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Almost four years ago I had a vision.  Not a spooky, smoke in the sky, angelic manifestation.  It was more along the lines of a God-inspired dream to start a mom’s group at our church.  It would be a no frills, sit and enjoy coffee while the kids run around and play, kind of group.  No agenda, no expectation, simply come as you are.  As I dreamed and prayed, I envisioned this group growing and expanding into somewhat of a book club/close-knit/monthly girls’ night out circle of friends.     


A year later (June 2007) we kicked-off the group with a bang.  By September it almost seemed the dream was a bust.  I blogged a bit about the ups and downs of starting this ministry last summer.  There were many growing pains, to say the least. 


Three years after pouring blood, sweat, and tears into something very near and dear to my heart, I sensed, once again, God speaking to me.  He wasn’t guiding me to reinvent the group, or invigorating  me with fresh, new vision.  This time he was asking me to let it go. 


At first I wasn’t ready to receive that direction.  I prayed about it for months…MONTHS!  Deep, deep down I knew God was redirecting my focus, and the moms group was not going to be a part of this new season in my life.  However, I’m very tenacious, and I wasn’t ready to let go until I witnessed the fulfillment of my vision.


Never have Kenny Roger’s words from “The Gambler” rung more true: You got to know when to hold ‘em…know when to fold ‘em.  Know when to walk away…know when to run…


While I don’t take deep spiritual guidance from Kenny Rogers, or equate ministry to gambling, I would have to say that he isn’t too far from reality on this one.  Trusting God, and stepping out in a new ministry can be somewhat of a gamble.  We don’t know what the final outcome will be, and there is no guarantee that we will see a fair amount of success.  There will be seasons when we must “hold ‘em” and seasons when we must “fold ‘em”.  It was becoming more and more clear to me that it was time to “fold” the moms group.


I stepped down from leading MomsConnect in June.  My co-leader sensed God was changing directions in her life as well, and she too stepped down.  It ends without fanfare, without a lot of noise, and without a spotlight.  It ends in much the same way it began…quietly and anonymously. 


As I look at the life of MomsConnect I have seen the ebb and flow of a group that was never meant to be exclusive.  Initially I envisioned a large group of women, connecting and engaging life with one another.  But here is the reality: MomsConnect has served and reached a countless number of women, just not at the same time.  As families have moved away, moms have returned to work, or new life seasons have pulled women in new directions, MomsConnect has evolved too.  In my finite vision I saw these individuals collectively.  In God’s vision he saw them individually.  Coming and going…MomsConnect being the place where they found community during a specific season of time.


Ministry success is oftentimes measured by numbers.  If the numbers are high, then the ministry is succeeding.  If the numbers are dropping, or low, then the ministry is “suffering”.  Unless MomsConnect hit a high note and stayed there, I figured everything I put my heart into was failure.  However, God has shown me through this journey of letting go, it has been my obedience, and not the final outcome of the group, that deems it successful.  I may have been imperfect in my delivery and leadership, but I didn’t fail God.


If Kenny’s words still don’t cut it for you, perhaps something a little more spiritual, like the Bible, will help convince you:


Ecclesiastes 3:1 & 14

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.  I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it.  God does it so that men will revere him.”


Letting go of a dream can be difficult, but we have to remember who’s dream it was in the first place.  If we are trusting God, and walking in obedience to the calling he has placed on our lives, then we can rest assured that our sacrifices have eternal value.  If it is a season of holding on, then hold on.  If it is a season to fold, then fold.  Either way, it all belongs to God, and there is nothing that can add or take away from the work he is doing in our lives.

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3 Responses to “Know When To Hold ‘Em…Know When To Fold ‘Em”

  1. Judy Hayburn says:

    Great words of wisdom, Amy, and very well written. I loved it!

  2. Alyson says:

    I have to say that MomsConnect was something I always looked forward to during the week. You did an amazing job with what you had, and I enjoyed getting to know all the ladies that came and went. Thank you for being a willing servant, and starting a ministry that ministers to moms. You did a fantastic job!

  3. sister sheri says:

    Amy – what wisdom and encouragement can be found here. And true direction to the giver or our dreams… God!

    Earlier this year I wrote a post along the same lines in regards to the end of an era when Anthony’s six years of being a deacon came to an end… It ended “without fanfare, without a lot of noise, and without a spotlight. It ends in much the same way it began…quietly and anonymously.” I never did post it… but maybe you have sparked me to bring it out of draft mode.

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