Dec9ThuDecember 9, 2021
As I reflect on the holiday season, I’m curious what Mary must have felt as she received the promise of the coming King. She was chosen to give birth to the Messiah! Mary was just minding her own business when all the sudden everything changed. Yet she waited expectantly as baby Jesus grew within her womb. Pregnancy is a season of growth and preparation. Mary had a lot to overcome and prepare for. A virgin and unwed, her obstacles were numerous. Yet she had a promise “The angel told her, “Don’t be afraid, Mary. You have found favor with God. You will become pregnant, and give birth to a son, and name him Jesus.” (Luke 1: 30-31) Mary was afraid. She had questions. Yet she responded in faith and surrender “Mary answered, “I am the Lord’s servant. Let everything you’ve said happen to me.” (Luke 1: 38)
Mary entered the next season of her life knowing she needed to prepare. She prepared herself and her household. She rested and cared for her health. She knew a baby was coming and this baby was the coming Messiah. But all the other details were left out. She didn’t know where she would give birth or what his life would look like. Instead, she clung to the simple promise given to her by an angel. She trusted God with the rest, surrendering her life.
I want to thank each and everyone of you for your continued support through this season of discernment and transition. I'll admit it’s been tough. I sit here feeling a lot like Mary in unique ways. I too have been given the promise of Jesus. He lives in my heart and transforms my life daily! Yet I am awaiting and preparing for more. Together. A life where Jesus breathes his reconciling love into our community and transforms it into his Kingdom. Fearful and unknowing of all the details, I have decided to focus on faith and surrender. I can totally understand Mary in many senses. She must have been so concerned about what other people would think. A virgin, unwed. What will everyone say? For myself it’s been the humbling experience of not having answers or specific directions. Of watching a ministry in a strip club change completely. What will everyone say? Will people still walk alongside and support what God births from this space? Yet Mary knew. She knew God had a plan. That God walked before her and was making a way. She followed in faith, walking past all her fears. And this encourages and guides me.
It's okay to not have answers or directions. It's okay to feel fearful and inadequate. It's okay to worry who will join you on the journey. Because God walks before, and He makes a way. After all it's not my plans but Gods.
The Manor Ministries was an incredible space that facilitated relationships in which many people felt loved and seen. Including myself. This is the space in which so much grew within me. Passion for those who feel unlovable and a desire to reach those who society has rejected. A hunger for those lost in shame and a desire to show that God meets them in that palace with forgiveness, love, and grace. Christ compels me to move forward. Yet Christ compels me to also take a step back in love. It’s the love of God that is the guiding force, not our passions, desires, or dreams. Only Jesus saves!
Jesus, in the face of the brokenness and desperation of humanity, was in constant connection with his Father. During her very short period of ministry time, he decided over and over again to be alone with God, we are faced with the desperation and brokenness of humanity. We have a very short time on earth. Yet, we too are called to spend much of that time alone with God. Our identities are not in what we do but who we are - children of God. God doesn’t love us because of what we do but who we are – his children.
During this time of surrender and discernment, the Together team felt the Lord was closing our season at the Manor and guiding us into a new season. We felt that in order to discern this new season we needed to take more time as individuals and as a team to prayerfully discern this with our ministry partners. We needed to take time to seek the Lord.
That leads to where we are today. Feeling a lot like Mary, a growing womb and surrendering in faith. Preparing ourselves for what’s to come, through connection to God and others. We are excitedly expectant! And we trust in God’s faithfulness.
For those partnering in this season I want to extend a huge thank you. I am shocked that so many people are willing to support this journey of discernment. This season has felt like the complete breaking of me. I am a doer and a perfectionist. I have been completely humbled! Every part of me has been shattered. Yet every part has also been redefined and realigned. A beautiful mosaic of surrender. I don’t want to be a mirror. A mirror shows one image. Mine. A mosaic shows multiple images. Hundreds if not thousands of faces interwoven into a beautiful masterpiece. It’s a reflection of the body of Christ. Formed together by the hands of Jesus, through his love for us. It's not our work, but His. And this season is one to discover the amazing mosaic he is creating, and have our faces be imprinted in it. You are a wonderful piece of this mosaic through partnering with us, and we are grateful. I also want to say a huge thankyou to the New Ventures program through The Alliance Canada for their continual guidance and support. You can find additional information here: https://www.newventurescanada.com/jenny
My prayer for you this holiday season is that you may discover, like myself and Mary, the peace of God in the unknown. That being a child of God is enough. You are more than the sum of your actions. You are enough! I pray that you discover the beauty of being a mosaic. Of being in community with family and friends, even if that means restrictions due to Covid. God is much bigger than this pandemic and the body of Christ will continue! That as we close the chapter of this year, we move forward into another year full of promise, through faith and surrender.