Sunday, April 14, 2013

There is a Plan...

I have faith.  Sure I do.  I honestly believe God will work things out.  I just prefer he detail for me exactly how he plans to get me from Point A to Point B.  Funny thing, though: he never does.

I little over a year and a half ago, Nathan stepped out in faith and accepted the associate ministry position at Pleasant View Church of Christ, following God's call toward preaching ministry.  You can read more about that here.  That position has been a proving ground of sorts, an opportunity for Nathan to learn and grow as a minister and hopefully lead some others in growth as well.  He has been blessed to have some fantastic mentors really pour into him, teach him, lead him, admonish him, and encourage him.  He has had opportunities to preach and teach.  He has developed a website and a prayer ministry and started leading the worship team.  He has been privileged to work with some spectacular youth, some of the most talented, goofiest, most sincere kids on this planet.  And he has been humbled to serve alongside the mommies and daddies who raised such kids.  My children have been taught by some of the most creative ladies I've encountered.  My boys cheer when it's time to go to church.  They love it, and that's thanks to the love of these volunteers and staff.  I have been challenged and encouraged by generations of ladies who have taken the time to share their lives with me and allowed me to share my life with them.  We have been blessed.

But we've also been surprised.

When Nate left the Garrett church to work at Pleasant View, we really thought we were in it for the long-haul.  The church had a plan that when the senior minister retired, Nathan would move into that role.  But there was always a clause, an asterisk that said they could decide to keep him in the associate role if they felt that was best.  Al will be retiring soon, and the leadership decided it would be best for Nathan to stay in the associate role.  Their reasons are sensible and God-led.  The church, in order to move forward the way she needs to, will need more of an administrative-style minister.  Nathan is not that kind of minister.  He is relational.  He could stay in the associate role and continue working with youth, families, and worship.  But there's that call on his heart, that call that started years ago.  God called Nate to be a senior minister.  Point A, Point B.

There is a plan.  God knew how all this would work out from the beginning, long before Nate accepted the position at Pleasant View, long before the leadership announced he would not be the senior minister, even long before Nate knew he WANTED to be a senior minister.  While at Pleasant View, there have been some pieces that just haven't quite fit.  Our house didn't sell.  We thought it would.  We wondered if God was wanting us to be patient, or if he was wanting us to step out in faith and move anyway.  We waited.  We wondered why, if we were following God, he seemed to be holding us back.  Sometimes it felt a  We believed God called Nate to Pleasant View for a reason, but we also believed he had been called to senior ministry.  There was a plan.  We just didn't know what that plan was.

When the leadership at Pleasant View decided not to move Nate into the senior ministry role, he prayerfully started sending out his resume.  One church that was looking for a senior minister at the time was a small church in a small town in west-central Indiana.  Nate sent his resume on, not expecting much.  These things take time.

Practically right away, he received a call.  Then an interview.  Then another call.

The job was his if he was willing to accept it.

Pending a congregational vote in a week, Nathan will be the new senior minister at Ladoga Christian Church in Ladoga, IN, starting the first week of June.

God had a plan.  He did not tell me how he was getting me from Point A to Point B, or even what Point B would be.  But he knew.  Not once in all that time of uncertainty did we want for anything.  We had a house with more than enough space.  Cars to drive and gas to fuel them.  A babysitter who loved our kids and did housework so I didn't have to.  Friends who loved us and allow us to love them.  Income to cover our expenses.  Our needs have been met.  God has provided manna and required only that we gather for today and trust him to provide for tomorrow.  And he has.

This morning, our Sunday school class was studying the story of Joshua.  He saw the Promised Land and believed with real faith that they could take it, that God would lead them to conquer the giants so they could claim the land as God had promised.  But the people were afraid of those giants.  So they waited.  For 4 decades.

40 years.

God provided for them as they waited.  They had food.  Their shoes didn't wear out.  God was with them, day and night.  But 4 decades.

Joshua got to enter the Promised Land.  God delivered him to Point B.  The distance between was long, but God provided for Joshua and his people every step of the way.  If Joshua could wait 40 years, there's no excuse for my impatience.  God has no obligation to tell me how he'll get me from Point A to Point B.  He will.  That's enough.  And I truly believe his version of Point B is far better than any I could imagine for myself.

Nathan and I have run the numbers dozens of times, several different ways, and it looks like I'll get to be a stay at home mom after our move.  LCC has a parsonage, and with that and Nate's salary package, it looks like we won't need a full-time income from me.  I have never been a stay at home mom.  I'm sure you can imagine how I feel about this opportunity.  I love my job and believe I'm good at it.  But I have hated that I can only give my family what's left over.  My health is a real challenge, so often by the time I'm home from work, I'm far from my best self.  My family has paid the price for my career, even though I've worked because I've HAD to.  Even with our fairly modest lifestyle, we've never been able to make it on one income alone.  We have always trusted that if God orchestrated our finances in such a way that I needed to work, that he had a purpose in that.  I've seen my teaching career as my ministry.  But by the same token, when God orchestrated our finances in such a way that I no longer needed to work, we immediately saw that God was giving me the blessing of time.  Of energy.  Of health.  Of family.  This is God's will.

My friend Mitzi once explained seasons to me.  I was a new mom and really struggling with the change in my role in Nate's ministry, that I wasn't serving as a youth sponsor or dorm mom anymore.  Mitzi explained that I was in a new season, a season of motherhood, and that like all seasons, it wouldn't last forever.  She said her season of motherhood had been a tough adjustment too, but now as a mother of grown children, her season had changed and she was serving busily again, and missing those days of young motherhood.  She said this was my season and to embrace it, because the season would change soon enough.  Wise words.

Now we're entering a brand new season.  Nathan's entering senior ministry for the first time.  I'm going to be a stay at home mom for the first time and will be stepping out of my career, at least for now.  We are leaving the community we've lived in for the bulk of our  married lives.  We learned to be adults here.  Our children were born here.  Our dearest friends are here.  But God is with us, day and night.  He's providing enough for today and will again tomorrow.  We are somewhere between Point A and Point B right now, and that's OK.  God has a plan.  He had one all along.  I'm blessed and humbled to be a part of that plan.  And I'm so excited to see what's next.