“You’re in love with Chicago” my friend Jamie told me in February, as I shared with her repeatedly of my interest in moving to Chicago. I blushed at the thought, and replied that I was indeed in love with Chicago. I was consumed with thoughts about it, could not get it out of my mind. I am in love with Chicago.
(Photo found on Pinterest via Etsy: http://www.etsy.com/shop/refashioned)
Pastor Nathan Brown is planting a church in Chicago that will share the vision of being Real with Sandals (My current church). He and Pastor Matt Brown announced and asked and invited 20 adults to join Pastor Nathan and his family in planting a church.
I knew instantly that I was willing to go.
Chicago and I go way back. My mom spent some of her childhood in Chicago. My parents went to school and met in Chicago at Moody Bible Institute. I’ve been on campus. I’ve been to the city. I had a pen pal who was a daughter of two of my parent’s college friends who still live near Chicago.
2 years ago, out of the blue I applied for a job in Chicago. I started thinking about it.
I knew I wanted to go.
LAST YEAR’S LOOSE ENDS
Most of you know and followed my journey to Colorado and Campus Crusade. It was a very confusing place to end that journey after spending a year pursuing the idea, attending a couple conferences, applying, interviewing, going through the process and attempting to fundraise…believing that God was leading.
I think he was, but it was a temporary place rather than a 2 year commitment that I thought I was doing. I wasn’t where I wanted to be, and I was filled with tension and very unsettled about where I was.
After taking very careful time to process and decide to walk away, there was relief, but for a few months there were a lot of loose ends that didn’t make sense. Why did God lead me to Cru, through training, and away? Why bother? I worried that I had wasted my time and burdened Cru with the financial cost that I was unable to raise for my summer training.
As Chicago came into the picture, the future seemed bright once again, possibilities began to awaken, and my heart was alive again, joy was returning to my soul.
With Chicago in the picture, suddenly all of my loose ends were gone and taken care of.
What if God needed me to go through that whole process last year in order to test me to see if I would be willing? Without everything that last year entailed, I might not be in a place where I would be willing to go. I might be tied up with other things, or a job, or who knows.
PROCESSING & PRAYING ABOUT CHICAGO
Because it was something I was excited and wanted to do, I knew I needed to devote lots of prayer and seeking to check my motives and see if it was what God wanted me to do. I joined a group of people from my church who were doing the same thing, only a few of whom had already reached their conclusion on the first night. I walked in and saw so many familiar faces. I was surprised and elated. Later as I have reflected on this, I find myself feeling very much at home with this group that I see every Tuesday night. We have journeyed together, building new friendships and strengthening existing ones as we have sought the Lord together.
[to be continued! ...]