A few nights ago my husband and I were reminiscing. We knew it had been almost a year since the Lord moved us to our current home and ministry but we couldn’t remember the exact date we first came down and candidated. Thankfully I have kept a family journal for eight years now and I was able to quickly look back and find out when it was. That got me reading some more in that journal about that time in our lives.
It isn’t always good to constantly look back on the past. If our eyes are always behind us and what was then we are not consistently looking forward and pressing on toward the prize! However, there are times it is good to look back and remember what God taught us through different situations and life events and how His constant unfailing, never giving up grace and love carried us through.
One year ago we were living in a home that we knew was not a permanent dwelling place for us. We had been looking for a rental but every single time we looked at one either the home was way over priced or it would fall through for one reason or another. Then there came one house…. it resembled nothing of a home to me…. it was a struggle and I felt so selfish for thinking that way. I know that there are many who do not even have a roof over their head at night and I felt absolutely horrible for even struggling with this house! However, I did! I remember sobbing into the arms of my husband, “I feel like an awful Christian, but I hate this house!!” Talk about raw emotion, raw truth. Did I just admit this out loud?
It was an older home, built in 1919 and it looked like it had not been cleaned up since then. We poured every ounce of energy we had into trying to make it livable and I felt so overwhelmed. Just a few months earlier we had been hurt by our church family, friends, and we felt rejection from one church after another when after speaking with them they shared that we were not a right fit for their church. We were in a time of deep discouragement. We felt forsaken, hurt, rejected and then here was this house. Oh my heavens. Lord, what are you doing?
It is at times like that when it is so important to remember that our faith is not based off of emotion, it doesn’t sway and swoon like our emotions do. Our hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness! Our faith is based on fact, not feelings.
Looking back at my journal entries I remembered the emotions I struggled with and the evident grace that carried me through from day to day.
That particular evening when I sobbed into my husbands arms about hating that house, my husband and I prayed together and then we climbed into bed and not 5 minutes after turning the lights out my husbands phone rang. It was the deacon from this church here that we are now ministering at, informing us the vote had been unanimous, they were calling him to be their pastor. Our tears turned to cries of joy!
The other night I shared with my husband how it seemed that God brought us to the very edge of our breaking point, and then He gave a reprieve. My husband replied with, “I think the Lord had us over the edge and hanging on with just one hand that was beginning to slip!” True! It was a tough tough year for us.
Then the Lord brought us here.
To a state we never thought we would live in. To a church who needed my husband to be their Pastor. The fit was incredible.
Since coming the Lord has continued to grow and stretch and mold us just as He will continue to do as long as He gives us life on this earth. Let me share with you though, there is nothing, absolutely nothing like being in the center of God’s will for your life. We know now why the other churches never seemed to work out. It wasn’t really rejection, it was part of God’s plan, even though at the time it did not really feel that way!
It has been amazing to see my husband grow into the leader that he is. I know that we had to go through that stretching year of 2013 in order to be prepared for what the Lord has for us here. He has GREAT things going on!
Since coming we have seen the Lord grow our church in ways we could have not imagined! Not just numerically but spiritually as well and we are beyond thrilled to see Him continually adding to His church! Just last week our church began the Awana ministry as an outreach to our community. We have been seeing visitors come and stay and become a part of our church family! The Lord has saved souls! I sit here and honestly give the glory to God for the great things that He is doing! We are humbled that He is willing to use us, we know we are nothing without Him.
I love this verse that I came across this past spring. It just jumped right off the pages at me when I read it. 1 Peter 4:19, “Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.”
No matter what is going on in life, keep trusting Him. He is faithful and sometimes it is His will that we suffer so we may be more and more conformed into His image and likeness. Becoming more like Him and less of us is what it is all about. The suffering will not be what we think it should be, His plans for our lives often look vastly different from the plans we have made. His thoughts are so much higher than our own though, and much much better! At times it will feel like everyone you have ever known has rejected you and sometimes God is silent, but He is there. Wanting us to commit the keeping of our souls to Him.
I’m thankful for that record of our life a year ago. I look back now and see God’s fingerprints all over the place. Here we are 10 months later and are in awe of His goodness to us, even through our suffering. He is so good to us all the time!