Many of you (if not all of you) know that our crew is getting ready to take a huge leap of faith and venture into the unknown to answer God’s call. As we have been saying our “see you later”s and preparing, I’ve had several people ask if I’ll continue to blog through our new journey… so I realized that maybe I should be a bit more present on here if I’m going to do that!
So, here is a long overdue update in an effort to catch everyone up to speed as to what exactly has gone down in the last couple months and what exactly we are up to!
Back in May, I finished the school year as a teacher and packed up my stuff, knowing that the Lord was calling me out of that season. I was heartbroken, because teaching has been my passion since I was young and in the last few years I’ve been able to couple that passion with my passion for ministry and serving Jesus, and it was a wonderful thing. But, God showed me that just because something is good doesn’t mean it’s for you in that season, and after a hard health year (for myself plus balancing Harper’s needs and my role as a wife and mom), I knew I had to let go.
Now, I thought that meant I was going to enter a year of rest and calm and peace. I had it all figured out- I was going to send the kids to school and have all this time to myself to focus on my walk with the Lord and just be still, and it sounded so lovely. (And I’ll be real- it meant I was looking forward to laying low and not doing much- lazy!).
Then in June we took a small trip as a family, and on the ride back my husband had me searching through ministry opportunities for his friend to see what was out there. We were ready to get home, and I had just said how happy and content I was to be living where we were and how I really didn’t want to move- ever.
As I was reading through these jobs with someone else in mind, one caught my eye… it was a campus pastor position, but they wanted military experience, which was unusual. I skipped on past it, but the Lord circled me back to it, and I read it to Kirby. Then we saw the location- Twentynine Palms, CA, right outside Joshua Tree National Park, where we just happened to visit a few years ago for our anniversary. (Side note- California has been an ongoing joke in our family for years now. Kirby has been for military work and fell in love with it, so the girls always hound him about “Cali.” We’ve been buying him shirts, posters, even a map pillow- but all in jest, never imagining we would go there!!)
We tried to convince ourselves that we would never move to California, but God just would not let the conversation die. So we looked into the church and found that it was to be a satellite church for a much larger church under a very well-known pastor- and Kirby convinced himself that he didn’t have a shot in the world at that kind of opportunity!
But God. He didn’t let us rest in our excuses, and we decided for Kirby to at least put his name in. From there the process flew. He had multiple calls and interviews, and in no time they were making arrangements to fly our family out to meet everyone in person and see the community.
At various points we pondered stopping the process. It was big and scary. But our motto has always been to keep going until God closes the door. So we traveled to California, all the while looking for doors to close.
The doors didn’t shut. Instead, God sent reminders of His presence and provision every step of the way. We met with a few people from our new congregation, and just in that group of 3-4 people we met a nurse, a junior high teacher and track coach, a parent of a child with special needs, two people with hearts for youth, and a lady with family in North Carolina. They were so welcoming and it just felt like home. At one point we stood in the courtyard in the dirt and hot sun and realized it was just like a place Kirby and I had visited on a mission trip in Cambodia years ago when we first felt that little tug to do something more. It was a feeling of coming full circle.
Every other concern we had was null and void. The numbers game played out perfectly. Our house sold in days. We were able to put a contract on a great house in a great location out there. We found a moving company with ease. We ended up getting an RV for travel out there and found a temporary house to rent until ours closes at just the right time (it wasn’t there when we first looked, and then showed up right when we needed it to!). Harper’s neurologist referred us to a neuro program out there, and when we researched it we discovered that it happens to be one of the top epilepsy centers in the US.
Most importantly, we see the fields ready for harvest. We are going to a dry and thirsty land (quite literally as we’re going to the desert!), and the opportunities for God to work are endless. There is a community in need. There is a large military base of men and women serving our country, of husbands and wives trying to navigate rocky roads, of families being moved around and separated by deployments. There are people who need the hope of Jesus, and we cannot wait to go share it with them.
No, this season doesn’t look quite like what we had in mind. But God’s story is always so much better, and we are honored and humbled to be used by him, not just individually, but as a family. The best is yet to come…
Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. (Isaiah 43:19)