On Sunday I visited a new church (to me) to hear their new pastor preach. Her husband led our Camino trip and in his unbiased opinion he told me she is a really good preacher. I listened to her first sermon online and decided I needed to go hear her in person. She’s doing a series on “Keep Calm and Remember Your Baptism.”
She talked about dying and rising on Sunday – how baptism is dying to our sins and rising to new life. Baptism is about letting go of the old to make room for the new. Toward the end of her sermon she gave us a question to consider throughout the week: what in my life needs to die so that new life will rise?
She suggested we practice the pattern of dying and rising in our daily lives.
She suggested we practice letting go to make room for the gift God’s been waiting to give.
I felt the tears coming because I knew what I was being asked to let go of. But, I think some of those tears were filled with relief and anticipation. When I’m able to let go of the hopes and dreams, when I’m able to free up the space in my life that I was holding for those hopes and dreams, what will rise up to fill it?
Last week a good friend sent me this in a text:
Something beautiful will be born out of your sorrow. Even though it might not be a baby, you are going to bring something to life.
She was apprehensive in sending that to me; she didn’t want to upset me. But based on what she shared beyond that, I knew this was a message from something/one bigger. I’m grateful for friends who are aware of messages they receive and are willing to risk sharing them. I needed to hear this from her.
Letting go is hard. Letting go requires strength and bravery. It takes effort to open those tightly clenched hands. Letting go means dying to the old and becoming something new. Honestly, I’d rather just get to the new part – the dying is painful and scary and unknown. I’d rather bypass the hard stuff. However, over the last year and a half, I’ve gone through the hard stuff – I’ll probably keep going through it. And by walking through it rather than going around or over or under, I’m getting stronger and braver. I feel my heart growing bigger not shrinking smaller. My patience is developing. My eyes are softer to the world. My hands are opening, slowly but surely.
God has a gift for me. Something big, something is ready to grow and develop in my life. The thing is, in order to have enough room for this big thing, I have to let go of the old things. I have to let go of the life I thought I’d have. I have to let go of the dream that apparently wasn’t mine after all. I have to let go of shoulds and woulds. I have to let go of other people’s expectations and dreams.
It’s still painful – I imagine it will remain painful, but the intensity will lessen. I’m slowly letting go and I already notice the change in me. Something beautiful is coming. Death always brings new life. Always.