Oceans of Emptiness

I find myself in a strange nether world between what was and whatever is to be.

Divorced from former church relationships that were dear to me,
and lacking the heart to invest in new relationships.

Disillusioned with church as we’ve known it,
yet doubtful that church will ever be anything more for me than a conversation at my computer.

“I think that’s the source of my discomfort. I’ve outgrown the old to the point that it’s become unwearable, but the new is not yet woven, and I’m getting cold standing around waiting.”
Justin Baeder

My heart is laid bare, my motives, desires, and dreams conflicting and exposed.

Brokenness is what I desired, such a noble prayer.
When will it end?

“But I think we have to choose a courageous path: one in which we are not afraid to let the land lie fallow and allow the old things to die out, while we wait for God to renew the land and ourselves in the process.”
Jimmy Shaw

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15 thoughts on “Oceans of Emptiness

  1. Wow, that was amazing. I feel what you are saying. I’m in a similar spot…although still in my church and seeking to BE what I criticize her for not being. I’m ready for the “new”…thanks so much for this post…beautiful.

  2. Beautifully put, Grace. Simply beautiful. And revealing. I know well the heart that drives this searching and lights the way in this wilderness. I pray that it is God’s heart within me, a pillar of fire in this darkened nether world.

    Thanks for sharing it with us.

  3. Grace,

    I was checking my e-mail last night and a friend from charlotte sent me your site, said I might find comfort there.

    I have read over many of your blogs and wow – I don’t even know where to begin. I just want to cry. So overwhelmed, so empty, just searching for what it is we are all longing for so deeply.

    I would love to e-mail you sometime and chat. Check out my site and there is an e-mail link there. Hope to talk to you soon.
    Sense Light

  4. “Disillusioned with church as we’ve known it,
    yet doubtful that the emerging church will ever be anything more for me than a conversation at my computer.”

    My sentiment exactly.

    Or as a pastor friend put it, “Changing the furniture isn’t going to help”.

    We need the Power and Presence of Jesus.

    Pam

  5. Frn’klin, thanks for the reminder that there is much BEing that can be done in the waiting.

    Thanks Jimmy. I’m looking forward to reading more at your sight. Your words have really spoken to me.

    senselight, it’s nice to meet you. I’ll get an e-mail to you soon.

    Pam, I’m so happy for others who are finding ways to express what is in their heart. I struggle with impatience, but I suppose I can trust that if God brought me to this place, He will place me where I belong. And yes, that place must include His presence.

  6. For what it’s worth, about a year and a half ago, I was sitting at my computer in Winnipeg, wondering the very same thing.

    Just a few weeks ago, I stopped in Winnipeg for a week’s visit on the way from Toronto to Kelowna to start the next chapter in our lives.

    While in Winnipeg, I had a theology pub night (the very first one) with ten other emerging-type people, many of whom I was meeting for the very first time. Others, like Brother Maynard, I’d known for years, but Maynard is also fairly new to the detoxing journey. Suddenly, there was a group of emerging people meeting face-to-face and developing deeper friendships.

    I was only able to be there for the inaugural theology pub (they’re already planning more), but it was humbling and encouraging to realize that God was bringing people together where I had once wondered if I was the only one.

    If that sounds a bit like Elijah in the wilderness, well, maybe it’s because there’s nothing new under the sun, after all!

    Hang in there. You may be one of the first in your area, but you’re not alone, and in time God will bring others around you to walk this journey in the “real world” and not just in the digital. (Although I’m glad to have met you, even just digitally.)

  7. Robby,
    Thanks, you have been a great friend to me on this journey.

    I am so grateful to have found the digital conversation. It has been wonderful learning that I’m not the only one.

    It amazes me that I can often look back into others’ archives and find they experienced the same tension during this awkward stage.

    Yes, sometimes I lament that I’m “the only one,” but a few clicks later, I discover, like you said, that there is nothing new under the sun.

    I’ll let you know when we have our first middle-of-nowhere theology pub. :)

  8. Cindy,
    I did quite a bit of reading at your site. It seems that in many ways we are at a similar place on this journey.

    I pray that you and your husband will know the specific path that the Lord has for you.

  9. Thanks, Grace. I’ll be praying for you, too. Sometimes the most frightening thought is, what if God’s plan is to not change anything?

    We do sense something of a calling in that we’re filling a clear need in the church where we are. Today someone went out of his way to affirm what we do- and our willingness to do it. Boy- did I appreciate it! This man actually does that pretty regularly. In spite of my whining and carrying on, there are bits of encouragement that trickle through. Yet, there is this gaping hole in my spirit that I know shouldn’t be there. I’ve cut way back on my time expenditure in/for church, which really needed to happen. But, I thought once that happend my spirit would bounce back. It didn’t.

    I don’t want to hurt my church. They are kind, loving, and dedicated people for the most part. But after 8 years, I’m still saying “they” and that doesn’t seem good, does it?

  10. Cindy,
    Your comments have made me think. My expectations for church have changed a lot since when we were in leadership.

    If it were possible for us to go back, I would simply enjoy the relationships there.

    Realistically, that might not work very well. I just know that I was overinvolved with churchy stuff. Now I am learning to see what God is doing around me outside of the church.

    We’ve been attending another church for a year now, and I still have a tendency to refer to the people as “them.” I have said it feels like dating someone that you know you aren’t going to marry.

    We have a few friends who understand our hearts and where we’re at on this journey. I don’t know yet if we’ll ever have more than that.

    I guess it’s just one step at a time.

  11. Cindy,
    When we were there, I felt it was really important for everyone to be excited about the vision of the leadership and to be involved in the programs.

    Now I feel like the most important things we do are the things we do the rest of the week in our everyday lives. The things that happen in church should be to encourage and support us in that, not to pull us away from it.

    I am no longer looking at the church as my place of service, but rather simply as a place of support and fellowship.

    I’m not saying service, like your worship ministry in the church isn’t important. What I am saying is that for ME, it was important to learn to see mission outside of the church organization.

    Hope that helps, and I just want to be clear that this is what God is doing in my heart, and I’m not trying to apply it to your situation.

  12. Thanks, Grace. Your comments didn’t sound preachy or judgmental at all. I’ve been slammed enough to know the difference!
    It does help to hear where you’ve come down. I’m sure that my expectations of church need to change somehow, too; that’s why I asked.

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