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.
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,