not about me

I don't think I've mentioned it on my blog yet, I think it's been too painful for me to write about, but my husband and I are no longer youth pastors.

The main factor is financial reasons--though God knows we would have kept going full steam ahead if He would have allowed us to.  This is a heartbreak we don't really know how to walk through.  It's what we always felt God called us to do and we were so certain then that He would make a way for us to do it.  Now we feel lost, bereft, afraid to dream anymore.  And life without dreams loses so much of its luster.  I've spent many nights crying myself to sleep, asking God why, straining to hear His answer, but even then knowing that there is no answer that would satisfy this ache inside me.  

 "Do you trust me?" God asked me today in a whisper meant to reveal my heart to myself.
"Do you trust my love for you?" He's gentle but persistent.

And my own hesitation confirmed my answer.  My heart is fearful.  Down deep in my soul, I know God loves me and I can trust him, but oh, my heart plays the traitor.  My heart with all it's fickle feelings.

It feels like God's given up on me.
It feels like hope deferred.
It feels like the end of a dream.

But will I trust my feelings or will I trust the God of my soul?
I'm praying for the strength to trust and for the courage to dream again.

 I was reminded of this post from two years ago when I was in a similar season....

I started fretting.  And getting anxious.  Dreams were passing me by, floating just out of my reach and taking my heart with them.

Had God forgotten about me?  Was He passing me by, too?  I thought my dreams were important to Him.  Hadn't He promised me the desires of my heart?

I laid all this and more out on my messy kitchen table.  With my head in my hands I let my selfish tears flow.  I needed to know.  I needed the reassurance of my Father.

He was as gentle as He always is.  And yet His question was persistent.

"Am I more important to you than your dreams?"

I knew what God was asking and I knew what the answer would be.  In His own compassionate way, He was reminding me that this life I live is not about me.  I was clinging to my dreams instead of to His will.  I had my own ideas of how things should work out, what I wanted living for Him to look like.  It was just a matter of time, I thought, until God will bring my dreams to pass.  And although I know my dreams ARE important to God, what if He has other plans?

I had to let them go.  I had to choose again to let Jesus fill my soul.  His dreams must become my own.  And I am remembering just how incredible it is to dream God's dreams.  They are more, so much more than even I dare to imagine.

This life I live is not about me and I hope that it never will be.
It's about the overwhelming, life-changing, all-encompassing love of my Jesus that dares to make the ordinary into the extraordinary, the impossible possible, and is changing the world one mended heart at a time.

Use me as you will, Father, use me as you will!


ricebabies said...

I can't tell you how much this applies to my life right now. Dreams are so hard to let go, and selfishly, I am holding on praying that instead of my changing God will change it to my wants.

Thank you for letting me know I'm not alone.

Sammy said...

Wow have we ever been here. We had to let the dreams that we had for how we wanted to serve in church, go. We had dreams that needed to be submitted and in actual fact, die. It was so hard. Beyond hard.
But on this side of that hardship our lives are immeasurably better. He held us in His hand and even though it would have seemed to us then, that this place was outside His Will for us, in fact it's smack bam inside it.
Transition is super hard but beyond that place, is amazing blessing.
Praying for you xxx

weza said...

I can offer no advice but I want you to know that I feel your heart, and will be praying that God will show you his heart and that he will bless you beyond measure. xxx

Team Jenkins said...

perfect timing - thank you for your transparency and how it confirmed things the Lord is speaking right to my heart ... i pray that blesses you today!

Bethany said...

My husband and I know this scenario all too well. Even when he took a second job at Starbucks and I ran an in home daycare center, we struggled to get by. God is still faithful through it all, and He's taught us a lot of lessons the past three years in spite of ourselves. I'll be praying for you and your family! Blessings!

annie said...

oh, my heart breaks because i've seen, on this blog, your passion and your love for teens.

and i've been there too. when it feels like God is ignoring your dreams and is callous toward your loss. it is take-your-breath away hard. but i will say that slowly and surely, i am realizing: he has dealt bountifully with me. he has answered my prayers and protected my dreams in ways i never imagined. it's what he does best. and i have to trust that he is doing that for your family too. that in the moments when we feel him away, he is really close, creating and maneuvering to make our dreams come to fruition in ways only he could fathom.

i just know that he is caring for you in ways you can't yet understand. my prayer and hope is that you can endure these days when he seems far, that you have the strength to make it to the days when he close once again.

Lindsay @ 402CenterStreet.blogspot.com said...

As a fellow youth pastor's wife. . . I'm praying for you. I can only imagine how hard this is for you b/c I know how we build into the lives of these students and how much we pour into them and how your life gets so mixed up and invested in theirs.

My husband and I both feel a tugging. Our days are numbered in this ministry b/c God has something more but I find myself holding back b/c I'm afraid. I've never NOT been a youth pastor's wife. Oh the knot in my throat even now just thinking about it. . . but that first quote is so right. . . if your dreams don't scare you they aren't big enough and I might add. . . perhaps they aren't God's dreams for you?
I'll be praying for you. And for your family. This is a new adventure. And I know it probably seems like chaos but I'll pray you feel the peace of God holding you right there in the palm of His hand. Blessings. And thank you. Your transparency in your journey has given me strength.

Caitlin Ostberg said...

Thank you for writing this Joye, it's something that God's been reminding me of late.

Ashley said...

As heartbreaking as this is, it truly is a beautiful post. I know how hard it is to give your dreams and uncertainty over to God...I think we all do, but when He is leading you in a different direction from what you've always known, it's always had to simply trust Him. Please know that you are in my thoughts today and if I were there I would give you a big hug and pray with you. Thank you for sharing this!

Cynthia said...

Keep your head up, girl! God's doing great things through you and has already done great things through you.

Rachel~Wildflower Photography Studio and a little bit vintage said...

beautiful post, joye. i feel your pain...the hubs and i were recently there. for 3 years we were there...after miscarriages, job losses, health scares...and the list goes on. we are just now starting to come out of it...god has pulled us out of it. even when we are the midst of darkness and everything seems to be crumbling down around us, we know one thing is always, always true, our god is faithful. wish i could come over and give you a big hug. :) praying for you friend!

love and blessings,

Kelly said...

Praying for you!

Lynnette Kraft said...

Ah Joye, sounds like God is taking you places ... places that are hard to go. One of my favorite verses for times like this is...

"Call unto me and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not." Jeremiah 33:3

To me, that verse says, "Just keep talking to me and trusting me, because I'm going to show you what I'm planning - something better than you could even imagine!"

I'm sorry for this uncertain time in your life. :'( I pray you'll get your "something better" revealed very soon.


Breeann said...

This is so true. While it hurts sometimes when things don't go the way we planned them to, we still need to trust God...because His dreams are best.
I am praying for you and your family, that God will reveal His amazing plans for your lives.

Kate said...

Oh, Joye, my heart aches with yours. Being in ministry I know the joys and struggles, emotionally, financially, and physically speaking! I am praying for you and Joel right now, and I know for certain you have made an impact on the kids already that you served and you all planted wonderful seeds!

Kelly said...

You have a gift friend you write so beautifully and eloquently even when going through heart break.
My heart is truly sad for you. I am however so glad that you are trusting Him so completely. I am positive that He has big plans for you.
You are an inspiration.
Love to you.

Abbey said...

Being an example of faith and endurance through hardship for these kids is far more effective than any witty sermon. I remember that those were the people that impacted my life as a teenager. Don't underestimate your influence on these teenagers during these difficult times in your life. Even now, God is using you more than you know! You never know who is hurting, and who is watching and saying - If they can get through it with God's grace, so can I! Isaiah 50:7

Jenilee said...

praying with you during this transition. the heartache and the pain of changing plans and dreams... God can and will bring your through in amazing ways. Hugs!

BARBIE said...

Oh Joye, I am praying for you and your husband during this time. It's hard when it seems like our dreams have been taken away. It's hard to trust sometimes when we cannot see. But God cares for you both so much and knows your hearts. I am believing that in His wisdom, this has been allowed to happen for reasons that you cannot see, but He can. May He bring healing to your hearts as you take His hand and trust Him even more in this season.

Coby said...

Thank you so much for sharing your heart with this - it truly encouraged me. I've neglected to dream, to trust God with abandon, because my heart has been fearful. No more!!!

I am praying for you in this season!


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