On Saturday, Aaron and I found out that the local leaders of our denomination had decided not to renew Aaron's license as a pastor in the church. There's lots of technical stuff that I won't bore you with, but basically he was given the choice to start the 4 yr ordination licensing process over again for the 3rd time (you can read a little bit about that here, here, here, andhere.) or do nothing. After much prayer and discussion, we've decided that we'll be stepping away from ministry all together and not starting the licensing process over at this time.
We've purposed to be intentional in praying for God's will in our life. We've been praying that God would open and close doors for us, whether that be in ministry, for moving, for our girls, for pretty much everything. Our desire is that God's will is accomplished in and through our lives. But, we've been praying this within the scope of our daily lives. We knew that we're coming up on big decisions about moving, and Emmy starting school, and we've been praying for God to lead us into a (non bivocational) full time ministry position. When we prayed for God to open and close doors in ministry, we never dreamed that it would be moving us out of ministry completely.
I must admit that over the last few days I've swung on the pendulum of emotion. I've been angry, and sad, and felt betrayed. I've grieved for my husband, and I've grieved for our vocational ministry. But, I've also rejoiced in the fact that I trust in a God who has plans to prosper us and not to harm us.
As we sat down to sort through all of our emotions and refocus our prayers, an over arching theme started to present itself to us- freedom. Not freedom in the sense of we're escaping from something bad, but that for the first time since we've been married, we're not tied to a full time ministry position or the requirements of ordination in the church. We don't have to be here or there for any specific purpose unless the Lord leads us.
And right now, that "freedom" has lead us to the decision to relocate. We knew that we were moving anyways, but now our scope is just currently a little different. We're working on a very fast timeline, about 70ish days, but we're hoping to make a move in late May up to northern Indiana/northwest Ohio. It's something that we've talked about for a very long time, but until now, we've been tied to our obligations here through church. It hasn't been an easy decision though, as it would be moving away from what we've known. Living here in Indy is all my girls know. We have family here, we love the church we attend. The members have become extended family. And it's hard making a move to what seems to be nothing. No friends, no church, right now no job, no home. But we know that God is faithful. We've learned by now that our ways are not God's ways, so we're confident in the fact that if this change doesn't happen in "our" timeline, remaining here in Indy is ok too- it's our work in progress plan B.
And we know that God is not done with us. As we were laying in bed a few nights ago, Aaron knew I was battling sadness and frustration. He grabbed my hand and reminded me that ministry isn't limited to a full time position. It isn't a title that someone has. It's an attitude of the heart. And we can do it anywhere, at any time. I know that. In my heart of hearts I know that. But, it doesn't change the little bit of a painful ache I have over knowing that right now, our life in full time (bi)vocational ministry is on hold indefinitely. But, I know the calling that God has placed on our lives. I know and experience daily the passion Aaron has for teenagers coming to know the Lord.
I trust God's character. Even right now when I feel broken and we're being emptied. Because I know that God is working all things together for his good. For his purposes. We would appreciate your prayers during this time of transition. We'd appreciate understanding in our moments of grief. We hope that you can rejoice with us as we start this new chapter of our lives. I'll be blogging as I can and want to be able to continue to share how God's revealing himself to us. I love you guys and pray for you daily. Thank you for all the love and support you've given over the last 2 years!