to all manner of false teaching. False teaching then leads to an unbiblical mindset, which results in unfruitful and disobedient living-a certain recipe for compromise. 
Unfortunately, discernment is an area where most Christians stumble. They exhibit little ability to measure the things they are taught against the infallible standard of God's Word, and they unwittingly engage in all kinds of unbiblical decision-making and behavior. In short, they are not armed to take a decidedly biblical stand against the onslaught of unbiblical thinking and attitudes that face them throughout their day.
Discernment intersects the Christian life at every point. And God's Word provides us with the needed discernment about every issue of life. According to Peter, God "has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence" (2 Peter 1:3). You see, it is through the "true knowledge of Him," that we have been given everything we need to live a Christian life in this fallen world. And how else do we have true knowledge of God but through the pages of His Word, the Bible? In fact, Peter goes on to say that such knowledge comes through God's granting "to us His precious and magnificent promises" (2 Peter 1:4).
I don't believe it was a coincidence that my husband and I felt led away at the same time. There are no coinidences with God. And yet, at the time, I didn't recognize that. After counsel with church leaders, crying gallons of tears and feeling as though we were being physically torn in two, we did leave our beloved church. "What now, God? This is scary!"
Through God's grace a new mission church has begun. It's not been easy, but God has been there directing every step; support has been supplied generously at each turn. Tomorrow will be the fourth scheduled worship service. We are in a temporary location right now and have had our share of hiccups along the way. At the inaugural worship service the organ decided to die near the conclusion of the first hymn. And yet, God's faithful people rose and sang, unaccompanied. On the second Sunday it began snowing about an hour before worship began. And yet, God's faithful people came. Last Sunday the service had to be cancelled due to snow and icy road conditions. And yet, God's people move forward; with His help and guidance, He is there with us in the Sunday School program and at Women's Bible Study. I share all of this with you today because I feel led to do so. This blog chronicles my life and faith and represents who Mrs. Goodneedle is, this new chapter is simply just too big, too good, not to share! Has the road thus far been easy? Absolutely not. From a personal standpoint, I still grieve the loss of what was, as does my husband. Has this move been worth the pain? Yes!, there is nothing but joy and excitement in our hearts and souls over what is!  God has richly blessed this new mission church. There is no doubt in my mind that stepping out in faith was exactly the right thing to do at this time. God had already chosen the path. Please join us in prayer for the future of Grace Lutheran Church. We give thanks for all that He has done and all that is to come.
Life is Good!

21 comments:

stitchinpenny said...

Sharing joy is always appreciated. I hope you continue to share your path and you are continually lifted through the community you have joined in your journey.

FabricandFlowers said...

What a beautiful post. I also changed churches recently. I so understand your feelings. I married and moved to a different part of town. There was no way I was going to be active in my original church just because of distance. I so loved that church. It was there for me during the hard times and good times. God led me to a church close by. It is a different denomination which made the decision harder. God kept nudging and I finally joined.It has been wonderful seeing my husband connect with people. New friends, new dynamics...sometimes outside my comfort zone. Growth can be uncomfortable but He isn't satisfied with our spiritual infancy.

Hugs and a prayer sent up for you. I think great things are ahead for you. And what a wonderful witness you are for obedience to God's calling.

Jacqueline said...

Prayers and best wishes for your new journey.

Karen said...

We went thru the same thing 13 years ago after 28 years at our other church. God is faithful and will lead you on a joyous journey. Thanks for sharing.

Patty Nordahl said...

We are going through much the same thing. Our youngest son found Christ through the bible and moved from the north east to Georgia to accept a position in the operations dept of a Baptist school and church complex.
When I retired in 2015 he asked us to come and stay with him and get out of the N.E. winters.We are here from Sept through May. We have joined his church and are finding our way to Christ through the bible. Having been raised in the Roman Catholic faith and raising my children in the Episcopal church this is a new road for me. I have been learning to listen and try to do as HE would wish. I find your post both enlightening and comforting. Thank you for sharing. I know God is with you every step you take.

Rebya Thuesen said...

We were led to change in 1992.
Then, 8 yrs ago we were led to move closer to our new church. God was so direct that we knew He was leading.
God's Blessings to you and yours.

Janet O. said...

When God directs us to a new path, it isn't easy, but it is always for our good in the end. You are wise to follow Him, and I pray your discernment will continue to keep you on His path for you.

jude's page said...

What a wonderful post, and I pray that you will know God's peace in the way forward. Thankyou for sharing "from your heart".

NanaNor's said...

Dear One, I so hear you heart and thank you for being transparent! I had to leave a church when my girls were in high school(I go alone, which is really hard) and it was like a death. Over the years, we've moved etc and the Lord has led me to new places. How can anyone not want the very best the Lord has for you both?! I pray that He will richly reward your obedience and bless others by you and your hubby.
Hugs and Love,
Noreen

julieQ said...

It is difficult to leave the familiar, even when god leads us. I am so happy for your new church! Praying for continued good things!

rondiquilts said...

I've been praying for you and Mr. Goodneedle and your flock.

Rondi

Ms. Jan said...

Your post brought me to tears, Debbie. I'm not at all religious, but I can imagine the struggle you face leaving a place that has been home for so long. Much like a divorce, really. What shines out to me is that you and your dear hubby have been called to start something new that in 10, 20, 30 years, will be as much a home to many folks as your old church was to you. Who better to lead this journey? All the best to you and yours on your new endeavor, and way to go for getting in front of it and having the courage to share the struggle. xoxo

Lindah said...

Thank you for sharing this exciting new chapter in your life journey. I can just imagine how difficult it must have been to travel around that curve in the journey and make that change. But this is what the Church is all about: nurturing and equipping us and sending us out to serve in new areas. God bless you and your family and Grace Lutheran Church, and make you all a bright beacon of His love in the new location.

Carolyn said...

Oh, I was in those shoes. I understand your emotions. Peace to you.

cityquilter grace said...

nice post, i can hear the dilemma in your voice...how blessed you are to know exactly which way to go...that is a gift indeed...years ago i felt led to invite a friend to a billy graham crusade...it was pouring buckets and i felt sure she would cancel--we would have--but she didn't! i wrapped my little girl in a trash bag and we went with a thermos and sat in the pouring rain where my friend accepted Christ, and eventually her husband...i would say God has great things in store for you to do!

Tanya said...

It is not uncommon. We too changed churches (though not as eloquently as you) and have had some heart wrenching decision making. But GOD IS GOOD!!! And we feel JOY weekly at the new church. I am so thankful that we were led to the move. I pray that God blesses our former church in ways we can't imagine. He will care for your former church and your new one. He takes care of all of us.

Ann Parks said...

Isn't it amazing how God moves us from where we are to where we need to be?! All the best to you and Mr. Goodneedle as you step out of what you have known for so long and move into new waters!

Quiltdivajulie said...

The hardest part is being still and really listening. Clearly you and Mr. Goodneedle have mastered that art -- sending hugs and prayers for the continuing journey. And thank you for sharing such a beautifully written post.

MARCIE said...

This is so beautifully written and felt. I know you will be a wonderful asset to your new church. Your sense of joy says it all.

Nann said...

I wasn't familiar with NALC so I looked it up. Now I'm better-informed! No matter what the denomination, it's hard to leave an established covenant relationship (as church membership is) and start a new one. May the new path on your faith journey be blessed!

Gloria said...

Thank you for sharing your heart with us. I know from experience that your decision was a difficult one to make. God works in wondrous ways and if we listen we find peace that only comes thru Him. I hope this new church soon "feels like family."