BY TAYLOR CHRISTENSON
We hear it all the time, “you never know where the Lord will lead you in your life, but His plans are always good.” I could repeat it in my sleep. The phrase has become second nature in our Christian culture, but up until this year, it never came to life for me.
If someone would have told me a year ago that I’d be living in Texas today, I would have laughed. As graduation was approaching, I felt confident the next step for me was to pursue a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership so I could continue my passion for student leadership.
I decided I would keep my graduate school options to the Northwest. I wanted to remain in that geographical location for two main reasons: to stay connected to the vision of Resonate, and to be close to my family and friends. These reasons both had an underlying factor of comfort. I wanted to remain comfortable and I wanted to ensure I had some sort of control of where I would spend my 2 years in graduate school.
But one by one, the rejection letters were filling my inbox. I had applied to four different schools in the Northwest and was rejected by three of them. All the plans I had envisioned for the next few years of my life seemed to be gone and I was devastated. In that moment I was convinced graduate school was not an option.
But the Lord is faithful to finish what He starts. During spring break of my final year, I received a phone call from an administrator at Texas Christian University informing me of an opportunity they wanted me to pursue for the upcoming year. I never applied to TCU, in fact I didn’t even know where Fort Worth was until I began researching more about the program. Now this was out of my comfort zone. But in a matter of weeks, the Lord provided me an affordable place to live, a job, and roommates deeply connected to a church body in Ft. Worth. In order to feel peace in making a decision to move across the country, these were specific prayers that I needed answered before making my decision. The Lord was clear with His intentions on leading me to Texas even in the midst of me being confused about this next season.
It's hard to believe that I have called Texas home for the last five months. In many ways I feel more alive here than I ever have, and in other ways I feel crippled and faced with the reality of how broken and sinful I am. Daily my emotions shift up and down. One day I feel alive, walking deeply with the Spirit, throwing myself into community, and exploring all the doors the Lord has opened here. Other days, I fall into sadness. The loneliness and realities of living in a new place creep in and I fall into ways of living that I don't even recognize. Actions and behaviors I walked away from years ago seem to plague the days when I forget that the Lord has led me here and will not leave me.
Although my emotions, thoughts, and behaviors are on a rollercoaster, the Lord is constant and remains the same. He is as near on the days I'm overflowing with joy as He is on the days I'm stiff-arming and pushing Him away. He offers the same fullness in every season and He is just waiting for me to walk in it.
This new season has been amazing and difficult. The highest moments, followed by the lowest moments. That's the beauty of what the Lord calls us too. And although this season is hard, and some days I feel a lack of spiritual stamina, the calling on my life as a believer has not changed.
“Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.” 2 Timothy 4:2
In EVERY season we are called to be people who tell others who Jesus is... even on the days we feel unequipped and unworthy. The Lord does not need us, but He graciously invites us to be a part of the bigger story He is writing. The fullest I feel here in Fort Worth are the moments I am able to mentor college girls at TCU or the Sunday nights spent around a dinner table with young adults from my church, wrestling with hard questions about what it means to follow Jesus. This past year, my eyes have been opened to the Church that expands across the world and that the Lord is moving everywhere, He just asks us to show up and be a part of it.
Saying "yes" to Ft. Worth never impacted the "yes" I made to the Lord when He called me to be a disciple and a disciple maker.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." Matthew 28:19-20
So practically, how do you do this? Let’s say you are moving somewhere new after graduation and you fear the transition that is coming. Here are some things that helped me continue to live missionally during my transition to Texas:
All decisions need to be brought in prayer and supplication before the Father. I did not make the decision to move to Texas without hearing from the Lord first. If you are making big decisions based on what feels good, what makes sense, or what is going to set you up for success before coming to the Lord to ask what He wants, you may be missing it. Remember the Lord is on a mission far greater than we can ever see; ask Him the role He wants you to play in that.
Getting connected to a church.
Resonate, for me, was family. So I knew it was going to be challenging to get connected into a new body of believers without comparing what was missing from my church family back home. It is important to seek out a church that teaches from the Bible and has a focus on discipleship and missions. If those components are there, stick around and invest your time. Fruit can only come from placing your roots in a church for this new season.
Serving and being held accountable by community.
Whether it’s setting up chairs at Sunday’s service, signing up to serve food on local outreach nights, or getting involved with specific ministries, we as believers are called to serve in our churches. In the midst of changes and transition, sin for me seemed to become more real and more daunting. I needed accountability more than ever to save me from myself. Sign yourself up to be held accountable to your new community. God never intended any of us to fight the good fight alone.
Although my geographic location has drastically changed, the church I now attend is not Resonate, and the community of people I do life with doesn’t resemble what it looked like at WSU, the Lord is still desiring to use me. It is not easy, and I pray you are not hearing that, but the Lord does not leave us in seasons of unknown and discomfort. He makes himself available and gives plenty of opportunities for us to join in community and function as a part of the Church, we just have to be willing to join alongside Him in the work that He is already doing.
My growth in Resonate was foundational to settling into life here in Ft. Worth. The material I learned, the biblical knowledge I absorbed, and the way I was discipled in our community has equipped me to quickly be able to build new relationships and pour into people. My church now has given me opportunities to lead and I am beyond grateful for their trust and that responsibility. Be grateful for the environment Resonate creates. Grow while you are there and when it comes time to leave, whether into a church plant city or not, remember you are called to make disciples. No matter where you end up, that calling never changes. Jump into the freedom of living a life in pursuit of where the Lord has called you. At times you may not know where He is leading you, but I promise His plans for you are always good.