Old dreams and new jobs

Ten years ago, I officially fell in love with my first local church.  I sat in one of the pastors offices and I told him: “I’m all in. I’ll do whatever this church wants.” I was young(er) and cocky(ier) and sure about who I was. I told him my gifts, where I wanted to serve, but explained I would do whatever our body needed.

In life, there are a few moments when you are sure of what God wants you to do.  That was one of them for me.

It didn’t work out.

The church wasn’t in the financial position to take me on, so I took a job at a software company instead. Sort of different, but I fell in love with it. I loved the people and the lightness of it compared to my previous work.

Fast forward two years: I was loving my software job when another pastor contacted me and asked me to interview for a position on our church staff.

Dream come true, right? Except it was a little too late. I no longer had any interest in working for the church. I loved working with people who saw the world differently from me. But, despite all my doubts, through a crazy series of events, in 2007 I accepted a position with The Austin Stone Community Church.

What followed was a hard season followed by harder seasons.  At first it was the simple lessons found in facing failure, then the pain of learning that the church is made up of sinful saints and that not a single pastor has the power to save, and then the spiritual devastation of discovering how deep my own sin really runs.  All that was followed up by the pain of losing a parent, then a partner in ministry and punctuated by my own health coming off the rails a little.

I knew it was time to transition out of my role on staff long before I was brave enough to leave.  I kept trying to stay, fighting against the pressure of the spirit and the pull of the ministry I knew was ahead.

But I finally yielded.  Finally gave up, and in December of 2014 I walked out the doors with no concrete idea of what I was moving towards.

In some ways I still don’t know.

I know I’m moving towards you. I’m moving towards whatever will convince you that He really is as good as He says He is. Moving towards whatever ministry I can offer you that won’t ask you to pick between your head and your heart: the knowledge of God and the glorious emotional experience of Him.

But practically?  What resource comes first? What the shape of this new ministry is?  Those are questions yet to be answered.

What I do know is that whatever ministry He has me dreaming about, it is not going to be built in a coffee shop behind a computer.  I know that now.  Because in walking towards whatever is next, I found myself walking through our Counseling Center.

I didn’t leave staff with The Austin Stone to move upstairs and work for The Austin Stone Counseling Center.  But the vision I seek, the ministry I dream about building, it is becoming more and more clear as I sit behind closed doors and listen to the stories and struggles of the women who are desperate to have their heads and hearts align so their hands might be spent on the glory of our God.

It’s hard to describe how it feels to be invited behind the small talk and the sunday school answers I’m used to hearing in the foyer on a Sunday and suddenly get the raw feed from women on what they’re really experiencing of God. And the more of you I know, the more of your struggles I see, the more I feel the Spirit making sense of the details of the vision God has given me for my life.

He works in mysterious ways.Screen Shot 2015-05-25 at 3.29.37 PM

I was walking out of the office a few weeks ago when a woman who interned for me a few years back stopped me and pointed out how ironic it was that I work at the Counseling Center. “Why” I asked, genuinely confused.  “Didn’t you originally think you were supposed to work in counseling?”

And my mind went back to ten years ago, to Fabs filled with confidence of calling, (a calling that I would later dismiss as foolish and off base): a hunger to work in pastoral counseling at The Austin Stone Community Church.

Isn’t it strange. That after all these years of thinking I know who I am, I still might not be fully in the loop?  That after all these years of thinking I was wrong about where God was leading, I might just have been wrong about how that looked?

Maybe as He moves us away from who we think we are, He’s moving us toward being who we actually are.  Maybe all of the magical round-about of life is making us more into ‘us’ than we ever dreamed.

Maybe we will find ourselves at the end of this whole thing, standing in a position eerily similar to where we started, but drastically different from who we were when we started.

And isn’t that this crazy Gospel story we’re all living in anyway?  This wild ride is taking us back to Eden, but a different, better Eden.  And when we get there we won’t be like Adam and Eve, we will be a different kind of creation all together: a new creation.  Humans who have not just known about the goodness of God but have tasted His grace and been led by His Spirit into the very love He has for Himself.

[You can learn more about my role at the Counseling Center here]

2 thoughts on “Old dreams and new jobs

  1. Great article. As a single Reformed male I can proudly say I’ve learned a lot from reading your articles Fabs. You definitely have a unique teaching gift. Your insights and commitment to the Word, your focus on the Glory of God, and the Calvinistic doctrinines of grace make your articles very helpful and a pleasure to read. And you also apply the doctrines of Scripture in very practical ways. Oh that God would give every local church solid sage-women filled with biblical wisdom and insight (like you) to help others.

    As I prepare for seminary, I have been in prayer asking if this is the direction He wants to take my life. I know my gifts of teaching and preaching and I want to hone and use them for his glory.

    I will pray for you Fabs, that God will guide and keep using you for his glory. Stay in prayer sister, keep studying and writing.

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