We are feeling unsettled. About so many things. We so desire to serve the Lord how He wants us to serve Him…can that be living in a middle-class neighborhood in the U.S., leading small group, raising kids/staying home, being active members in church, serving with various other ministries, being generous with our income…? I could go on. In my mind, I feel that list is so…mundane.
I was becoming unsure. We were becoming unsure together. Unsure if I heard the Lord correctly that we wanted us to adopt in the first place. I kept questioning the Lord “why would you tell us to do something, but then follow it up with ‘not now’?” It didn’t make sense to me. He knows we are doers.
“Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders” I’ve been listening to the song Oceans by Hillsong a lot lately.
Where are my borders? How did they get there? How do they get removed?
I started the above blog post about a month ago, I was going to come back and finish it, but I never did. I was more or less just venting how we were feeling. Little did I know the Lord was working.
We can’t put our finger on the exact day…but in about November Nathan and I began to feel unsettled. Like we weren’t doing what we were supposed to be doing. We didn’t know why we felt that way. So for a little while, we just kind of ignored it. Then it started to grow. We started feeling uncomfortable in our house. So we tried new things in the house. A gallery wall, a new shelf here and there, we considered painting. The feeling did not go away. We started to pray for the feeling to go away if it wasn’t from the Lord. And we started looking for a new place to live. Nothing. We kept praying. The feeling did not go away, it only grew. “Maybe we are in the wrong ministry?” we thought. We stepped down from leading our small group right after Christmas to take time to pray, and seek the Lord on what He wants us to do with small group and ministry in general. We went to a few other small groups to see how other groups look. We learned a lot. We met new people. It was a very good and encouraging time. But the feeling did.not.go.away. It kept growing. We kept praying for the Lord to make it very clear what to do and make us willing and available to do it.
Some friends of ours are leaving the US this year to move to East Asia to plant a church. They mentioned to us the possibility of Orphan Care on the ground level for unadoptable children. They weren’t quite sure what that would look like, but they said we could talk about it if that was something we were interested in. We thought maybe this was why we were feeling unsettled. We started praying about it and asking the Lord to give us willingness and open doors if He wanted us there. I can tell you, praying for the Lord to open doors for us to move to East Asia was a huge step for me. If I’m willing to do that, you can just imagine how unsettled we were feeling and how much we wanted to go were the Lord wanted us.
January 19th. 7am. Nathan calls, “So here’s something strange. A guy I haven’t worked with since I was an intern (about 5 years ago) just called me and said he has a job he would like me to apply for…but it’s in Ohio. What do you think about that?” I suddenly felt a mix of emotions, but I said “well, it never hurts to apply and just see what happens.”
Let me pause for a moment to just give the Lord all the credit. He is the One Who changes hearts. Only He could have made us feel uneasy about our place in life. Because by all accounts, our lives here are practically perfect. You could even use the word comfortable. I’m a second generation Tri-City born native that never left. If I don’t know someone, chances are my dad does. The Lord has blessed us with family close by, wonderful relationships, and a solid church that preaches The Word. Only HE is the One Who could put in our hearts to begin to become discontent with being comfortable…to want more and be willing to be uncomfortable.
Fast forward to Wednesday, February 5th. We had put Ohio out of our minds since Nathan’s interview was on January 28th. Suddenly everything began happening so fast. Nathan was selected for the job and they were putting together a final offer for him to sign. Originally they asked him to start on February 17th…but he returns from Haiti the day prior so that was a no-go. The 24th was offered. That would only give him about 5-6 days at home before starting his job. I was overwhelmed with emotions. I know this is from the Lord and I know this is what He had prepared us for…but that doesn’t mean there won’t be pain in the process. They settled on March 3rd but we still had to wait for the final offer to come through. We met with our parents Thursday evening and we prayed the Lord would slam this door shut if this isn’t from Him. He has timing in His hands, and it is prefect to accomplish His will. Nathan was leaving for Haiti on Friday, February 7th, and we weren’t expecting to have his final offer before he left because his new job works 4-10s…meaning they don’t work on Fridays. Nathan texted me when he got to work Friday morning, “I got the offer.” We felt like that was a pretty clear answer, so he signed his paperwork for his new job (and our new life) only hours before leaving the country.
We don’t know why the Lord worked out the timing the way He did. I’ll be honest- it’s not been easy being here without him after a big decision like that. My emotions are raw. I’m excited and nervous all at the same time. I can’t imagine how I would feel if the Lord hadn’t prepared my heart for this change.
So to cut straight to the chase- we are moving to Ohio. Beyond that, I don’t know much at this point. Nathan leaves March 1st or 2nd to begin work in Piketon, Ohio on March 3rd. The kids and I will stay in the Tri-Cities for 3-4 weeks packing and preparing to rent our home. Then he will return home for us, and that’s that.
Many of you know we have publicly expressed our desire to adopt and even made steps toward that journey. All we knew was our hearts desire is to participate in orphan care, but the Lord had made it clear, now is not the time for you to adopt. Perhaps this is an answer why He asked us to wait. Maybe not. All I know is at this point, that’s not the direction He has us going right now. And really when we started feeling unsettled I thought “this is it, we are going to get going on this or perhaps work in missions in some capacity.” After the final offer came on Friday and after Nathan had left, I was pouring my heart out to the Lord. I am grateful for this change and for His answer of “yes” and “this is where I want you.” But I was questioning His plan (brilliant, I know), “Lord, are You sure this is how you want the change to come? I mean, Ohio has churches and disciples…what difference can we make? Are You just calling us to another middle-class American neighborhood? Aren’t we just going to feel we are serving You in the mundane again?” His answer was gentle and true, “It doesn’t matter where I ask you to go…what matters is that you go. And Me asking you to move 34 hours away from everything you’ve ever known is a step of obedience I’m asking you to take…right now.” Ohio isn’t Africa. It isn’t “glamorous” ministry. But it is an act of obedience. He will use Ohio to refine us, of that I have no doubt.
So that’s where we are at in our life right now. There’s a lot of change coming our way, but one thing remains, our commitment to serve the Lord where He has us. We fully intend to grow where He plants us.
We hope you will check in on our blog once in awhile to see how we are doing in Ohio. It’s an adventure the Lord has us on, and we can’t wait to see what He has planned.
A blog I subscribe to had a very appropriate post/message today. It encouraged me and I urge you to read it and DWHTY.