I’m sitting in the Charlotte-Douglas airport and just so you know, I’m in a crappy mood. Today, I’m tired, I’m sad, I’m full of sass (not the fun kind), and I’m going home to what feels like nothing (I’ll explain why later)… oh, and just so you know, the guy sitting in front of me keeps farting (I’m going to name him Lionel…good name for a farter? Me thinks so.).
So what did I do, I got up and went to the bar across from my gate. I ordered a martini (and made it a double). I intended to do two things with my martini: mission accomplished.
- I celebrated the following: 2,601 miles, 4 years, 1 month, and 27 days, God speaking, love, and independence
- I settled down
2,601 MILES! That was a lot of driving. Did I love every minute of it? NO! NOT AT ALL… there were times I hated it, times I moaned and groaned, and got really, REALLY angry. Here’s one instance, and I apologize in advance to my Kansas readers, for what I am about to ask you and then say: why in the hell would Dorothy want to return to Kansas?! And that poor dog Toto, he had no choice. Please tell me there is some good in your state…because through my drive, I decided that Kansas is my least favorite state. I was talking to some friends and I told them that though I don’t believe in purgatory, Kansas must be a step down. I drove through 3 towns. That’s all, just 3. And the entire time, I had no service. NONE! No joke. I crossed from Oklahoma into Kansas and dropped a call. Then I drove into Nebraska, and my phone went cra-CRAAA-crazy! Kansas… I have words for you (and be prepared, they’re not nice).
That drive! Overall, it made me feel strong, and so independent. I loved that, I’d get lost in that. And at other times, I would find myself scared and abandoned in the wilderness. Literally, no cell service, no towns for miles, and nothing but clouds and sky (and then of course the symbolism of my life being in nothing by unknowns). In my last post I talked about loving the openness, but by Sunday, I missed my home and *gasp* I even missed the traffic (not all of it, just seeing another car, just one without having to wait 5 miles). I’m glad I’m to a point where I’ve surrendered to Centreville being my home even if it includes traffic at all hours of the day. It’s taken me a while to get there, but I see especially now that this is where God needs me.
In the silence, I’ve found that God moved me to the new apartment (into a new lease) to keep me in Virginia. I know me, and yes, I’m my mother’s daughter. While she doesn’t run away when she moves, I have a tendency to do so. Taking this trip has shown me that without a doubt I would have picked up and left not just part of my life, all of my life (that’s what my job had become). I’ve learned that I need to face where God has me. And while yes, in a sense I’ve run away, I’ve realized I’m also running towards something (my mom taught me that).
Days 8-10 carried a constant theme. Each of my friends, each of my confidants, told me in their own way that I am doing the right thing, that I’m stronger because of it. It’s time to stop questioning. It’s time to run toward where God wants me, where He needs me.
Here’s where I’m about to get honest and real— If you’ve been keeping up with my blog, you know that leaving my position at CPC has been the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make. You may have been an older person and wonder why I became so attached. You may have been younger and rolled your eyes thinking I was being dramatic and ostentatious. But this is also why I say I’ve come back to nothing.
CPC was my life (believe it or not, that was not a good thing). I was at church more than I was with my family (and I thought I’d enforced strong boundaries). My closest friends were at church, the ones I worked with (and yes maybe that’s normal). My kids, I swear I could have given birth to them myself, all 100 of them (that’s love I swear only a mother knows). Sunday’s were my favorite days, because that’s when I felt my church family was all-together (even though I missed countless brunches with my real family). It got to the point that I trusted those people more than I did those in my own family. In the many months and then weeks leading up to my resignation, it changed.
It was a mother expecting my attendance at a meeting “We need you here. Are you sick or something?” And then an explanation was needed for grace? That’s not how this works! It was tearful mornings, everymorning a fight with myself, fearing that I wasn’t going to live up to what was expected of me (even knowingthat I probably wasn’t). It was a broken heart for my kids that no longer want to be there and knowing no way to change it. It was conflict behind the scenes. And on Sundays, it was a blank presence that appeared as worship when really it was a lifeless obligation to be in a building with “people.” Leaving CPC has brought about more hurt and confusion than I was ever expecting. But that’s where God needed me.
Some of the most hurtful words, yet most necessary were these “You need to step away. You need to be fed, not feed.” I asked for these words as I discussed the reasons for my resignation. Still, they hurt, and still I needed to hear them.
As I’ve stepped away, I’ve realized how detrimental my attitude in the church could have become. At the same time, my heart still breaks—and so again I say, this is where God needed me. I can’t compare these feelings to anything else except maybe a divorce. I’ve chosen to be separated from my “family”, I’ve chosen to walk away from a job that blessed me with eight extra parents that I love so dearly and already miss, (and I wonder, will they still be my “parents” as I deal with this brokenness?) The kids, I loved them enough to walk away while I was ahead…even if my heart is still breaking. Adoption, I have so much respect for you. The tears haven’t stopped. And the conflict…I’m still not ready to talk about that. But I’m sure that it’s what brought all of this about—there was no unity. I no longer felt united.
I see status’ on facebook from my church, from what used to be my ministry, and I feel apart. Separated. Like it’s wrong for me to see these things. It’s like I want to know, but as though it breaks me more to know.
I had to be bigger. I had to step up. I had to be bold. So I had to go away. God had to break me to see what was becoming, I hate that, but I accept it too. I can’t replay days 8-10 for you for many reasons. Mostly because I was driving through Kansas and want to entirely block that out of my mind forever.
But these words were given to me on my last day from the most amazing man I know (aside from my brothers and father), Andrew, “Nicole, you need to find something that gives you a reason to get out of bed in the morning. And YOU WILL.” I truly feel that God was speaking through him saying, “If CPC wasn’t giving me that, it was the last place I needed to be.” Let me make it clear, so clear, that I still LOVE CPC with all my heart, and that I left on great terms. What I’ve written are my feelings, mine.
I miss my church home, and I really long for the day that I will be back with those initial feelings that I felt the first day I walked into the building. I long for the time when I will return to worship, to really worship in my heart. I long for the surrounding of my church family during this transition. And most of all, I long for accepting that that is still what CPC is to me. This church is changing lives (it changed mine and I know that someday it will continue to do so). But this is where God needs me.
I’ve always loved independence. I love getting up and taking a road trip. I love leaving my home with my dog to wherever I feel like going (even though Sasha didn’t come with me). I love answering to no one except God. And I love that God has given me this gift to walk away from my “life”. I love that this is Him, “making all things new.” And that at the end of it, I (the independent me), will be found in Him.
I found this beautiful saying on Pinterest by someone named Kristin Martz:
WE LOSE OURSELVES IN THE THINGS WE LOVE, WE FIND OURSELVES THERE TOO.
Being away, feeling lost, has helped my heart; it’s settled it. In one way, it was breaking, but in another my heart was overflowing, and today, despite the weariness and sass, it’s smiling with passion. This trip has helped me find more love, more fondness, more desire, and definitely more clarity that this is where God not only needs me, but wants me. I know God sees and knows my heart. I know He speaks to it, and I KNOW He has it ready… He showing me love like I’ve never known before. Right here with YOU is right where I belong.