So much has changed since my last post. Each time I would sit down to try and write again my mind was blank...there was only silence.
Several months ago, Spencer and I started praying for a church in Broken Arrow, OK. They had called Spencer and really wanted him to come serve as their Global Student Pastor.
My heart was broken. I didn't want leave Fort Smith, AR. I loved our church. I loved the people. We had grown to love the teenagers in our ministry as our own. They were family. My beloved mentor and best friends were in Fort Smith. HOW could God ask us to leave?!
So we prayed.
And we prayed some more.
And God answered, "Go".
In all honesty, this is one of the hardest things about ministry; moving when God says go. But in the last several weeks, I have learned so much by just trusting in HIM alone. I want to share my heart openly and honestly, and I pray it encourages someone out there today.
I hate goodbyes. They are awful and the "ugly cry face" that goes along with them is even worse! We said our goodbyes to everyone we love so much, pulled out of Ft Smith and headed to Broken Arrow, OK....trusting God. Looking in the back seat at our sweet Hannah, holding her stuffed animals and crying because she didn't want to leave her friends, ripped my heart to pieces.
I knew God had called us.
I wanted to be strong.
I wanted to encourage Hannah to trust God.
But I was sad too.
I was angry that we had to move once again - our fourth move to another state.
So many thoughts raced through my mind as we pulled away. Reality sunk in:
Moving would change everything:
- It put a halt to our adoption process. The application process is different in every state. BUT God sees a bigger picture than we can see - And BOY, did He know something we didn't know!!!! (*More on that in my next blog)
- Our children have to start in a new school with new teachers and try to make new friends.
- We have to start over in youth ministry...not knowing a single teenager's name. New ministry, new staff, new location.
- We would be living in a rental house until we could find somewhere to live. (SO very thankful the church provided us a place to stay!)
- Spence and I have to start over in friendships....the awkward "get-to-know-you" conversations...Leaving a place where so many were family to us. They knew us already.
I truly believe it is in THESE times that the true colors of our Christianity come to the surface.
I am ashamed to say, the colors that came to the surface in my life, were not pretty. I was angry that we had to move again. I was sad. I cried every day for three weeks and could hardly find the motivation to do anything...to cook, to clean, to even get out of bed sometimes.
I wallowed in the pit of self-pity. My prayers sounded much like this, "God, I know it was your will that we moved here, but I don't like it! I HATE moving our children and I HATE starting over."
I know that God's word tells me to
"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in ALL circumstances..." 1 Thessalonians 5:16
But my life had no joy.
I know the fruits of the Spirit are
"love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control" Galatians 5:22-23
But there seemed to be no fruit in my life.
I know I am suppose to
"Trust in the Lord will all my heart and lean not on my own understanding; in all my ways acknowledge him, and he will make my paths straight" Proverbs 3:5-6
But I was leaning on my own understanding.
28 years of being a Christian...I should know these things by now! But living them out takes my faith to a whole other level.
God didn't make me feel like a failure in my valley of struggle. In time, this is where He led me:
- He led me to simply speak His words of truth - to pray scripture out loud when I don't have the words to pray.
- He reminded me that I may only see a small puzzle piece of the here and now, but He sees the big picture in its entirety.
- He reminded me that He has not changed. The same God who knows the number of hairs on my head, knows what's best for me and my family.
- He led me to divine appointments:
- A lady at the park who spoke into my life without her even knowing it.
- A lunch date with a new friend who's story pierced my heart. Her joy through her valleys inspired me beyond words.
- He brought peace in ways I never imagined.