Warning: This Thankful Thursday post is a bit long, okay the longest one ever! I just have to share it before I burst at the seams! This post displays my heart that is represented in yesterdays Word Filled Wednesday picture. Please, grab a cup of coffee and listen to my heart:
My husband was the bi-vocational music minister at our church for the last four years. It was an incredible blessing. We had the amazing blessing of serving with my parents; my dad is the pastor. It seemed like heaven on earth!
In January, my dear husband felt God telling him that it was time to step down as music minister. To me, the news seemed to come out of the blue. No problems at church, no problems with the staff, no nothing. (Although, at my husband’s other job, his duties were increasing and both of his bosses were diagnosed with cancer.) I was crushed when he shared his heart with me. We began to pray. The more we prayed, the more I prayed that he was wrong. He stood firm in his belief and sadly gave his resignation in March.
It was HARD! We have always served whether we were on staff or not, but I just didn’t see this one coming. I ran the gamut of emotions. Honestly, it wasn’t pretty, I’m ashamed to say. God lovingly began to convince me that He is God, He has a divine purpose, and if He can call us into ministry, He could call us out of ministry. I began to trust His divine purpose but still mourned the loss of ministry all the while feeling lost in our place at church. Should we go or should we stay?
The whole family mourned. It just didn’t feel the same at church anymore.
Here is a copy of an email I sent to my sweet hubby just last week: God convicted me this morning that what I rehearse, I believe. I keep harping on and talking about how hard this change has been and how mixed up my emotions are. How it's not the same...it feels weird...etc. Yes, this is true, but I need to focus on the new opportunities God has in store for us. The ministry was and always has been His. He is free to call us or remove us as He wills. This battle has to be His and only He can win this victory.
Perhaps, the victory in this battle has already been given, but I'm choosing to stay in the muddy trenches while He patiently waits for me to pull my head out, and look up and crawl out of the cave, and see what new ministries He has for us. Oh, He knows our hearts are to do His will, so perhaps the delay in knowing it, is my lack of praise, trust, and confidence that He who began a good work still has work for us to do.”
So, I began to practice praising in spite of feeling like we were on the fence of indecisiveness. We started praying about looking for another church. Should we go or should we stay? Hannah started feeling the effects of being the only child her age in Sunday School. Perhaps, it was time to look for another church home.
We called a family meeting Saturday night. We weighed the pros and cons of staying or leaving. We all cried but Hannah’s broken heart just ripped our hearts out. We prayed together and decided that this would be our last Sunday if for no other reason then for Hannah’s sake. It is so important that our children love going to church and serving in the church. We don’t want her to have a bad taste in her mouth when it comes to church.
Sunday morning brought an invitation for Rachel and I to be nominated to serve on the Youth Search Committee, an invitation for R to serve as a deacon (he was ordained 11 years ago, but since he was the music minister did not serve in this capacity), and during the invitation one of the little boys that we minister to in children’s worship (Rachel, Hannah, mom, and I have the blessing of doing this children’s ministry together) came forward and told everybody that he had asked Jesus to come into his heart and be his savior! Glory!
We thanked our sweet people for these opportunities but felt like we would not be able to serve in these areas. After all, in our minds, this was our last Sunday.
The four of us went to lunch after church and had a sweet time of fellowship. On the way home, from the back seat Hannah said, “You know what? Maybe God is trying to tell us something. He wants you and Rachel to be on the youth search committee and daddy to be a deacon. Maybe we should stay.”
“And a little child will lead them.” (Isaiah 11:6).
She didn’t know this, but I needed God to tell us to stay through Hannah. In fact, this is how I had prayed that morning. I asked her a few questions (I needed to know that she wasn’t just saying what she thought we wanted to hear) and she was more than resolved in our need to stay and minister as a family.
I told her that God has great things in mind for her and that I am praying for a BFF just for her. This is another area that we can trust Him. He wants to give good gifts to His children (Luke 7:11). He can provide a BFF just for her. Obedience brings blessing and I can hardly wait to see how He blesses her.
Please, if you have made it through this long post, join me in praying for a new BFF for Hannah!
So, to make a long story short, I’m thankful that we are off the fence. It feels good to know that God still has work for us to do at our home church and our spirits are finally at peace. There is much to be thankful for! If by chance, anyone one of you made it to the end of this post, I just want to thank you for your generosity and graciousness reading this. May God richly bless you today!