Monday, August 1, 2011

A Bittersweet Calling

Many of our dear friends know what's going on in our world right now, but we haven't really made it Facebook official or anything.  Nathan has been offered the Associate Ministry position at Pleasant View Church of Christ in Angola, IN.  On Aug. 14, he will present a trial sermon, and then the congregation will have an opportunity to vote to approve him.  Though we do not presume that he's already hired or anything, PVCC's bylaws required they give the congregation two weeks' notice of the candidate by name, so out of consideration for our First Church of Christ in Garrett family, we announced this to our congregation Sunday as well.

What a bittersweet season.  I blogged not so long ago about the blessing of hearing my husband preach and watching God mature him.  I've watched God tug at his heart and unfold this area of his ministry over the last couple years.  But Nathan was patient, careful, conscientious.  He didn't want to be responding out of his own ambitions or desires, whether that would mean to stay where we are or to step out on new adventures.  We are comfortable here, secure, well-loved...this is home.  Stepping out to something new is, for me, scary.  I'm timid about leaving my friends, and it took me SO LONG to develop these friendships due to my shy nature.  I'm apprehensive about trying to sell our home, about keeping it "show-ready" with my limitations and life with two young kids, about the repairs we'll need to do or the financial cut we'll take when it sells.  I'm so sad to leave people we love so very much.

But I'm also excited.  Nathan will have new opportunities in ministry that will challenge him, grow him, and let him use his gifts in new ways.  We'll get to look for a new house, which is fun and exciting too, and I LOVE to decorate, so starting over in that regard is so exciting I have trouble sleeping sometimes. And we'll be close, just 25 minutes north, so my friendships won't be over.  I get to keep my job and just get up early enough to make it to work on time.  And I have the opportunity now to make new friends and reach out to other women and families the way so many here have reached out to me.

The bottom line through all of this:  If God calls, answer.  In the Old Testament, there's a story about a young boy named Samuel.  The beginning of his life is pretty cool (and part of the PandaMania VBS if you or your kids have been a part of that this summer!) and worth checking out (see the book of I Samuel or this link  But the part I'm focusing on tonight is a little further in.  In I Samuel 3, Samuel hears a voice calling his name, and he keeps running to Eli, the priest who raised him, to say, "You called me?  Here I am!"  It took Eli a while to figure out what was happening, but when he did, he explained to Samuel that GOD was calling him, and that he needed to say, "Here I am, Lord!" and listen to whatever God had to say.  Unfortunately, God's message for Samuel was one of warning and punishment for Eli (he had been wicked...), but MY point tonight is this: When God calls, answer.  I'm pretty sure whatever He's about to say is important.

In our case, God's calling to Nathan has been to step out toward preaching ministry, and though that means leaving so much that we love, it also means these next steps are sure to be pretty important.

So what are you being called to tonight?  What will it cost you?  Are you ready to answer?