8 years ago a young man realized his desire to go into full-time ministry. Since then he has grown in knowledge and love for the Lord and is the godly man that I have been so blessed to be married to for over 7 1/2 years! (I used to think 5 years was a long time to be married) As I reflect on those 8 years I am humbled by how God has worked in our lives….through working in youth ministry, building a family, moving 8 times, being a part of a Bethel church plant, missions trips, moving to Louisville and so many other learning experiences!
Jon and I used to joke that with not owning a home and how many times we’ve moved that God could be preparing us to just up go at any moment. Little did we know that on September the 8th, 2012 all that would come true! I am so humbled and blessed to think of all the ways God has used His word and His people to encourage us, help us, and carry us to where we are today!
I really hope this post doesn’t make you think that I am trying to say, “Don’t you wish you were us!” But, rather to share God’s amazing GRACE and LOVE and MERCY in a way that will encourage and inspire and do whatever else God wants to do with our testimony:)
As I am writing this and filtering through all God has done up until this point, I am reminded of how He has worked in Jon’s life over the years. In 2003 when Jon and his brother started coming to Bethel I believe Jon’s desire was to go unnoticed…well, that was far from what God had in store for him. When a friend heard that he could sing and play guitar she STRONGLY encouraged him to join a worship team. I have to recount for you the scene of the first few times Jon played on a team… Picture a row of 4-5 singers standing up in front of the sanctuary and Jon nowhere in sight! If you looked close enough you would see THREE music stands at waist level lined up behind the singers and behind that sat Jon! The sweetest and funniest part was that he played his guitar so softly that it wasn’t even heard with the singing and piano! After some time he found his way into playing guitar and singing for youth ministry. This is the context where we got to know each other better. I watched as God grew him in his confidence, abilities and desire to play and sing passionately for God’s glory! As his nervousness wore away and confidence in God grew it was amazing to see the transformation. In all my years as a Christian, my husband’s life is the greatest testimony I have ever seen of the change that comes with the transforming work of the Gospel and the Holy Spirit!
A couple years ago, we had the privilege of being a part of a wonderful church plant team. I saw Jon’s excitement for church planting, sharing the gospel and desire to lead gospel-centered worship grow exponentially. Through some books he read on worship and godly manhood I could see him implementing the leadership he had always longed to have. Over the last 3 years he has blown me away with the songs he’s written and ideas he has come up for both leading in our home and in the church.
Most recently, we’ve gone through a quiet time in ministry over the last year. In the spring of 2011 we stepped down from youth ministry. This was a little hard for me because I had been doing it since I graduated high school and I loved and cherished the young women I had in my small group. I cheerfully resigned along with Jon because he said that he needed to step back so that he could see the direction God would want to take him in musically. It was a great time for me to step down also because I had my third child on the way and was coming to a point where I really want to give complete attention to my husband, children and home! Since stepping down from youth ministry, Jon and I have had more time for each other and for sharing the ministry of our home with others through hospitality. It think that hospitality is one of the most amazing gifts God has given women! I would’ve never realized when I left youth ministry that God would bless our home so much!
Back to the journey…
So, over the last year we started praying about Jon going into full-time ministry, attending school or taking classes online. After much prayer, seeking and affirmation the Lord led us to moving to Louisville! Everything fell right into place by how we were provided for financially, a job for Jon and a wonderful centrally located home. There were some moments of anxiety and questions that went unanswered at different times, but God kept leading us faithfully and steadily in this direction. My favorite bible verses (Proverbs 3:5-8) reminded me to trust in the Lord and to not lean on my own understanding…even when I doubted how things could possible work out!
Over the last few weeks we have had help from so many friends and family that it’s hard to even recollect all that went on! I am so thankful for the box packers, cleaners, meal bringers, truck loaders, and babysitters! For every need there was help to fulfill it! I even hurt my back and had to lay flat for 2 days and had a friend take time off to watch my kids, another 9 month pregnant friend bring over lunch and help with my kids and my mom and husband did SO much to make my recovery quick. On the last day before we moved I watched in awe as unplanned shifts of people came through out the day to accomplish all the last minute cleaning and packing that needed to be finished. I had ladies pulling out windows and cleaning under places I didn’t even know existed. We had a couple men that came early in the day and packed up our truck like pros…After MANY tear-filled good-byes that night (and in the weeks previous too!) we drove away from a clean and empty house. A house we never deserved and one we couldn’t even afford to live in on our own. All 1,600 sq ft of it used by children playing, guitar lessons, meals made and eaten, cook-outs, sleepovers, play-dates and so much more. It was a bittersweet parting, but we left with excitement in our hearts for the next chapter in our life.
When we pulled in at our new apartment we were greeted by a sweet landlady and some dear saints from the new church! The pastor and three young sons worked tirelessly as well as another guy who just arrived from Maryland. A mom and daughter came to help with the children and another sweet gal brought a meal for us to enjoy our first night in our new home. After only a couple short hours everything was in and we were enjoying a delicious meal! The next morning Jon drove our truck driver to the airport (I think he worked harder than anyone else on packing up the truck too!) and along with my mom we went to our first service at the Sovereign Grace Church Plant. We were greeted by kindness, love, and hugs! It was such a blessing to hear that they had been praying for us and were just as excited to see us as we them.
I do not know what the future holds, but I do know Who holds the future…so, as we venture forth into new territory please pray that we will grow in faith, love and passion for sharing the gospel. Pray that we would be knit together strongly as a family and that God would use us to bless others for His glory and the furtherance of His kingdom.
I am an undeserving child of the Almighty God….blessed beyond reason; lavished with grace.
Treasuring my home,
if you have any other stories or things to share about that go along with how God’s worked in our lives that I didn’t talk about please share them below in the comments! I am sure there are many things I forgot 🙂