In June of 2011, some of the leadership on the Indianapolis District changed. Almost immediately, Aaron contacted our new District Superintendant and scheduled a meeting with him. They had breakfast and our new DS, Dr. Blake, laid out a pretty clear plan of action for Aaron. Some of it was things he was already doing but Dr. Blake added a few more things he wanted Aaron to do so he would be ready for his next interview with the credentials board. For the last year Aaron's been faithfully fullfilling Dr. Blake's request and following his plan of action.
Knowing that the meeting was getting closer we formulated a plan. We had already decided that if the outcome of this meeting was not favorable, Aaron would probably step away from ministry and would continue to persue something else. We discussed him going back to school and getting another degree that wasn't ministry related so he could get a better secular job. I knew that Aaron was in a better place than he'd ever been, and so was I, and our marriage too. We'd grown so much over the last few years. Walking through the wilderness together had changed our relationship. I often tell myself, if we made it through all that craziness, there isn't anything we can't walk through together. Knowing all this, I struggled with our decision. I didn't feel like the Lord was finished with us in youth ministry yet. The Lord led us down this path for a reason and giving up just seemed like defeat. But, we'd agreed that even if God's path didn't lead to full time ministry we were still willing to be used in other area's of ministry.
In early May of this year, Aaron recieved an email asking him to pick a time to have his meeting. We agreed on a time and just started praying. I prayed specifically that if we had to go through all this again, that God would just give us the words to tell our story clearly, concisely, and in an unbiased way. The meeting was scheduled for June 2nd at 10 am. For the few days leading up to the meeting, it seemed like all we could talk about. We were anxious to just get it over with. I'm so thankful that during this time we were surrounded by many people that were so encouraging to us and that prayed for us.
On Sat, June 2nd, we got up, got ready and headed to the meeting. I can honestly say, this day was probably one of the biggest days in the life or our ministry so far, but even still, we were both at peace. Answer to prayer #1. We'd been praying that we'd be excepting of what God's will for our life was. We pulled into the parking lot at the church, prayed together in the car briefly and headed in. We waited for a few mins and then they called us in. We met with 5 Pastors from Nazarene Churches in the Indianapolis area. Answered Prayer #2. Aaron and I were so much more comfortable infront of 5 pastors instead of the whole board, which is like 15 or 20 pastors. We sat down with them and they asked us the basic cursory questions- name, tell about ourselves and our family, etc. They asked Aaron a few questions about where he wanted to head in ministry, and then they prayed with us and told us the meeting was over. I didn't want to seem too obvious but I glanced over at Aaron like... wait, they missed something. We shook thier hands and walked out of the room. I. WAS. STUNNED. Not one single word was breathed about what had happened in North Dakota. We later found out that all the pastors on the advisory board new all the circumstances of our story and they decided that it wasn't worth Aaron rehashing. Answer to prayer #3 (a prayer we didn't even pray). We basically floated out of the church. Even though we didn't know the outcome, just the fact that God carried us through that meeting so effortlessly, we were elated and basically in shock.
For the next few days we waited in anticipation. We tried to pull bits of information from other pastors that might have known the "verdict" but we got nothing. We prayed for patience. On Mon night, Aaron got online to check his email and this is what was waiting for him...
It was a joy to have you interview with us this past weekend! I am honored to report to you that the Indianapolis District Board of Ministry has made a recommendation to the District Assembly for granting of your first district license.
We may or may not have done a happy dance that was a few years coming. Thank You, Lord! The monkey was gone. I'm smart enough to know that our story is not over. It will never be over. God led us down this road for a reason. We had these experiences for a reason and even though I may never know what those reasons are there was a purpose behind all of this. As I've been sharing this story over the last month, I've had alot of people tell me... What a testimony! I guess I've never really looked at it that way. Up until last month, it was just part of our life. It was never something I considered sharing with anyone as something for God to use. If I had sat down with God over Starbucks in October of 2008 and he showed me the path we were about to embark on I would have laughed and walked away. But I'm so thankful that even through all the pain, anger, frustration, hopelessness, fear, you name it, God was faithful to us. Even when I didn't want to see it and even when I couldn't see it, God was there.
Aaron will formally recieve his License in a special service on July 29th. It will be a day of much celebrating! It wouldn't seem right for me to tell this story and conclude it without thanking Aaron. I was somewhat of an innocent bystander in this story and yet I have acted like a victim over and over again. He's been patient with me, reassuring me even when I'm sure he didn't believe his assurances himself. He's been steadfast in working towards getting his license back and I'm thankful for his faithfulness. I know that He's questioned exactly what God was/is doing with his ministry but he never let it shake his faith. I love you, Aaron. I'm proud of you and how far you've come. I'm excited to be able to walk this road with you and just as I'll be standing next to you when you recieve that new license on July 29th, I'm excited to be standing next to you in ministry, now and for many years to come!