The first three months of 2012 brought us the end of a small fellowship of believers we had been leading and the end of what we thought was a close friendship. Those months were especially hard on me. If you want to get an idea of where I was during that time you can go back and read some of the posts from January to April. It was a dark time that I hope to never experience again.
In April, we began meeting with a group of believers on Sunday nights as part of a church plant. God showed his sense of humor by leading a guy who had no desire to go back to the institutional church to a church that is part of a denomination. As we quickly found out, this group is different. They met on Sunday nights for a meal, and then had a worship service, ending with communion. There were also groups that met during the week for a meal, a Bible study, or just hanging out together. We were welcomed and accepted from the beginning. The biggest draw for me was the mission of the church to benefit our city and to help each other learn to follow Jesus.
The defining moment came pretty quickly. You can read about it here. We had been looking for community, and had tried to create it. Those attempts had been a miserable failure. Now the Father had led us into a community of faith that already existed, and that was truly centered in Jesus Christ and the truth of the Gospel. As the months have gone by, we have grown to love these brothers and sisters and God has given us opportunities to minister to them, and be ministered to.
In May, our son Josh got married. His wife is a beautiful young woman, and is a blessing to us. We have grown to love her as one of the family. Josh was able to land a job at a local architecture firm, and we are rejoicing at God's blessing. As the year continued, there were a couple of dips in the road, but for the most part the journey has been pretty good. God has continued to teach us and bless us, and draw us closer to himself.
When this year began, I had an inkling that God was about to do something in my life. Little did I know what that would mean. I definitely would have done things differently had I been in charge, but then we wouldn't be where we are now. I have been learning that though the Father's mercy may look like something far different, I can trust his goodness and love. I am learning to trust my Abba's love, leaving things in his hands.
It's been an interesting year. There have been some tough times and there have been some good times. The good has definitely outweighed the bad. We are in a good place, and I'm looking forward to how the Father is going to work in me in 2013. To quote another piece of literature:
"The road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
and I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And wither then? I cannot say."