Friday, May 12, 2017

The Deeper the Roots...

Almost two years ago, we drove this road, never imagining that it would ever become a daily drive for our family.  After close to twelve years at Fairview Baptist, our family is taking a new path, a path that we firmly believe God has directed us to follow.

Back in 2005, we packed all our belongings and traveled to the quaint town of Wake Forest, so that Marty could pursue seminary. We had already been in youth ministry for 4 years, but he desired to learn more and become better equipped for ministry in our future. Notice the word, "future."  We were tired at that point and honestly did not want a ministry job. With a one-year old in tow, no jobs, a contract on a townhome, and his acceptance letter in hand, we arrived in the Raleigh area.  But we soon discovered jobs were scarce, and we really wanted to be together as much as possible as a family.  Through what we only saw as God's providence, our seminary tour guide recommended Marty for his interim position at a church in Apex, NC.  I'll never forget driving down Ten-Ten Road our first Sunday there and feeling overwhelmed at why they would choose us.  

Over the years, Marty's job has changed, slowly increasing in responsibility, from youth to also children's ministry and then to family ministry.  Our family grew from arriving with one little girl to having our three precious young ladies.  We saw members come and go; our students grow not only physically, but spiritually; and our love for this church grow unlike anything we had ever experienced.  

But God has called us to move; this time away from everything we've known and loved.  From the first open door in this process we have slowly walked through, praying through each doorway. When we thought something would close the door, it didn't; instead swinging the door wider. God has used random messages from people over the past several months to confirm this decision.  Daily devotions have reassured us to trust God.  

Isaiah 43:19, "See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?"

Isaiah 58:11, "The Lord will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame.  You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail."

1 Peter 5:7, "Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you."

Even the weekend that we went to visit the church in SC, we prayed for red flags.  I prayed that I would notice every single little thing that could be an issue in whether or not we should go.  Not a single red flag.  The encouragement and connection that God allowed through that weekend confirmed in both of us that He was leading us.  We knew the only thing holding us back from going was the fact that it would be the hardest move of our lives. 

There is no way to explain how hard this process has been. Telling our girls went so much better than we expected. There have certainly been hard days and many, many tears were shed, especially that first week.  But their attitudes have been amazing thus far!  People have commented that "at least we homeschool!?" indicating that it should make things easier.  As much as this could be true, it's not.  There has been just as much mourning over leaving our Thursday homeschool group, our home that is our refuge, and most of all, our church which is all my girls have ever known.  Ministry is our life.  The people in it are our family.  

As much as we are thankful to leave on good terms with no other reason for leaving than the simple fact that God has called, it hurts. Many tears have been shed.  Feelings of guilt over leaving, thoughts of missing out on the amazing things God is doing at Fairview, and the fear of the unknown has gripped all of our hearts. 

But through this whole process, God has constantly reminded us of His promises to never leave us or forsake us. I could not imagine walking through this journey with anyone besides my love and best friend.  He has been so patient with me and has never once pressured me.  Despite moving all my life, this has been the hardest move yet.  We've never known roots could go so deep and the deeper the roots the harder they are to pull out.