If you’ve been watching, you know we have handed off our post as lead pastors at The Edge, the church we founded and nurtured for the past 8 years. We always knew this day was coming from the moment we decided to start a church. We knew our job was to clear the path, and in due time, God would bring the right man to shepherd the flock. It was much like raising children. You tend to them knowing they are meant to leave. We grew the Church knowing someday we would step back. We actually thought it might have happened last year, but then the thing, we can now just call 2020, happened. Our job of fighting to make space for the church wasn’t finished. Despite a crazy tough year, The Edge has thrived in any and every way. God has blessed the efforts of not just our family, but all the amazing staff, leaders, and volunteers who bravely pushed the Church forward in those tough times. It was an honor to lead such an amazing team.
Most people would look at where we are today and wonder why we don’t just relax and enjoy the fruits of the labor. We finally have our own space, there is no more fighting with the powers-that-be so we can gather. We have an incredibly healthy team, which only came through a tough season of pruning. We are in a good space financially, even through the pandemic. It would have been the easiest thing in the world to hit cruise control for a year or two, but that’s never been who we are, not as a family and not as a church. It was time to take the next step, and that step was to empower the next generation of leaders. So we open-handedly turned to an amazing couple, Jenna and Easton Page, and with great admiration and expectation handed them our 8 year old baby to nurture, oversee, protect, and love as if it was their own. I know they will fulfill all those hopes because it is their baby too. They have been here from the beginning of The Edge Launch Team days. They have fought and labored alongside us the entire battle to push back the darkness in our community and give the lost and hurting a place to meet Jesus face to face, hand to hand, and heart to heart.
I am plagued with an autoimmune disease which seems to thrive when my emotions are on overdrive. I’ve learned how to disconnect my feelings during intense times so not to surge my fight or flight system. So this past week I was careful to not marinate in the delicious emotions of the events swirling around me. I shed a couple tear-filled hugs on Sunday, but for the most part I held it together. Until today…
The entire time we have been pastors at The Edge, people often try to thank Randy and me for what God has done within our church. My heart never engages those moments because I know it’s not my doing. God graciously blessed our efforts as we sought his Kingdom in Clinton. The impact The Edge has had never truly sinks into the depths of my emotion because I feel those aren’t my spoils of war nor my crowns of victory to wear. My soul won’t even stand near that shining Glory, it belongs to God and I am nose to the floor humbled every time I hear mention of it. But today, I felt like God said, “Aimee, take a look.” And I was wrecked.
Today I was watching a movie with my girl. It’s the Disney movie, Raya and the Last Dragon. At the end, when the world is saved (sorry, spoiler) the heroine returns home to her father and her dragon champion, protector, and teacher says, “Your girl did good. You should be proud of her.” and then he says, “… and she brought some friends with her.” and then a throng of people come walking over the horizon to enter the gates of her home city alongside her.
This is where the tears came.
Through a silly forsaken Disney movie, God broke through the numbness I’ve been trying hard to maintain, and He let me feel a small bit of what I’ve been denying myself for 8 years. Oh, it still isn’t mine to hold and it doesn’t conjure up pride, but it does bring tears of joy and relief. It was real. It was worth it. I’ve tried to understand how I feel about the past 8 years. It was hard, folks. It was very hard and I’ll write more about that part later because I know there are frontline warriors who need to know they aren’t alone. But as tough as it was, I would do it all over again in a heartbeat if it means my Father can be proud of me— and that someday I’ll see the beautiful faces of friends coming home. I see them in my mind now. The many hands going up to say, “I believe.” at the end of experiences, the sweet brothers and sisters who have passed on in our time as Edge family, the lives that have been restored on Earth and reconciled in Heaven, they all flash before me like a treasured family album and my heart is full. He pulled back the veil and let me feel a glimpse of the reality of what He’s done with our meager hands, and I’ll never be the same. That kind of worth just isn’t found this side of eternity, and it devastates me in the best way to have been a part of it.
It’s been a great run, and I’m sweaty, a little worn, feeling a stitch in my side, and in need of a lengthy sit with a tall drink of water. But as I sit in the shade of my Father’s love, I ache because I don’t want the race to be over. It can’t be over. Yes, the sun has set on our time as The Edge pastors. I feel God put a bookend on it for me this Sunday. You see, the first Sunday we ever met on Sept. 8, 2013 we sang Manifesto and I remember “Amen!” pouring from our lips as we prayed with song that whatever God wanted for The Edge, that it would just be so. “So be it, God. So be it.” And on our last Sunday as Lead Pastors, we sang The Blessing, and words of prayer for those taking the lead came forth from my heart as well as the same word, “Amen”, over and over, assuring my soul that it had been just as He desired. AMEN and AMEN— from beginning to end. That doesn’t mean we were perfect pastors or leaders, but I feel it does mean that despite our faults and failures that God used our humble efforts and accomplished His will in our time as shepherds. That’s what I heard God whisper to my heart anyhow.
I don’t know what the “more” for our future is yet. When we stepped out of traditional church, I didn’t know we were going to start The Edge. I just knew God wanted us to stop doing what we were doing and be still for a bit. I feel Him calling us to the same quiet place now. So I will lean against this tree planted by still waters, I will stretch out on the soft green grass, I will look up to the sky and make animals out of the fluffy cotton clouds that pass on a cool breeze, I will let the warmth of His love strengthen my bones, and I will wait. There is more. I know there is more, because there are more friends to be made, and more friends to bring home.
Stay tuned for the more, friends.
I know I am.
The Plain Wife (See, I’m still a PW, Lindy. Always was, always will be.)