Four years ago, in August, we packed everything we owned into a moving truck, hugged our friends, and drove 700 miles east to chase a dream. We took with us a renewed sense of strength and purpose after the acres of hell we had already fought just a few short years prior to keep our family together.
Looking ahead, we were restored, hand in hand, breathing slower and sharing hope again. After a year of praying every morning: “Lord, make our hearts content right where we are or show us the way you have for us”, the dream had begun to take shape on the other side of redemption. He opened wide the path to Nashville and our mamas cried as we pulled away from the towns that raised us towards a new home.
There is a certain level of naivety when you say “yes” to something new and stretching.
I often wonder if I would do it again knowing what I know now. The disappointments, missing my home, the rejection, the pressure, the starting over and trying to carve out a place just to be seen. While raising a child, we have trudged this unconventional path in Nashville of music and ministry leadership with a spirit of grit. We dumped “normal” a long time ago. I know because I have been looking around for someone who is doing it like us and I find myself reaching. It has been so hard and so rewarding. There have been so many days where I have begged God and Chris to take me back home to what I know and who I know. There have been moments of growth through highs, as well as heartaches birthed from the places of total discomfort.
I told myself, “Keep it all together, Rebekah. You are strong. Don’t be weak.” Secretly, I have asked myself daily, “What if I can’t do it, though?” This was the scariest question because it meant I would have to need someone else. I didn’t want to feel the raw, wide-open fear awaiting in the place of needing anyone because that means I might taste failure.
The reward in the pressing is that I have grown weary enough to be brave and bold because I am tired of worrying about the burden of what people will think.
January of this year came and we could feel change coming close behind it. The exact words were, “It’s time.” The way we have been doing this life is not sustainable for much longer, as we’ve grasped to find our joy, wanting more for each other than the exhausted, worn-down versions of ourselves. With a trembling voice and tears we asked, “Time for what, Lord? Show us clearly the areas to change.” Not an easy question when the answer could demolish everything we have built here.
We got on our knees, we cried, went to counseling, connected our hearts, and waited.
We saw it as clear as a neon sign, “Stay. Dig in. Keep Building a Life. It isn’t time to turn back now.” So a new prayer welled up inside of us: “If this is our life and home for good, how do we sustain it?”
I am beginning to realize slowly, that we can only see the tiny glimmer of new dreams by letting go of the old ones. That doesn’t mean we aren’t capable, it just means the Lord is making room for something new.
So that is what I keep hearing Him say, “I will replace the old with the new.”
It is time for me to let go of my white-knuckled grip of finding my identity and purpose as a pastor and leader in ministry who has a title, a team and a platform. It is time for me to redefine my role in our family. I am stepping away from my full-time job at Cross Point Church, not for another job or title, but instead for my family.
This, for me, is one of the hardest decisions that I have ever made. I love my ministry and my team, but I need to love my family more. Gracie is 8 and in 8 years she will have car keys. I don’t want her memories of me in this season to be a stressed, exhausted, over-worked person who finds my identity in my performance. My work is righteous and good, which is why it is hard for me to leave. There are thousands of families who depend on me, but there is only girl one who calls me “Mama.”
It’s time for me to be just that—her mama. Words that I have never been brave enough to utter. As I type these words, I am not excited. I am scared out of my mind, y’all.
I have always worked and provided. I have always done it all holding it all up, but the one thing I have never done is trusted someone else to fully take care of me. I have always had a safety net to avoid being disappointed again.
Nashville is home now.
The dreams long buried are finding their way back up to the surface. I am relearning my true identity and letting go of even more control.
I want to be able to be present. I want to be a mom in the carline. While Gracie is at school, I want to spend my days writing our story that will one day be published. I want to believe that our family will grow and a new baby will enter our lives in God’s timing. I want to pursue wellness and health and longevity in these things. I want to stand in the crowd and be Chris’ wife. All these things are new to me, as I have been accustomed to mostly living in survival mode with my focus only on reacting and jumping to the height that the ministry leadership bar had been set. Now, I want to define my own bar.
Just as I sat on a day in August, here I sit with my hands and heart fully open, simply saying, “yes” to something. Something I once thought impossible, not even fully knowing what it will look like when I get there. All I know know is that I am filled with equal parts gratitude and trembling, sitting still in the bull’s eye of faith.
So here goes nothing, or something, or everything. It’s time.