Goodbye, Glory Baby, Goodbye

Today I’m linking up with Lisa-Jo Baker’s Five Minute Friday, a community I love where we write from our hearts for five minutes on one word.  Today’s link up is a little poem about our church plant and a major transition my husband and I are going through. We’ve decided that planting a church in the urban core is very hard unless we live in the community and right now we live in Cambridge, a city across the river and a solid twenty minutes from our target area.  We are praying for God to open up a good housing option in the city, but since we have a really unique set-up here in Cambridge it’s very hard to move unless we totally sense God opening a door.  So far he has not, so for now, we’re putting our plant on a pause.  It’s been a hard few months of processing this decision; one friend likened it to the death of a baby.  She had no idea how right she was.  For three years, our church plant was like a baby to me.  And while I don’t mean to undermine or belittle the very real pain the loss of an actual child can be, part of my mama’s heart is grieving over New City.  So today, when I saw the words, “hands” I was reminded of all the moments hands were meaningful in the life our plant and I want to share them with you.  The term, “Glory Baby” comes from a song by Nathan and Christy Nockels, once known as Watermark.  They wrote this song and coined this term after suffering a miscarriage.  This song was my go-to when encouraging friends in grief, but recently it’s been an encouragement to me.  I hope my poem is encouraging to you if you’re processing the loss of a dream or a hope deferred.

Goodbye, Glory Baby, Goodbye

googbyeglorybaby

Goodbye, Glory Baby, Goodbye

Go:

When I first dreamed of you, I was wringing my hands, “could this be? Are we dreaming with God?” I asked. As our babies slept in the backseat, we wondered what you’d look like; black hands joined with white, blonde heads bowed next to natural curls wrapped up in printed scarfs, Spanish worship mixed in with Gospel. You would be diverse, Glory baby. So very diverse.

Goodbye, Glory Baby, Goodbye.

When we said, “yes, this can be and yes we’re dreaming with God”, we shook some hands. Hands of friends wishing us well, hands of pastors who prayed blessings over us, hands of mentors who helped us strategize, hands of strangers who thought us the strange ones and asked, “Are you sure?” with every good intention and thoughtfulness in their heart. Their words made us question our sanity, but you were so beautiful, Glory Baby. So very beautiful.

Goodbye, Glory Baby, Goodbye.

When we started to share our lives with ten brave souls, knitting together your DNA through spreadsheets and pot-lucks, we joined hands and prayed the Lord’s Prayer. We passed the crusty loaf and said, “This is Christ’s body, broken for you”. We passed the plastic glass that just happened to be in the art center’s kitchen and dipped our piece of Christ’s body into the musky, sour wine—Christ blood shed for us—shed both for our healing and for the community we wanted to serve. Take and eat. You were so special, Glory Baby. So very special.

Goodbye, Glory Baby, Goodbye.

The night we decided to go our separate ways, still so much in love with each other and so much in love with you, but aware that you’re not quite ready for this world, I threw up my hands in frustration. I rushed out into the cold, rainy night with tears rushing from my eyes. It didn’t matter that I didn’t have a coat. No, not at all baby. The anger churning in my gut burned within me, warming my prejudices and stoking the fires of my bitterness.   I prayed broken and raw that night. Pacing and gesturing so vividly someone asked, “Are you ok”. “I’m fine!” I snapped back and they rushed away from my venomous whisper. A lie, Glory Baby. A bold-faced lie. What happened, dear? You were growing, but you stopped. You cocooned back into the dream space of my mind where the Spirit hovers. I think I know what happened. Like the caterpillar, who when she reaches her weight cannot bear the pressure of life without her wings, she makes a cocoon, is reduced to goo, then comes back, transformed and new. A butterfly. She needs more time to become even more beautiful—like you— but I needed you now, Glory Baby. So very much.

Goodbye, Glory Baby, Goodbye.

When I resolved to give you to God. To put you in His sovereign hands. To acknowledge that you should have been there all long, my hands were gripping a steering wheel. Like a father showing his daughter her first snow globe, I saw that through this whole process, God was inviting me to, “come and see, Daughter!  Look how life transforms when I shake it up and let my shalom fall soft and refreshing on the earth!” I thought the scene inside the globe was you, Glory Baby. Diverse, Beautiful, Special, Needed. But now I know I’m the one inside globe and God just wants his shalom to fall soft on my shoulders, cooling the fires of my distrust and breaking down my barriers with an avalanche of love. So maybe I need you to go away for a while, Glory Baby. Go cocoon and let the Spirit whisper hope over you. Go away  so that when God invites me back to “come and see”, I’ll see more than the baby of my dreams— all diverse worship and beautiful liturgy and special programs and needed vision—I’ll see you for who are and should always be—God’s Glory Baby. Not my glory baby. His and for His glory alone.

And on that day, I’ll cup you gingerly in my hands, the very ones I raised in surrender to God’s timing and I’ll whisper, “Hello, Glory Baby, Hello. You are God’s and I am His, therefore we are both Glory Babies. So let’s be diverse and beautiful and special and needed in His name and for his Kingdom. Let’s let justice roll down on our community and Shalom to fall fresh, cold, refreshing and pure on both of us.”

 Go back into your cocoon; I’ll pray over you while you’re there and one day you’ll come out and together we’ll fly. Because I’m being broken into goo too, cocooning with the Lord as well, listening to his whispers also—making ready for my wings.

But for now—Goodbye, Glory Baby. Goodbye.

 Stop

Come and  join us today with your best five minutes on, “hands”.

And here’s that gorgeous song by Watermark.

Letting His Shalom fall fresh on me,

signature

 

photo credit: http://distantpassion.tumblr.com/post/59136980994/dreams-alive

 

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9 thoughts on “Goodbye, Glory Baby, Goodbye

  1. Never as a pastor, but as a layperson helping start the Sunday School of a church plant, I know the sacrifice it takes to plant a new church. I haven’t heard the song, but I will listen to it later…today has brought memories of the loss of my own daughter 5 years ago when she was 32. Your words are beautiful, especially “And on that day, I’ll cup you gingerly in my hands, the very ones I raised in surrender to God’s timing and I’ll whisper, “Hello, Glory Baby, Hello. You are God’s and I am His, therefore we are both Glory Babies.” Praying God will comfort you and lead you to where He has a spot for your God-sized Dream.

  2. Osheta – I grieve for you. I know what it’s like to plant a church and see it become a vision still yet to come to pass… and I know what it’s like to plant a church that runs and lives and grows wings. Both are part of the same process… and God, the Builder, understands it so much more than I… or you.

    Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it will not bear fruit, BUT if it is willing to die, some amazing transformation takes place and suddenly in the place of that one dead seed, is 30 like it, or 60… or even a hundred!

    I know from real experience that you can’t give your Glory Baby back to God without Him making it worth it. He hates to have to pry your white knuckled fingers from the grip on your baby, but He loves it when we look into His face, hold our hands up unclenched and say ‘it’s all yours God’. We never never never end up with loss because of that, no matter how it feels at the time. To live is Christ and for your vision to die in Christ is gain… and God will bless you more than you can ever know, when He calls you to bring your net back to the water’s edge and go again.

    #asisterwhoknows

    • Bev, you’ve been such an encouragement from the first time I shared online my sorrow about our plant. I’m learning to trust in the power of resurrection when I let my dreams die. I so glad I have your experienced and wise voice to guide me and keep me focused on Jesus.

      • Ahhhh… thanks mate! I know you will go again… and you will see that all this love and faith and blood, sweat and tears that you put into this Glory Baby, will reap a rich harvest in the next! xxx

  3. Beautiful writing. And I can relate a little to losing a ‘ministry baby’ and the sadness and confusion that comes from that. Praying for peace, and for God to open the right doors in his timing. Praying blessing on your whole family. Xx

  4. This is a whole new world to me. I have no experience of church planting or leading worship or being in ministry. It’s amazing to me that you have been involved in such things and I’m sure that the faith and passion you express here will be, indeed are being, used for Kingdom work somehow.

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