Thursday, June 20, 2013

Pennsylvania, (in)courage, and Singleness

Just after Christmas a year and a half ago, I trekked from New York to Chicago for a friend's wedding with Shelly, one of the most phenomenal friends on the planet. Now, you have to know, me and this girl can talk. Like, really talk., i.e. non-stop chatter through the entire state of Pennsylvania. Actually, probably the whole trip but Pennsylvania is significant. For many reasons. But here's one...

This was the season where so much was up in the air but the only thing clear was God telling me to take writing off the back burner. I did the little I knew to do. I blogged more and sought out other blogs... One of them being (in)courage, a site for women, which I enjoyed. Somewhere on the stretch of I-80, I shared with Shelly that I was blessed by the blog and its community however the prominent demographic was wives and moms. And for some reason, I was feeling stirred to start writing about singleness. Umm... WEIRD! So, we chatted a bit a lot more about it, cuz that's how we do, and then Shelly mentioned that one of her old youth group friends from Georgia, Annie Downs, was a blogger at (in)courage. Small world! I'd visited her blog before and thought that was pretty cool. 

Well, after Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, a little of Illinois and a good night’s sleep at Shelly’s, I checked my email only to find the famous post on (in)courage where Annie Downs started the singleness conversation. The same conversation I’d had on I-80 the day before. And the confirmation that this was a topic to start writing about. I knew it in my heart. So, I tucked that way while on my trip.

Fast forward through a year of many ups and downs. This past April, (in)courage hosted the (in)RL webcast with meet-ups all over the country (and abroad!) for readers to connect in real life. Unfortunately, there wasn't a host for my area but I chose to watch it that Saturday anyway. The topic was staying in community and the sessions were incredible. In one segment, some of (in)courage bloggers read out loud posts they'd written. One of the bloggers being Annie Downs with another post on singleness. She read it with tears. I watched it with tears. And I was quickly brought back to that day in Chicago when she first posted on singleness. The day that I knew in my gut that I was to write about it, too. 

It was like déjà vu. Same stirring. Same topic. Same author. 

You see, every so often over the course of this crazy year, the singleness thought would come to mind but I didn’t even know how to go there. And to be honest, I didn’t even want to. So when it came to mind, I shrugged it off. It wasn't the time. And probably, it wasn't for me. But after watching that webcast, I knew it was. 

A few days after that webcast, I headed back out to Chicago to visit some friends (it seems like I'm always there but I'm really not). The day before I flew home, I got to hang with two of my awesome peeps, Shelly (yes, from I-80) and Helen (aka the Wu-ster). On a stroll downtown past Buckingham Fountain and the Bean, I shared that the singleness thing had come up again. Shelly, of course, recalled how it had all started. I remember saying how I didn't really want to go there. I mean, come on, I don't exactly have the greatest track record. And I'm not even referring to my "B.C." days. I mean, since I've been serving the Lord. But being the godly friends they are, Helen and Shelly encouraged me to step out in faith (and not fear) and do what God had clearly put on my heart. 

To write. To be honest. To be transparent. To be obedient.

And in the weeks to follow, it hit me hard that God was really leading me to do this (I know, I know, the Jenn Roth delayed reaction strikes again) and I've been so wrong by shrugging it off. And that if I did not go forward with what He's leading me to do, it would be disobedience. He's God. He has a reason. He has a purpose. And saying no to God is disobedience. It's straight up sin. We don't like that word but seriously, that's what it is. All this time I'd sugarcoated it with excuses but all this time I'd been sinning. I needed to see it for what it really was. Because sin leads to death but obedience leads to righteousness. Saying yes to God is freedom and peace and joy! 

Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living. - Romans 6:16

Knowing the struggle it's been and my reluctance thus far, I did what I knew to be the best next step. I met with my Pastor, told him the nutshell version of all of the above and asked him to hold me accountable. And he most certainly is. We've had several chats about it so it's official. There's no turning back now. 

I'm grateful to God for the many ways He encourages, challenges, and sharpens us. He uses close friends on road trips and leisurely strolls downtown. He uses authors and bloggers who are faithful to share what He's put on their hearts. He uses pastors and leaders to help guide us with Truth on our winding paths. But most importantly, He sends His Holy Spirit to give us the power we need to obey.

As I was writing earlier (actually attempting to write), I stopped by (in)courage to read today's blog post. And guess who it's by? Yes, you guessed it. Annie Downs. Again. It's awesome. And really was what springboarded this entire post. So please, stop by and read it. God is totally using Annie's words on Singleness to minister to many. And to confirm that I'm on the right track. I'm truly thankful for her transparency and encouragement. Seriously, check out her post, The Cost, now before you forget! 

Soooooo, long story notsoshort, I'm really excited about what's on the horizon. Not that I know what it will entail in its entirety, but it's a joy to be on the journey. The preparation is in motion and, as I mentioned a few weeks ago, the singleness series is scheduled to begin next month. Right here! I'll be back soon to share some of the details so be please sure to stop by again in the near future! (and please PRAY for me!)

pressing on toward the goal,

Is there something that God has been putting His finger on in your life that you've been reluctant to follow through with? For me, it's been writing about singleness but for you it may be something totally different. Have you experienced joy and blessings when you surrendered to Him and said yes? Or are you still reluctant? Share with us in the comments below! 

1 comment:

Jennifer Roth said...

Thank you, Becky. :)