A New Step On A Familiar Journey

OceanLife twists and turns in strange ways. It would be easy to try fighting the flow but I’ve found that’s rarely productive. Better to ride the swells of change. Our hearts grow and expand when we embrace life for what it is instead of wrestle it into a false submission. That’s where I find myself, and daily I’m putting my shoes of faith on and walking in trust for each moment.

It’s been a month since I posted an update about what’s happening in our lives. The current of life has lifted us out of the comfortable and pushed us into the deep waters of change. Chris’ position at our church comes to an end in June. It’s been a bitter-sweet, pressing into Jesus kind of season.

The very same day I posted about our desire to stay invested in our community and pursue non-profit ministry, God put his two cents in. In March when we first learned our ministry position would be ending Chris and I agreed we would not pursue a move until God clearly led us to. Our conditions were that we would need to be contacted about a church position and it would be a senior pastorate. The evening I posted about starting the non-profit we got a text from a pastor friend in Indiana telling us that the superintendent of his district in our denomination had asked about Chris. He wanted to know if he was available to submit his resume to a church for the senior pastor role at a church in Indiana.

I pitched a fit. Why the day I posted our plans would God introduce this new factor? Why another move when we had worked so hard to invest where we were? But in the morning I felt peace. There was no point in fighting the why, change was calling and I recognized it’s voice. God has confirmed, through the church body and our own hearts, that he has designed us for full time pastoral ministry. We’re trusting him to lead us through the change and into peaceful waters again.

We believe in the vision we had for the center, but one thing that has become clear in the last few weeks is that we believe that the vision of outreach is best extended through the local body. This time of change has given us the opportunity to reaffirm some of our deepest beliefs.

We still believe that ministry happens best over the long haul of investing intentionally in people’s lives. We believe in putting down roots, in becoming a part of a community. We had hoped that would happen in our current home and it started to, but sadly it  didn’t last. It’s our prayer that in our next church we will find a place to belong for a long time.

I bear wounds from years of upheaval and disappointment. For thirty one years I’ve been a part of a ministry family, I’ve learned it just goes with the territory. Strangely, I’ve found that those wounds, when bathed in grace, turn sweet and not bitter. It’s the story of life though, isn’t it? We all bear hurts and disappointments, grace is the salve that heals us all. When we’re unafraid of the deep and plunge in faith restores, grace heals.

So now our family waits in the strange, uncomfortable in-between, caught between sorrow and hope. It’s not time to say goodbye or hello. Chris’ resume has been reviewed by the church in Indiana, now we’re waiting for the phone call to see if we move to the next step of an interview or not. But if not that church, then certainly it will be another.

In the waiting God has reminded me that a blessing is a blessing regardless of it’s duration. It has been a blessing to be a part of our current church family, and we will cherish our home and relationships here as long as we can.

Thank you friends and family for praying, encouraging, and offering our hearts a safe place to land on this journey. We love you. Please continue praying for God’s direction for us in our lives and for endurance while we wait.

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