Sunday, March 29, 2015

Our Story

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 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 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 $ 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.....$ 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 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 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 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!

Psalm 37:3-4 
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.


Growin' with it said...

I sure love you and your beautiful heart dear friend. I've learned a lot from you through this trial. Thank you for being such an amazing example. Rejoicing with you!!

The Bug said...

Tears here... so happy for you guys!

Mari said...

Sara - this is a goosebump post! I have appreciated your testimony throughout this. You and Steve have been faithful in this wait, and as always God has taken care of you. I love that He is even bringing you to Arizona!

Darla said...

the CHEERED! I love that. So happy for you both.

Sara@iSass said...

I echo what Linda said! I love your heart and have learned so much from you! ron and I had our own opportunity to completely lean into Gods loving arms and rest, while He worked. It was not easy, I'm a doer. He was and is ever faithful! I feel more blessed having had those trials, because I feel Gods love for me more then I did, more then I would have having not had the chance to let Him wrap me in His holy arms. Sara, I'm so happy and excited for you and Steve and your new church home. Also, I REALLY want to hear that sermon!!

Rebecca Jo said...

Its those trials & waiting that I think you will be even more RICHLY rewarded when you get to heaven... Well done good & faithful servant! :) You made it!!!

Jackie said...

I am beyond excited, thankful, relieved, and overjoyed on your behalf. :) God always knows what He's doing, doesn't He? Cannot wait to follow along as your journey continues!

KanLab said...

How you can still touch my heart and make me cry from so far away only shows to me you are a living testament to God's will in your ever changing daily walk with Him. You and Steve are still showing me what it means to be a Christ follower, like you did so long ago in your living room...In one of my lowest times in a very long time, you still can make me see that God is so close, if only I let myself be open and vulnerable. I still am far from perfect, as most Christ followers are, and I still have a long way to go in the obedience category. You have reminded me to persevere and not give up, because He has never given up on me or anyone.... Thank you for sharing this post and your journey, and for being ever faithful.
You and your family still amaze and inspire...Thank you.

April's adventure said...

yay God!!

Noel Riles said...

And, your house sold in four days! AMAZING - it all gives me chills!

Lisa said...

Such a beautiful testament of God's faithfulness. Thank you for allowing all of us to share in it with you.

So neat to see what He will do with your newly-molded hearts. :)


Arizona! How awesome! What a wonderful journey to be embarking on. Prayers be with you.