Welcome back friends! Thank you so much for joining me for the final week in this series. (Cue the sad tears.)

If this is your first time on the blog, let me catch you up! In this series, I've been talking about how disappointments can actually be a gift and an opportunity. In Week one and Week two we focused on releasing and learning in your disappointment.

This week I'm so excited to talk about how letdowns give you the opportunity to discover new possibilities.

Embrace the Opportunity to Discover

Some of you may or may not know the journey I've been on over the last few years, but to say the LEAST, it's been a doozy!

My husband and I had been in ministry together at the same church for almost two decades (20 years for him, and 14 for me). At the end of that stretch, we both began to feel restless. We knew that there was more to do for us, but it was not going to happen in our hometown.

We decided to take a HUGE leap. We moved across the country from Illinois to California. Between a series of dreams, & conversations about what "could be," we saw an opportunity to follow God into the next season of our calling.

Flash forward to a year and a half later. I sit here writing to you (with a new humility) that the that plan we came here with is NOT what transpired. We think we can plan exactly how life will go, but often God has other ideas.

Sometimes, God has to do drastic things to make us uncomfortable enough to switch directions.

To make a long story short, in the end, the church we came out to be a part of made some unexpected large scale changes and once more, we found ourselves at a crossroads where we had to decide if the dreams God had placed in us could happen there. The comfortable thing to do would be to keep our jobs, do more of the same, and keep the security of things like salary and insurance. But something about the discomfort of staying put was worse than the discomfort of taking a risk.

We had only been here for a short time, but, it was still a difficult decision. I fell in love with the people at our church. I loved all the ways we connected with our community. I got to build a women's ministry from the ground up. We even moved friends out here to join us... leaving it all would be so painful. And can I just admit? Embarrassing. Yes, it's embarrassing to take a risk, post it all over social media, and then a short time later see that it didn't turn out the way you thought it would.

At this point in our lives, we are 34 & (almost) 39. We have two kids ages 10 & 12 and uprooting them again seems almost cruel. So, it was time to pray. What would you have us do, Lord?! We decided it was time to stop looking backwards and start looking forward. We needed to get LEAN about the vision for our lives. Basically, we needed to cut off the "fat" (opportunities that don't ultimately fit the vision) and make a decision.

Don't focus on all the roads you CAN take, focus on the ones that take you where you WANT to go.

The more we prayed, we felt God tell us there were a few keys that needed to determine our path.

  1. We were meant to do ministry together. (Who)
  2. We feel the urgency to lead. (What)
  3. Orange County is our home. (Where)

There were a lot of options out there, but in the end we knew we were meant for. There was really only one choice that made sense. There were no positions available here for what we wanted to do, but we knew here was where we wanted to stay. With major nerves and excitement we knew it was time to take a giant risk... we decided to start a church of our own right here in the OC!

Take a close look at what WAS, what IS, and see if they point towards a direction of what COULD BE.

As we were praying through what our decision should be, God asked me to take a close look at what was, what is, and if they pointed to a direction of what could be. And it absolutely did! I am a firm believer that every season you go through prepares you for the next.

As I assessed what we had accomplished/been through in our past, and what was in front of us today, it made perfect sense.

Sometimes God gives you tendencies, preferences, and talents that don't make sense until the day they are called into action.

The more we step into this process, I am becoming grateful and thankful for all the oddities, the weird skills, the experience in strange areas, and yes even the PAIN we've endured that has cultivated the skills we needed to plant a church.

EMBRACE detours as your sign that it was time for you to try something new.

Sometimes a detour is as simple as you finding out what your NOT good at. Other times, they point out the urgency to pursue what you ARE meant for. I'm so grateful to God for these detours because had they not happened, we would never have taken this risk or adventure. The comfort would have kept us still, bored, and ultimately unable to fulfill our dream.

Perhaps you find yourself at the same place today... at the place detour, and it's hard to see through the pain and confusion. But I promise you today, there is hope and possibility beyond that closed door.

Take a look at what was, what is, and would you could be. Get LEAN about your vision. Take the roads that lead you to where you WANT to be. Don't settle for anything less.

I'm praying for you today to EMBRACE the opportunity to discover your purpose and passions and set aside ill-fitting roles. I pray you'll experience the freedom to live as fully as possible in your own skin...it's worth it, I promise!

XOXO,

Natalie