Several months ago God told us it was time to move. And I was NOT happy about it.
I loved our district. Loved the people and the area. Loved my new prayer partner and other budding friendships. I appreciated the quality Sabbath Schools and vibrant family atmosphere. Our families lived within driving distance, and I was content.
Funny, how God likes to take contentment and turn it upside down sometimes!
Just before the new year, my husband got a call asking him to consider pastoring a district three days (and more than a thousand miles) away. He graciously declined, saying that he too was content where God had already placed him. One week later, he got a second call—about a church just on the opposite side of our city. That position was filled internally. Maybe two weeks after that, he got a third call—from a church in Florida.
“God, are You trying to tell us something?” he asked. “Are You hinting that You have another place for us?” He decided that we should honor the process of interviewing, even if it only meant we could freely say “No” at the end. So we accepted the interview. Or rather, he accepted the interview. I wasn’t thrilled.
Yes, I know. Good wives always support their husbands. We are supposed to follow them wherever God calls them to go. We are never supposed to complain. But my heart still wasn’t happy about this possible transition. I wanted to be supportive and delighted for my husband. But I didn’t want to leave a place where I felt safe and loved and secure.
When we traveled to the interview, I thought of every reason why this transition was probably a terrible idea. We were just starting several creative ministries at our current church, I had just accepted a work contract that would be intensely demanding even without the added stress of packing and moving and I could see no good reason to leave.
Even though I didn’t feel like it, I promised my husband that I would keep an open mind and engage with the process. I agreed to give God a chance to change my heart if this was something we were really supposed to do.
After a two-hour interview, we stepped out to allow the 26 church leaders and board members to talk. We knelt together in the church office and prayed aloud. “Lord, we ask for You to show us what we should do,” my husband prayed. “We ask for absolute unity between our current conference and this new one, for unity among the church board members, and for unity on this decision in our marriage.”
I knew that the first part of his prayer had already been answered. We’d been with our current conference for nearly a decade. It felt like family. But just before we’d left for this interview, our ministerial director had approached my husband and given his blessing, should we decide to move away.
After praying together, we sat down to wait. Not five minutes passed before the conference representative and the church’s head elder walked in.
“I’ve never seen this happen before,” the ministerial director said. “The church board just voted unanimously to ask you to be their new senior pastor. Not one dissension, not one hesitation!” My husband and I looked at each other, feeling the significance of the prayer we had just finished. Here was the second answer to our prayer for unity.
We agreed to prayerfully consider the call and give our answer soon. And then we went back to the hotel, driving in silence as we pondered the implications of the evening.
The next morning, we prayed aloud together again. As my husband poured his heart out to God, I still wrestled with my feelings about it all. “Why do we have to move now, God? Do we really have to?” And there, in the quiet of the morning, listening to my husband’s voice, I heard another voice—the inaudible, yet unavoidable, kind—resounding powerfully in my mind.
Just once. I couldn’t get it to come back. I knew, as you know when you’ve heard the Holy Spirit before, that it was the sound of God telling me that this was right. I was wrong. My attitude was wrong. My worries were unfounded. Because if it was His plan, then He was big enough to work out the details.
And He has. We’ve been in this new church for a year now. God has done some amazing things here, and we see evidence that He’s preparing for many more. There have been challenges, but that’s nothing new.
I'm just hoping I don’t forget. So that whenever He calls us next time, maybe I can get on board with the idea a little faster. Because honestly, He knows exactly what He’s doing.