Saturday, September 11, 2010

Year Two...

So it’s been two years since that fateful day. That day that turned my world literally upside down. This is the two year anniversary (can I call it that) of my awakening. I say it like that only because had things not happened that way, I’m not sure what it would have taken for God to get my attention…I shudder to think.

So where am I now? I’m in a far different place than last year, to say the least. First and foremost, I don’t teach in Elevate (Element Church’s 1st through 5th grade students) anymore. I do miss them so, sometimes. Then I peak my head in on a Sunday morning and remember why I’m not called to children’s ministry. God bless Pastor Derek… (BLOG)

Shortly after the last post, at the end of October 2009, my divorce finalized. At first I thought I was free and released. Then God started stirring my heart for something I really couldn’t define. In February God made it painfully clear that He desired reconciliation between my ex-wife and I and that He was capable of restoring us. If I’m honest, at the time I wanted NOTHING to do with it, but because I desired to be in God’s will, I began praying for reconciliation and in short order God birthed in my heart a deep desire for reconciliation.

Around that same time, Curtis Marshall, theSHIFT Pastor at that time, was scheduled to move to New Mexico. So theSHIFT was facing a slightly uncertain future with no actual leader in sight. Sure we had the roundTABLE in place, but that couldn’t sustain forever. Soon after giving me the desire for reconciliation, I felt God saying that I was supposed to talk to Curtis about leading theSHIFT and unbeknownst to me, God was telling Curtis the same thing. So Curtis and the Element Lead team talked, then he and I talked and viola…this past Easter I was officially announced as theSHIFT Interim Director. (Since then, I’ve been told the Interim part has been dropped…I love that God lets me be a part of this.)

Over the next few months there were moments that my ex-wife would contact me and my anticipation for reconciliation grew, but it never panned out. At the time she was living in Casper, WY, but moved back to Cheyenne in the beginning of June. Shortly after that, I began to feel this disconnect from the deep burden (and yes I mean it that way, my heart was burdened by it; lots of sleepless night and sick feelings) and desire for reconciliation. I think at the time it was essential that my heart be devoted to what God was calling me to in my personal life for me to lead theSHIFT well. The months went on and I felt as if I was in this “waiting” pattern. I had made it known to my ex-wife that God could fix anything and really it was on her shoulders. I prayed EVERY single day and night for God to get her heart and for His will to be done in reconciling us. I wish I could say that a miracle happened and God got her heart and reconciled us, but that’s not what happened. On August 27th my ex-wife married the man she’s been living with for the last two years.

But here’s the thing on that. Understand THIS…God did NOT fail me. He was and is still faithful, He still desired it, and I was obedient to what He called me to. He is my portion, He is enough and He is my prize. Just because my ex-wife rejected reconciliation, doesn’t mean God abandoned me in that desire. He grew me into the man He needed me to be through that and fulfilled His promise to sustain me. He is still God and He is still Good.

So, in that time here’s what happened. Even though I had already forgiven my ex-wife, I really got the opportunity to release her from any residual anger I had held on to. I got to confess absolutely everything to her and ask her forgiveness. I got to help and bless her a few times, which was often quite humbling. I got to tell her, then boyfriend, I forgave him for his part in what had happened (also quite humbling). And I got to look at my responsibility in the whole mess, accept it and hand it to Jesus (also humbling, but so freeing). Through all of that, God has allowed me to lead this AMAZING, out of control awesome, group of people called theSHIFT (BLOG). I have a team that rivals any team I’ve ever seen (they’re ALL volunteers and they pour every ounce of their heart into what God has called them to). I love them and am so lucky to serve in ministry with them. Oh, I’ve completed 8 of my 15 classes for my Master of Arts in Religion, but I’m taking the next school year off to focus on my boys and ministry. There are other things coming down the pipe that I won’t share quite yet, but I’m so excited for them.

Although I learned a boat load of stuff, there are two things I want to focus on.

1. Last year I said, “Obedience is the axis on which everything in God spins.” and quoted John 14:15 in which Jesus says, "If you love me, obey my commandments.” I WAS WRONG! The key to that verse is not “obey my commands,” but “If you love me.” Here’s the way it should have read last year…”Love is the axis on which everything in God spins and the foundation on which everything in Christ is built.” Obedience, like everything else, is simply a byproduct, a result of our love for Jesus. It’s also the action that proves what you say. If you truly love Jesus, everything you do will teem with the obviousness of that love. It will permeate every part of everything you are, have and do. He just wants to love you and have you love Him back.

2. Ministry is NOT about you. And more than that, your relationship with Christ (while there is a selfish part that you must be concerned with) is not about you either. I’m in the middle of a series on this subject so I won’t go too far into it, but Christ pours His love out on you so that it will flow though you (had a great conversation with Thomas BLOG about this) out to others. He loves you and expects that with the love you receive, you will love who He loves…which is everyone else. So many times he said, you feed them, love others, love each other, and take care of my sheep. He wants you to give to others, to serve them, to die to yourself and BE for others. He did. I’ll save the rest of this for another blog.

All in all it’s been an amazing year. Didn’t see most of any of that coming and wouldn’t have been able to plan it better (God saw it though). I’m excited for the year to come and the year after that more (I separate from the military that year – 2012…if the world doesn’t end, heh!).

So Stoked,
Bruce