As I sat in church today praising God, I realized I needed to tell our story.
As the Psalmist said 57:9-10....
I will praise you, Lord, among the nations;
I will sing of you among the peoples.
For great is your love, reaching to the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches to the skies
I realized I need to tell of His faithfulness to us...
A year ago, my husband lost his job.
It is hard to believe it has been a year.
But the Sunday we were extended a call to pastor a church in Arizona was a year, to the day, that the elders of our last church announced they were letting us go.
It's been a year of ups and downs, of trusting God, of finding out what that really looks like, of having everything I thought I could control ripped out of my hands and finding in that place of utter dependence on Him.....there is peace.
But I started out that year hurt, angry and worried.
God immediately started working on the hurt and anger.
First showing me my pride....in thinking that if I was serving him faithfully in ministry it shouldn't be this hard. And revealing to me that I had my fists tightly clenched on things I considered "off limits" to him... as he slowly peeled them away.
He showed me his sovereignty in that though the elders had made the choice of letting Steve go, He ultimately was in control.....so who should I be mad at?
And slowly and gently He brought me to the point of complete trust. To the place where I could honestly say.....I trust you Lord, my times are in your hands. (psalm 21:15)
Over the year, we had many situations that tested that trust....
*our transmission started going out in my car in June.
dash lights going off, bad noise when shifting gears. So we prayed about it, asked God to take care of it and took it in to the shop. We got a call the next day that they could not find one thing wrong with the car and to come get it. God has miraculously sustained our car this whole year, even with the lights still going off!!
*our severance ran out.....he has provided everything we needed.
Right before Christmas, a friend told us that God laid on their hearts to give us $250...an unbelievable gift! When we got home from Houston the 1st of January, we found that our upstairs heater had quit...ugh. So we had the repair man out and when he handed the bill to Steve it was.....$250.70....no kidding.
*We came in 2nd at SIX churches.
As we started this process, Steve and I prayed that at each church we talked to we would be able to first and foremost leave them a little closer to God from spending time with us...no matter the outcome. We received emails from people on many of those search committees later telling us how we had changed them and our vision had caused them to look at their lives differently.
One woman had been living in her neighborhood for 5 years and had never had contact with her neighbor across the street...in fact she had been warned to stay away from him because he was a bit crazy and had guns. After talking to us (our passion is reaching out to neighbors....those God places in your immediate life) she began praying for her neighbor and within a few days the neighbors wife knocked on her door with some fresh strawberries from their garden! And a door was opened to a new relationship!!
But through it all, I knew that God had a place for us and that He just wanted us to wait on Him for it....no matter how long it took.
I prayed that where ever that place was, that they would want us....we wouldn't be a 2nd choice. That they would really see that the gifts Steve and I had to offer were a perfect fit for their church.
And deep inside, I prayed my hearts desire...that I would be closer to my parents. I have always lived so far from them and as they grow older, it is my desire to be near them.
We began talking to the church in Arizona in the fall. Since all of my family is in Arizona, I tried not to get my hopes up!
In Feb, they told us we were 1 of 2 final candidates and that they would like to have us come out and visit and have Steve preach.
As Steve prepared his sermon before we left, he told me that God had actually given him the sermon back in the fall. He felt it was what he was called to preach wherever he was sent to candidate. And as he put the final touches on it, he said "Sara, if I don't get the job it won't be because of my sermon."
We went out to Arizona for the weekend and fell in love with the people. The other candidate had been there the week before and we knew they had liked him. We expected to find out who they felt called to in the next week or so. However, on the Sunday that Steve preached they extended us the call!! We were having a potluck after church and the committee had been meeting while we were visiting with the congregation. When they announced it to the people at the potluck (after talking to us and our accepting...and my crying)....the people stood up and CHEERED! The excitement was amazing and a true answer to my prayer.
Later, as we talked to someone on the committee, they told us that it was Steve's sermon that pushed them over the edge toward us......another answer.
So, after waiting and trusting for a full year, God has brought us to a place that is a perfect fit for us. A place where the people see our gifts and are excited to come along side us to do ministry.
And to top it off, I will be moving to the place that is the desire of my heart!! Arizona!! I grew up in Arizona and I will be only 4 hours from my parents.
Let me tell you today....
God's love never fails!
Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart.