The past couple days, I have been reflecting on this past year, as my daughter will be turning 1 in March. Most days, it blows my mind that a year has gone by looking at this beautiful little girl and how much she has grown. How did a little baby that use to be so small that my husband was worried that he would break her to now holding her in a football hold with no problem. She is growing into her personality and it has been beautiful to watch.
Each day of her life, she has made baby steps -- to eating big girl foods, to crawling, to standing, to babbling, to clapping -- baby steps. I feel like in any part of life, in any season, in any change, we are still continuing to take baby steps. Maybe, you took baby steps in getting healthy by going to the gym or eating healthy food. Maybe, you took baby steps financially by putting a part of your paycheck into savings or paying off debt that accrued. Maybe, your baby steps were of a spiritual nature by starting to read your bible everyday or going to church for the first time in a while. Whatever your baby step in life may be -- they are all important and foundational.
Last month, I wrote about how we are focusing on building this year with our 2020 vision -- but in order to build and keep building there will be a lot of baby steps along the way (and maybe a large leep or two); and that is okay. We have a God that wants for us to follow him -- even if it takes us a few baby steps to get us to running full speed after him. How are you taking baby steps to grow closer to him? My daughter is not walking yet but soon enough she will get there.
I have heard stories from people who say that once they start walking -- get ready, your world will change forever. How fitting! Once we start taking those small baby steps and learn to walk with the Lord -- our world is changed forever. After the baby steps, we can find ourselves on full run with God -- not saying that we won’t stumble a few times here and there; which we will. However, that is where our loving God picks us up, dusts us off, and walks alongside us. Scripture often paints a beautiful picture of this in which David talks about in the Psalms, “When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your unfailing love, Lord, supported me,” Psalm 94:18.
We have a God that sees our baby steps. He encourages us. He supports us. He is with us! We shall not fear taking a step forward for He is our guide. So, what steps are you taking? Where is God leading you to grow? Is it financially, spiritually, physically, emotionally? As a husband, wife, daughter, son, sister, brother? How can you be intentional with planning those baby steps? Maybe, that is the first step of it all -- planning the step you will take. I challenge you to take a look and plan the next step, wobbly and all, and I pray that God continues to guide you in each step you take.
One of my favorite things to do with my daughter is playing with blocks. She really doesn’t know how to play with them yet but we are learning. I make these beautiful tall towers and spend time making sure that everything is in the correct place and then my daughter comes in and…. knocks it all down!!! Then do it again by creating another tower, she comes and again knocks it all down!
This becomes a continuous theme and she giggles and smiles as she fast crawls towards my beautiful tower like a defensive player ready for the tackle. It is joyous for her to tear down my beautiful tower but in turn is a bonding moment for us as we learn how to play with blocks and to build back up. Shepherd of thre Hills is in a time of rebuilding and the focus of 2020 is just that -- building.
Even though tearing down and starting new is something scary, something unknown, and can be tough process; there is a beauty that comes from building back up. There is a beauty in the unknown, the tough stuff, the scary. A beauty that lies just beyond what is safe and predictable. It gives Shepherd of the Hills the chance to focus on what are our goals for the new decade with this new 2020 vision that we have.
The thing is building takes time, it doesn’t happen overnight and it doesn’t happen alone. In my past month of being here, I have been blessed to be meeting with people from all areas of ministry and in the congregation. I have loved seeing the people of God coming together to continue to build the ministry here at Shepherd of the Hills. I have enjoyed learning where the foundation is and figuring out where we build from here. It takes a lot of people to make ministry happen and I am happy to say that Shepherd of the Hills has pretty fantastic and faithful people.
Building won’t be easy, it is going to require compromise, listening, loving, forgiving, educating, and communication. It is the body of Christ doing what God has called the body of Christ to do -- build each other up in love. 1 Thes. 5:10-11 talks about this, “He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” Being new here, I am excited to see where God is going to take this building year.
I pray that we are able to reach out into our community by building connections, building our new building that more may join us in worship and praise, building the staff as we continue to pour into each other and the people we bring Jesus to, and building the generosity as we learn to give our time, talents, and money to growing the kingdom. It will be a growing year. I would love to learn from you. Thank you for the warm welcome and I look forward to continuing to build on that foundation that is set in Christ.
Director of Family Life Ministry