So on Friday I was talking on the phone with a friend, only a few years younger than myself, and she has made some decisions that break my heart. Involving her boyfriend. [I’m keeping it G rated, but you know what I mean.] I love her, nothing changes that. I’m just sad for her. So I spent some time on Saturday praying for her. And asking God how to help.
And as I prayed, I thought back to student ministry. Because honestly, the best way to help a 26 year old choose purity is to teach a 12 year old to choose purity, and why. And I felt my heart soften.
[This conversation with God was part of Him prepping me to give away my email address to a youth director in a city where I swore I wouldn’t do youth ministry. Just so you know.]
I went to a new church on Sunday morning. It’s the first plant church out of Midtown (the church I’ve been going to) – called Mercy Hill. It meets about a mile from my house. In fact, it is the plant for my neighborhood. And the more I learned about the plant church, the more my heart grew for it. And for my neighborhood. So I went.
All by myself. To a church of 50 people. Who are all friends. Yikes is right.
The whole idea of being settled here was never far from my mind that morning. Even as I teared up during church, completely due to nerves, I kept praying, “God, settle me. God, settle me.”
During the service, the pastor had the new youth guy stand up. Of course. Even though he is the overall Midtown youth guy, he and his wife go to Mercy Hill. So, men gathered around him and prayed for him as he begins this job as youth director. I thought, “Oh, that’s nice. The youth dude.”
A few minutes later, during the meet and greet time, guess which husband and wife team made a beeline for me?
Yep. You got it. Youth dude [better known as “Chad”] and wife head straight for me. After about 3 sentences of small talk, I knew what I wanted to say. I was given, in that instant, a chance to respond to God’s invitation to settle in Nashville.
“Do you need volunteers?”, I asked.
And that brother had his iPhone pulled out quicker than one would think humanly possible.
I don’t know if he will email me. I just know that I did my part. I said to myself and to him and to God, “I’m willing to settle in Nashville. I’m willing to invest here.”
For me personally, this is the deepest investment I can make, more than buying a house or getting a new driver’s license. Am I still scared? Yes. Because I don’t want to add names to my list of left behinds. But I am not in charge of my own future and I am not running my own timeline. I think part of the reason my life was successful in Marietta (you know what I mean) was because I lived like I was never leaving. I invested 100% with the understanding [laugh] that I was there to stay. I planted roots, then they got ripped up and shipped north.
So now it’s time to live in Nashville like I’m never leaving. Though that breaks my heart a lot to even think, and God may move me right on outta here in no time flat, I’m going to invest in the people, the students, that God puts in my path and I’m gonna act like I’m here to stay. I’ve been scuffing my shoes around this dirt long enough. Time to put down some roots and love some people.
This is what it looks like when I settle.