Thursday, July 7, 2011

Day 7: Choosing the Red Pill... Again




Well, I've been wondering where I should go from here. And thanks to a new friend in my new home of Conway, Arkansas, I think I've got my topic. Commenting on my Matrix post yesterday (Which pill will you choose?), my new friend asked me if I'd explain my relocation to Arkansas. So bear with me as I try to sort out the details in far less time than I usually commit to my posts. Here goes...

After nine years of ministry at Strong Tower Bible Church in Franklin, Tennessee, my husband began to feel that tugging in his heart again. After months of prayer, he felt burdened to plant a new church. And he believed God was moving him to plant a church very much like Strong Tower -- racially diverse. After more prayer, he felt God drawing us to the Washington, D.C. area.

So after a year of support-raising and a beautiful send-off by Strong Tower, we were on our way to Northern Virginia. Just like when we moved to TN, I was excited to see what God was going to do. Anthony and I both believed He would do great things in and through us as we once again committed to take the more challenging road of faith. And although I knew I'd miss our church and friends in Tennessee, I was thrilled to relocate to an area so close to my home of Maryland. As a matter of fact, we'd be less than an hour and a half from family.

Well, for several months things were going slowly, but well. We had a core team of a few folks that followed us from Strong Tower, and we began to build a small, but solid bible study group. Our group was very diverse as well. Things were going as planned.

However, about six months into our time there, I started getting an uneasy feeling about things. I began praying fervently, asking God to speak to me. And speak to me He did.

What He had to say wasn't exactly what I wanted to hear.

In our beautiful subdivision, we had walking/riding trails throughout the neighborhoods. I called my walks on these trails my prayer walks. I would walk and talk to God out loud, hoping that anyone who happened to hear or see me would think I was talking to someone using a blue tooth device. Anyway, it was on one of these walks that I felt God saying (not audibly, but on a spiritual level) that He had something else for Anthony to do in ministry.

So, what did I immediately do? Of course I told my husband what God said. However, things didn't go as smoothly as they had during that plane ride from Nashville when I told Anthony I felt like God was calling us there. This time the conversation went a little more like this:

"Anthony," I said. "God told me he doesn't want you to plant this church in Northern Virginia. I think He's got something else for you to do."

"What?!" he exclaimed. "What are you talking about? If He doesn't want me to plant this church, then why did we move to Northern Virginia? If He doesn't want me to plant this church, then what does He want me to do?"

I swallowed hard, then commenced to stutter. "Uhhh. Well, ummm, He didn't exactly give me all the details. I just know He's got something else for you. But, I don't really know what the something else is."

And you can imagine the frustrated response of my husband, who'd packed up his family of six and moved them cross-country. The man who'd clearly heard God say plant a church. The man who had sacrificed much and followed God hard. Let's just say his response wasn't very good. To say things were a bit tense between us is an understatement.

And so it went for the next few months -- until God intervened.

Messages to us were coming from everywhere. It became clear that God was definitely up to something. We still didn't know exactly what. Frustrated, but wanting God's best, Anthony decided to place the church plant on the altar. Like Abraham had placed Isaac on the altar for God, Anthony did likewise. He committed his ministry back to God.



Within weeks, a pastor of a multi-ethnic church in Little Rock, Arkansas sent Anthony a direct message on Twitter to call him on his personal phone line. Anthony had met this guy at a couple of conferences, but had only connected with him through Twitter since then. So, he was shocked when this pastor asked him to pray about joining his church staff in Little Rock. The pastor, Mark DeYmaz of Mosaic Church of Central Arkansas (www.mosaicchurch.net), had begun a church plant in Conway, a smaller town thirty minutes from Little Rock. He believed God wanted Anthony to consider becoming the campus pastor of this new church plant.



Needless to say, this position at Mosaic proved to be the "something else" that God had for Anthony. We had no idea the something else would relocate us once again, after only one year. We didn't know the something else would take us away from our family again, and farther south at that! We didn't have a clue how challenging our transition would be, uprooting our lives and our children's lives.

But once again, God has been faithful. Once again, He's blessed us for our obedience. Once again, He's proven that He can be trusted -- even with the difficult choices He calls us to make.

I've chosen to follow His lead, no matter what. Will you?

Purposed For Him,

Carla

9 comments:

  1. This post gave me chills, and then the giggles. I can hear and see Pastor Ant's responding to you saying where you were was not where you should be. Oh I love it. Again, blessing in obedience. :)

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  2. Wow. I never knew the full story. Thank you for sharing! Once again I see a common thread in our hearts. You said YES to God and He blessed it. I LOVE it! This faith journey is something else. I find comfort in the fact that we aren't the only ones enduring transition for the Kingdom. Ya'll have done it too. :)

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  3. Thanks Michelle! Yeah, I can giggle about it now too. I can assure you, we weren't giggling much back then! :-) Appreciate you, Girl!

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  4. Thanks Monique! Transition is hard, but blessed if in obedience to Him. You'll experience that very soon! Appreciate you and your obedience.

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  5. Love the journey of obedience and calling! Thanks Carla for sharing your heart.
    The wonderful and reassuring thing is that God has your script completely written... and mine too! Awwwwww ....we can truly rest in that one fact!
    Lunch or coffee this next week? Give me a ring:-)

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  6. I love hearing the whole story! It truly shows your faith and commitment to the Lord. It also shows us an example of honesty in marriage. You could have sugar coated Pastor Anthony's response and I glad you didn't! Taking the mask off and being real!

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  7. Thanks Sheryl! You've been a great example of being real and honest!

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  8. What a serious obedience! It could have been easier to give it another year before uprooting again (humanly speaking), but yet the committment to obedience was stronger. I fear that scenario if/ when we move to another city. I've been wanting it badly but just a little over the last 5 months have I started seriously fasting and praying about it and asking God to light a path for seeing the best decision(s). I feel our whole family needs change, but does that change require a change in zip code? Might just be a change of church or a change of attitude. A "Faith-Lift" for sure, but how or where? That's the interesting part that only God knows. Thanks for sharing. Your post is encouraging. "Not our will, but God's".

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  9. Thanks Zarina! Keep praying. In time God will speak to you and your husband. Trust me, as you see I've been there a few times! :-)

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