When I first started blogging LONG AGO, I started a blog called Faith Abounding. I have since shut down that blog because as I've grown in the social media sphere, it had some really ridiculous things on it that the internet doesn't need to know. I didn't understand blogging. I used it as a diary, which is funny. I mean I guess I basically do the same now right? ;) haha!
Last year in March, I wrote THIS blog, and it's SO ironic because when I went to google today, I was like "I wonder if my old blog is still around" so I typed in 'Katie Ringley Faith Abounding' and my blog post came up and not my old blog. I didn't even remember writing this post one year ago. So, I figured I had to call this PART 2! :)
So much changes in one year, and I look at that blog and smile. My husband and I went through such a transformative year in our faith while we lived in New York City. None of the things have changed that I mentioned in that blog about how it was a secular city so if you believed then you REALLY believed, and those that were in our small community group became our family. Thank goodness we still keep in touch with our best friends from there or I would be so sad. We moved back to North Carolina in May, and we wondered what faith would look like. It's hard to believe that we have been back for 8 months now. That blows my mind. When we moved back, we just KNEW we would never find a church like ours in NYC. It was just different.
"Oh ye of little faith" said Jesus ;)
I realize now that the problem wasn't the communities that we were finding in different locations that we moved, but rather it was US. It was our hearts and our lack of truly joining in the body. The church that we decided to go to in Shelby is called Broad River Community Church and I know I've bragged on it before, but truly, the people at this church ... I just can't even explain. The heart for God is so strong, and not just like passionately hollering amen during worship songs...it's so much deeper than that. It's not an emotional experience. It's teaching the body THEOLOGY and not just feel good stuff. It's digging through the hard topics even when it turns people away. It's giving of time with NO money (all staff is volunteer). It's truly living out the gospel with the catch phrase "We are less without you" meaning that they want the church to be a community and a family, and that is what it has become.
When we came back to Shelby, I like to say that we swan dove into community. They were probably like "Who is this crazy girl?" but I just inserted myself into everything. I showed up. That doesn't mean that I knew people, but I got to know them. I am not some crazy outgoing person.... okay...maybe a little. But like not THAT much. I don't just like cold turkey start up meaningful conversations without effort. It takes EFFORT, but it's so worth it. Giving of myself and my time and being in community with believers has changed my life for the better, which leads me into the next phase of my life which is going to be ministry.
I've been talking about this a lot lately but haven't disclosed completely what it's about, but last night we had dinner with the area directors and Tanner and I are going to become Young Life leaders in Shelby. If you aren't familiar with the ministry, it is to have meaningful relationships with high school kids, bringing them to Christ. It's more of a "hip and cool" way of getting kids to be interested, and then slowly over time as they begin to trust you, you have deeper conversations. This takes TIME. This takes genuinely being invested in their lives, and it's terrifying and overwhelming but also really exciting. Time is my most precious commodity and I just felt the Lord saying over and over again to trust Him. Last night as we were praying before bed, I just prayed that if this was not the Lord's will and just our fancy idea of how we thought we could be better, then to just remove it from our lives STAT before we even begin. I want to follow what I feel to be the will of Christ in my life, and for us, that's what this looks like right now.
One thing that this means is guardrails on my job, which honestly I need. I am not a workaholic but I do work too much. I'm taking on less clients, putting back up a waiting list because life is not meant to be spent hustling. It's meant to be spent serving. What better things could I be doing with my time then kingdom work ya know? My clients will not suffer. I just won't take on new ones unless fully capable. Tanner supports this decision fully from a financial and sanity perspective. He always has to be honest...it's me. I know that I always say "I'm cutting back" and then I don't. But, this time it's forreal because I will have no choice. If I'm going to do something and decide that it's something I feel led to do then my heart is going to be all in.