'“Don’t be afraid,” David said to him [Mephibosheth], “for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan. I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat at my table. ”' (2 Samuel 9:7)
So...this post has been in the making for a while, and the main idea is: we are officially church-less. We had a celebration service for our pastor and his wife on Sunday, May 20th and we had our last meeting with the remaining families this past Friday. We still have a little bit of closing stuff to do, but other than that, it's over. It's bittersweet. It's hard. It's not something I ever expected to go through, and yet I'm not surprised. It's surreal. And it's a lot to process. We loved our church and poured so much of our lives, our resources, our passions and our hopes into Safe Harbor. We find ourselves in a brand new place, which is not rare, considering the last couple years, but is still so strange. Can we be done with new places for a while, Lord? Oy.
Needless to say, we're trying to find a new church home. I feel weird even typing that! We know so many people who have had multiple church homes for many different reasons, and yet, none of those reasons apply to our situation, so we find ourselves in limbo. That's not all bad - we can actually take a little bit of a break - but we are in the midst of re-learning everything. We're in the midst of tearing down the life we've built because the foundation is faulty. We have been so focused on "ministry", and on what more we could do for Jesus that we've completely neglected who we are in Jesus. This includes who we are in our marriage, as parents, as church members, as leaders, etc. We've built up this facade, all with the best intentions possible, only to see it as a hollow shell of what it once was. I believe our hearts were right, but that started to not matter at some point, and now we feel a bit lost. The map we were following has disappeared, and we're left disillusioned. We're making our way through the ebb and flow of bitterness and resentment, anger and frustration, sadness and confusion. Notice I said "making our way through"...as much as I want to sit and wallow in this at times, my ever-faithful husband is trying his best not to let us, for which I'm extremely thankful. We have our moments (or hours, or days...), but they don't last. We know beyond anything else that God is good and He has a plan, even if we can't understand what the heck is going on right now.
That's where Mephibosheth comes in. Mep (as we'll call him from here on out because I don't want to type his name out every time) was Johnathan's son, King Saul's grandson. He had crippled feet, according to 2 Samuel 4 (and other places), which I'm sure caused him grief. However, he hadn't known grief until both Saul and Jonathan were killed. We know that his nurse fled with him when they heard that news, and in her haste, he became lame (2 Samuel 4:4). We don't hear anything else about Mep until 2 Samuel 9, when David, after being anointed as King, wants to show kindness to anyone left from Saul's household on Jonathan's behalf. Mep was living in the house of Machir, son of Ammiel in Lo-debar. That didn't mean anything to me until I did a bit of research (and could stand to do more). Lo-debar in the Hebrew literally means "no word", "no pasture" or "no communication". Can you imagine? Mep was the (former) king's grandson, and ended up in the land of nothing. He was crippled physically, essentially homeless, and emotionally scarred. Then, out of nowhere, the new King summons him to the palace, and not only honors him by bringing him into his home, but promises that he and his family will eat at the king's table for the rest of his life.
Paul (my husband) had received this word about eating at the king's table while he was recovering from brain surgery last year. He felt like God has told him that there's a time to work in His fields and a time to eat at His table, and although God Almighty was inviting us to eat and rest, we didn't really listen. Sure, we took a break (for about 2-3 weeks), but we continued to work, to labor. No one called us on it because we were doing what we had always done. We didn't challenge each other to do what we felt God was calling us to do because we were continually consumed with the idea of working for the Kingdom. We were too wrapped up in establishing community that we didn't take advantage of resting within community we had established. I don't think what we're going through now is solely a consequence of that time, but I do think these seasons are connected. Now, we have to listen and rest - we don't have another option that feels right.
So if you read this and you're the praying kind, please pray for us. We want to be led by God in this, even though it feels crazy. We want to find ourselves in the King's presence.