Thankful

is really the only word to describe how I feel.

This summer has been a total blur. I have learned so much about myself, my family, and other people. I have learned to never burn your bridges. I have seen the hand of God working in our lives in more ways than I can count. Thankful.

Josh has known his calling to full time ministry since before he deployed to Iraq in 2005. Iraq solidified his commitment. He went to college to learn how to minister to students and youth, and he's been able to do that for the past 3 years (to an extent). But because life happens, he's worked tirelessly. Sometimes 4 jobs at once just to be able to make ends meet (comfortably). He's been in the military, worked as a parapro at the highschool, worked at our local night school 4-5 hours an evening sometimes 3 nights a week (after a full day's work at the highschool), he's taken odd jobs (cutting grass and helping others), and he's been a part time youth pastor for the past 3 years. And although each job has it's rewards, nothing is as rewarding as seeing students walking in the Lord.

About a year ago we decided to actively pursue finding him a full time ministry. Most people didn't know this (although to the friends who did- thank you for keeping that confidentiality). He sent out (and this is just a guess) 50 resumes and by November we were being interviewed by 2 churches very closely. Like one had received 200 applications and Josh was 1 of 3 in the final pick. We were willing to move. I was willing to leave my "home", my job, my family, and everything that was comfortable. This year has taught me that wherever we live is home. Not the 4 walls that are surrounding us presently. We were almost certain that we'd soon be calling Birmingham, AL or Meridian, MS home. But God had different plans.

Christmas came and went and during that time we decided to take the step of faith and put our house on the market (although we decided in December- it didn't happen until February). Josh had 2 more interviews in January- we were looking so forward to the third Sunday in January. A skype interview was set for that afternoon. Except we both came down with a horrific stomach virus the night before... maybe it was a sign??

Taking another step of faith we put our house on the market  on Valentine's Day. We knew that if we were trusting the Lord to lead up, this was a step we had to make... or we would forever wonder whether we should have or whether that was the one thing holding us back.

We got wind that the youth pastor from Ebenezer was resigning sometime in early spring. By this point both doors from winter had been slammed shut. We both dismissed it as an impossibility. He had applied for this same job 5 years ago and was turned down. 5 years ago we could have walked away bitter. Part of us was hurt. Not with the fact that he didn't get the job- but with the fact that we couldn't continue what we had started. We knew leaving the youth ministry would always put an awkwardness between the youth and us. But God sees the bigger picture. And we knew to trust him.

We were certain we were being called out of Toccoa. All the while we faithfully continued pouring into the youth group at Liberty Hill.

God continued to put people in our lives to put questions in our mind. Is this where we're supposed to be? Could it be that the same youth group that we began ministering to over 6 years ago (students who were in 7th grade who are now seniors) was where we would end up? It happened to both of us- questions like "why doesn't Josh put in his resume?" "he should apply for it" "what's the worst that could happen?". These questions came from students in EBC's youth group (that Josh saw at the high school), parents in the youth group, co-workers, family members, close friends, and the list goes on...

There was even a time in early May that I asked Josh, "What would you do if THEY called you?" We both laughed knowing that would never happen. 

School ended. Summer started and we were just going about life. June 15th changed our life forever... we got the call that we thought we'd never get.  The call asking if we were at all interested in this position. It was a terribly rainy day and we were sitting in front of a car repair shop getting the window fixed on my Jeep.We didn't pursue it. He never applied for it. The Lord put our name/face in the minds of countless individuals who were a part of the youth ministry. Friends of ours who still feel like family- even after 5 years. Never burn your bridges people!!

June 18th was "the meeting" that we thought would be about an hour (getting caught up to speed on things, asking questions, trying to decide if this was "it"). We looked at the clock and FIVE HOURS had passed. I was almost late picking Luke up at school.

The rest is history. Josh met with the personnel committee (that consisted of a mixture of people- including his at the time current boss from the highschool!-gotta love small towns), the youth workers, and eventually the youth and parents of the youth. He went to put in his resignation at the high school well over a month before school was to actually start, and they already knew. :)

Although I've always believed that our God is a God of order and details, I now believe I've experienced that first hand. I have learned so much about trusting Him. About not just sort of believing him, but jumping feet first into the unknown. When the valleys come I want to remember this mountain top experience.

So  here we stay- in Toccoa which we will continue to call home. Leaving LHBC was really hard. Like realllllly hard. Last night they held a reception for us and we were moved to tears hearing their hearts... it really makes me want to tell people how much I appreciate them IN THE MOMENT. Why wait until people leave or people die to say good things about them? Why not tell them now?

I am beyond thrilled that Josh can focus on ONE job. He's been medically (honorably) discharged from the military. He no longer has to work countless hours a day doing odd jobs. The Lord has provided all that we need. This is the first time in our marriage that I will get to see him doing what he is called to do and loves doing- FULL TIME. He's been able to cheer me on (going on) 5 years as I've been able to do what I am called to do, and I can finally do the same!

Expect the unexpected. Wait for the perfect timing. And thank God (even when it's hard and we don't feel thankful-been there) for giving above and BEYOND anything we could ever ask or IMAGINE (and I have a pretty big imagination!). Be faithful in the little things... things that you don't even think are important. They are. And don't try to figure it all out yourself. Thankfully we have a God that isn't bound by time or human nature. He wants the best for us, we just have to be patient in those valleys.

2 comments :

  1. I just thought I would say I got teary eyed reading your post. :) It sounds very similar to our situation. Jeremy was fired from our last church (long story, but there were nine other people who were fired from the church for opening their mouths, and wanting to do what's right, so it was bound to happen). THat was a really trying time for us. Anyway, the day he got fired, someone mentioned that Life Church was looking for a youth pastor, and he jokingly said, "Oh I'll just go to Life Church, everybody else has. " (which a lot of poeple left our old church and went to life church, anyway...) We didn't think twice about it though. Like you said with your situaaion, we were ready to get out of Franklin. However, Jeremy was approached by the Lead Pastor at Life Church. After sending out probably thirty resumes, and interviewing with five or six different churches, here we are, in Franklin, at Life Church. And we couldn't be happier. :) God really is good, and like you mentioned, so faithful even in the details. Glad that everything has worked out so well for you guys!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow that is so similar! I knew you guys had been through alot, but geesh that's almost an identical story! Awesome!!

    ReplyDelete

Amazon