Looking back and forward.

Today is my 35th birthday!  Yay!!!! and whoa!!!!  That is uncomfortably close to 40…!  I’m in my LATE 30’s now…!  (If you look at it from the standpoint of rounding up!)  For the most part, I appreciate getting older, but this birthday is cause for reflection.  (To be fair, most things are in my world.)

Where am I at on this wild and crazy journey called life?

LOOKING BACK

10 years ago, I was married to Lynn in another life, pregnant with our first baby, we were being sued into our first home (long story), pastoring in Truro, NS, and I was deeply wrestling with my place in the world and in the kingdom of God.

Looking back, my world was chaos.  It was clean on the outside, but a whirlwind of fear,  insecurity, and desperation on the inside.  I had love in my life.  My faith was real.  My gifts, talents, and calling were there.  Still, I was living on shifting sands, completely at odds with myself and the world around me.

I’m always a little sad that my resume isn’t more colorful at this stage in my life.  Early on, in my early-mid twenties, I had wanted so badly to make my mark on the world.  I wanted to be somebody and prove my worth.  I hid these desires behind the mask of “good pastor’s wife” or “good Christian girl,” but they burned in me all the same.  If I’m being really blunt about it, I loved seeing my husband (Lynn at the time) succeed but hated when that discounted me from a life of opportunity and success as well.

I felt like I had so much to offer, but no one was willing to open the door. Instead of moving me _up the ladder,_ He broke me down the ladder (1)

Then, in God’s sovereign plan over my life, instead of moving me “up the ladder,” He broke me down the ladder.  He sent me deep into grief, loss, depression, and despair.  He taught me the ways of the dark night, the wisdom of the soul, and the comfort in suffering.  He exposed my pretense, the imposter lurking in the shadows of my soul, and revealed my darkest secret… my own self-hatred.

God did have a call on my life, but in His grace, chose not to send me “up the ladder of success” when my foundation was sure to crumble under the weight of what was to come.  Instead, he sent an earthquake that shattered the ladder entirely and left nothing but dirt and ash.  Then He showed me, one step at a time, how to build a house in which He could dwell with me, strong and secure, a fortified city.

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy dwelling places of the Most High.  God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved” (Psalm 46:4-5a).

Some key lessons I’m so thankful for:

  1. You can’t offer something good and valuable to the world while hating yourself.Remember to love your neighbor as yourself.  And if you hate yourself, then please – just leave your neighbor alone” – Jon Stewart
  2. You can’t live a calling that your character can’t handle.  “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” – Abraham Lincoln
  3. You will never get what you want out there.  It always starts in here“…whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” – John 4:14 
  4. You can’t lead others if you can’t lead yourself. “A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent.” – Douglas MacArthur

LOOKING AHEAD

Last May, for the first time, God opened the door.

Since then, I’ve been discovering what this calling (life’s passion and purpose) of mine is about.

Back in September, I wrote this blog “The Church, who is she?” that ended with: for the churchFriends, I invite you to join me in a new blog series that explores who we are as the Church, dreams about our potential in Christ, and looks longingly into a bright future with a new generation arising who share God’s heart for His beloved.”

But I didn’t follow through!  I spent the next couple of months instead caught up in writing a launch proposal for a new way of being the church called Unprecedented People.  

I have SO MUCH to learn and SO MUCH to articulate as I keep discovering what it means to live as God’s people today in a shifting culture with radically different values and paradigms.  I truly believe we are in a new reformation, in which God is raising particular leaders who can shepherd His people through this radical shift (from one ~500 year age to another) and steward His gospel for a new generation that is chosen by God to “carry the grace to release the unprecedented.”

We need an unprecedented church for unprecedented times!

What to expect from me in days ahead:

  1. I will soon be releasing a publishing date for my first book and will be inviting you along in that exciting process.  It will take roughly 6-9 months to complete the editing/publishing process with Wesleyan Publishing House. More details on that to come.
  2. WPH (Wesleyan Publishing House) has been so fun to work with and suggested that I write a grief devotional and teaching resource alongside my book (which recounts my journey of grief and faith after the death of my first husband).  The first book takes extra long for various reasons, but I hope to move forward as quickly as possible onto new and different books.  I’m thankful for WPH’s partnership and support in this.
  3. I will be engaging some tough topics as we consider culture and questions, deconstruction and reconstructing faith in the western world… though I tread carefully where I know my knowledge and research margin is limited.
  4. I will be sharing more of my heart and vision that we would become the Unprecedented People of God…
  5. I am and forever will be a lover of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior.  You can expect that this will never change 🙂

Thank you, dear friends, for your loving support.  I long to serve you well as a voice of encouragement and inspiration on your journey toward the Unprecedented!

Natasha Signature-dark blue


4 thoughts on “Looking back and forward.

  1. Natasha, you keep inspiring me. God sure has His plans for you started.
    I’ve been stuck since my husband died, 6 years ago, Dec 5.
    Oh I’m doing all the things I’m told to do, building on my relationship with God, His my rock, going to church and Bible studies, seeing a Christian counselor etc, etc .. but I’m so empty inside. It’s like showing to the people outside of me that I’m doing great.
    But on the inside, I’m saying to myself .. what do I do now? Who am I really.

    Like

    1. Oh Merina, you’re doing amazing. Having young kids kept me active and engaged in a way I never could have done on my own! I still feel that emptiness inside, but have filled out other areas of life with new beginnings and new relationships. Sometimes the new outweighs the empty. Sometimes the empty outweighs the new. It never ceases to amaze me how thick and heavy emptiness is.

      Praying for peace, for the strength to rise out of bed another day, and for new joy to come from unexpected places. ❤️

      Like

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