Bambi on ice, heart in a blender, straight up crazy... those are some of the phrases I'd use to describe this past year in our lives. I've been waiting until everything fell into place and calmed down to write this post. I wanted to be able to see everything from an "aerial view" so to speak. Forgive me, I know its going to be lengthy, but it is more for me than it is for you. I don't want to forget how God molded this all together.
I have to go a little further back in the story to get the full effect. When Eric and I moved here from Raleigh, we began attending my home church. Reluctantly on my part, we began working with the youth group at the urging of one of the leaders. They eventually stole our hearts and we jumped in with both feet. A short time later, Eric was asked to take over the leadership of the student ministry. God grew our faith and our skill set immensely during this time. He also began showing us that church and the Christian life was so much more than what we were accustomed to.
Fast forward a few years and I have left a career field I love to be a more present parent to our girls; the student ministry is growing at a rate faster than the church; we are running around like chickens with our heads cut off, but we love it. A new pastor is hired that shows amazing amounts of promise to turn the tide of stagnation in our church and our hearts are aflutter. Because of what I had learned in student ministry and through technology training in my school job, I stepped into a new volunteer role coordinating production at our new contemporary service. I LOVED THIS JOB! We were flying around, doing it all and very excited. Then, controversy struck, the pastor left and the church was left to maintain the momentum while attempting to heal itself...not an easy task.
Eric and I were crushed because we had poured our lives into building the student ministry and seeing the lost students come to Christ. We had placed so much hope in this man to help us get to the next level church-wide and he failed us. To say we were angry would be an understatement.
Several months later, the church hired another minister who was absolutely wonderful. A very caring and humble man who seemed to be just what our church needed at this point. Our families quickly developed a very close relationship and Eric and I learned a great deal about prioritizing family; narrowing our focus; and slowing down. Unfortunately, the state our church was in at this point was very unhealthy and this family left also. We were crushed, but also blessed by the whole situation.
Eric ultimately gave up student ministry -- a very difficult decision. We re focused our lives on the appropriate "front line" of our ministry, our family. Eventually, we decided that it was time to move on from the church we had served for so many years. We were frustrated and as such very ineffective. We loved the people very much, but felt like it was time to go.
Eric was working from home as a software engineer and was very discouraged about his effectiveness as a Christian. I was working as a teacher and didn't really realize it, but the students were wearing me out and causing me to lose patience with my own children. Our life pace had slowed down very much, but we were still somewhat dissatisfied with the way things were going.
We began attending a new church a little further from home and making connections with people there. I got a call about applying for a job back in my field of expertise in the late spring. After much deliberation, we decided I should go for it. Shortly after, Eric got an email about applying for a ministry position with our new church. Again, after much deliberation we decided he should go for it. We left our jobs; Eric took a hefty pay cut and we are in our new positions.
Amazingly enough, during the time when our lives really slowed down, we each began studying things that ultimately prepared us for our new roles. From the beginning of the journey to the current time; whether we were crushed or uplifted; discouraged or motivated; laughing or crying; God's hand was in it all. He has used every single event to prepare us for where we are today. No tragedy was wasted, no victory was glanced over. Praise be to God.