It began earlier this year, around the same time winter began to give way to spring. It started small, creeping up on me in the middle of those night I couldn’t sleep. It began showing up on the drive in to the office, or on a walk in the afternoon, or in a random thought in the middle of a conversation.
I had felt it before, over a decade ago, this unsettling feeling that something was changing, that something was coming. That first time, it was the beginning of my move from the only job I thought I’d ever have, a sales rep in the furniture industry, into the uncharted waters of teaching middle school history and Bible. With a toddler, and just having found out we had another baby on the way, it was a big move for my wife and I. However, God’s hand was so clearly on the details, we knew it was what He was calling us to do.
I felt it again just two years later, a stirring in my heart that told me my time in the classroom was coming to a close. I had no idea what I was going to do, but the one thing that was clear was that the door was shutting on my time in the classroom. As we prayed for guidance, and as the weeks passed, one Sunday morning my pastor approached me and asked me to pray about coming on staff at our church. After getting my head to stop spinning, and after a few months of prayer, we knew the Lord was calling us to take that step.
As a result of that step, for the past 6 1/2 years, I’ve had the privilege of serving our church family as an assistant pastor and worship leader. I had no intentions of doing anything else. Through good times and bad, through trial and blessing, through successes and failures, when you know that you know that you know God has called you, you continue. You go on. You persevere. Not because of your strength, but because of His. Serving the Lord and my church these past few years have given me a much better understanding of God’s words of reassurance to Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:9:
“My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”
Amen. I remember telling my pastor when I accepted the position at church that I didn’t feel remotely qualified for it. His response? “Good! God doesn’t call the qualified! He qualifies the called!” Anything good that has happened through me since that day is 100% proof!
But then, this year, the stirring began again. I didn’t know what God was doing, but I knew (from past experience) that He was doing something. And those close to me knew it, too, even if I was unable to share it with them. They saw something in me (I’ve never been good at hiding my emotions), sensed something different. Many would ask what was wrong. My pat answer was all I really knew to say: “I’m good…just pray…God is doing something.”
And that was the truth. It may have left them thinking I was being evasive, but I didn’t know what was happening, what was coming…at least not for a long while. What may seem like a really quick change for those watching us from afar was, in actuality, a year-long journey, and it was a journey that Amanda and I had to make alone. In fact, one of the most amazing things about this path we’re on is how the Lord began stirring in each of us separately…slowly…methodically. He was bringing us both to the same place, and He was doing it in His way, in His time.
Sometimes you don’t see the next step, and so you wait. Sometimes, you know something is happening, but God tells you to stand still, to be patient. That was pretty much the first half of 2016 for us.
“Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the LORD!” (Psalm 27:14)
But finally, near the end of June, He began to speak quite clearly and loudly, as to what He was doing. Finally, the waiting was turning to a “go.” And boy was it ever a go!
But I’ll let my wife fill you in on that next step on the journey.