“Hold on. I’ll tell you in a second.”
I ignored Justin’s sly smile and desire to entice me with some kind of exciting (maybe?) news. I know him. He can’t hold anything good in for very long.
He then went on to tell me about Southeast Christian Church and the tailor made position that was open. We laughed together as he read the job description because it sounded like he had written it himself for his gifts and passions. Looking back, I think he was saying “uh oh” because he knew this was all too good to be true, but if it did come true, we’d be leaving our comfort.
While Justin had found the church online, I was researching seminaries with a biblical counseling degree. All summer I spent time praying, reading and processing a career change. Southern Baptist Theological Seminary kept coming back to mind, even in the midst of looking at a myriad of different programs and schools. We knew for awhile that I was being called to attend seminary and we started to look into places where that could happen.
There was something about Louisville. It was undeniable.
I can’t quite put into words how God has provided for us through this journey. We decided to spend my fall break in Louisville visiting Southern Seminary, but we were able to do so much more that set the ball rolling for the rest of our story.
When I visited Southern I learned about their Biblical Counseling program that aims to meet the hurting people of this world with the healing of Jesus and his Truth. I’ll write about why this excites me and why I want to change careers in my next post, but I knew I wanted to spend my next two to three years in this program.
Justin got to start the interview process with Southeast and the Lord made it clear that this was it. We spent time with the middle school staff members—a group of people passionate about reaching sixth to eighth grade students and their families with the Gospel. What a joy. If you know me, you know that is the combination of all of what I love. What an encouragement to see the ministry they are doing at Southeast.
A few more interviews, meetings, and phone calls later and we said an excited and all-in “Yes!” when they asked Justin to join the Middle School team as the Groups Pastor.
Meanwhile, I applied for Southern Seminary and got accepted to start taking class full time in the fall. I’ll have to finish my school year at Hamilton before I get to join Justin in Louisville full time. Until then, we will learn how to be more intentional in loving each other as we live apart through the week and see each other on the weekends.
These next five months will be tough and trying, but also exciting and encouraging. Our culture tends to run from and get past the tough times instead of embracing what God will do in the midst of it. It doesn’t seem like perfect timing at all—especially saying tearful goodbyes to my dear high school friends and leaders in the middle of the year. But can we praise God when the timing doesn’t seem perfect? Can we praise him when he provides in big and small ways, but the situation isn’t quite what we expected? Can we praise God in the mess? I want to embrace this season instead of putting my head down and getting through it. If God promises that his word never returns void, then I get to live my days with purpose, knowing nothing is in vain.
Our desires and passions as a team have always been to be in ministry together. We love the church. We love students. We love discipleship. We love doing ministry with other people who love students. We love joining God where he is working.
Following Jesus means things aren’t always easy, but he does promise goodness. Sometimes it means painful goodbyes and seasons where the valley seems endless. Sometimes it means leaving what is comfortable and easy and going somewhere where you have to take God at His Word. He promises to do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine, but will we ever experience that if we don’t say “yes”?