Joy?

I have to admit, I have had that last post sitting for awhile. Kind of marinating. I think I’ve been afraid to take this plunge to do a family blog focusing on our journey as church planters.

I think I didn’t want to, because I knew what it would mean.

As we have been on this journey I have searched for voices like mine. Voices that want to tell of the journey, both the good and bad, and not just what those supporting you (prayerfully & financially) want to hear. In fact the gross reality is that I have been scared to be transparent because as we begin to start the fundraising process, I thought maybe people wouldn’t like it, and it would make them uncomfortable, and the result would be them not wanting to give. And then I get a grip and realize who I am trusting to provide for us. God. The person who hears all my prayers and cries in real time. Not in blog time.

But as I look for those voices, I can’t find them.

In the Christian Church, we have a problem, myself included. We only like to hear what makes us feel good. What supports our agenda. What we think will aid to our idea of “success”. So those voices are few and far between.

How could I possibly begin this without being truthful? Without being transparent?

I couldn’t.

Which is why it has taken well too long to actually invite you on this journey. It was easier for me to focus on the memories of living in Bloomington, and how those have shaped me, as a Christian, a Wife and a Mother. Sometimes the past is safer than the present. It feels almost tangible to look back on an experience, on experiences and tell of them now. Now that the telling can’t shape the course of those events, can’t influence the outcome (don’t get me wrong, there is definitely something therapeutic in that kind of writing, and I don’t intend to stop, but I also have to obey this calling).

If I’m honest I have to say that full time ministry is hard. Hard. HARD.

It takes a lot out of you. Because it requires everything of you.

And I keep hearing that. That it requires everything of you and that it takes a lot out of you. And when people are 40-60 years into ministry, THEN I get to hear some of the nitty gritty stories and the times of hardship and struggle. And it’s powerful, but would it have meant more to hear about it when they were actually experiencing it?

Something within is compelling me that I have to say it now, while we experience it, while it’s fresh, while the pain and the intense joys are still present within us, not just memories.

Believe me I don’t like to tell the story until I have the happy ending, but sometimes you need to tell the story before the happy ending comes about. Maybe then we (you and I) can start to redefine our happy endings. And we can start to redefine our ideas of success within the Christian Church and outside it.

One of the things that confirmed God was calling me to this intense honesty on a larger scale was a song and story I heard at a concert a few weeks ago. This is a video similar to that experience, it is long, but please, please, listen all the way to the end.



I sat there and I prayed, and I did indeed cry. Ugly cry. Not wiping away little tears cry. Your chest heaving as if it might leave your neck and your legs all together and shoot across the room as a torso bomb kind of cry. Puffy lips and hives cry. I guess I need to formally apologize to Meg one of our core team members/a new friend. We are still getting to know each other, and she had to sit next to me during this episode. Nate was on my other side, let’s be honest, he knew what he was getting into when he proposed, I feel no need to apologize to him, just to thank him for those honking shoulders that are so perfect for my puffy face to blubber on. 

This song resonated so heavily with this past year’s experience. Friends and loved ones have passed away. Many before their time. Our expectations have changed, sometimes without notice or choice. Dreams have taken on new shapes. Shapes we might not initially like.

Joy sometimes sounds like that.
Joy sometimes feels like that.

I guess the point of my post, is that this blog is not always going to make you feel “good”, but I promise it will always be filled with joy.

It is an active choice that the Hopping family is making. To choose joy. Truthful joy. Honest joy. And ultimately I hope for all of us (readers and writers included) it will be a healing joy.

With that off my (still intact) chest, I am off to finish up Halloween costumes, which I hope will not disappoint! 🙂

peace & JOY to you.

-nate, meredith, eleonore & luci (the dog)

Eleonore admires one of her favorite murals in downtown Bloomington!
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One thought on “Joy?

  1. Good for you mere; your honesty and boldness as a follower of Jesus Christ well not only bring on support, but also disciple the lost. Bravo to you and your precious family ❤

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