God was doing a unique work in my life during the summer after I resigned from my first church ministry. I was working as many hours as I could at UPS and trying to make the best of the circumstance. God was providing for us in many ways, as our mortgage was paid and we had the food we needed. I was not without my questions, but God was beginning to provide some answers to the situation.
As I mentioned last week, I had spent a lot of time sending resumes to a whole bunch of churches. I had also spoken with several and always was turned down. At the beginning of the summer I had sent my resume and cover letter to a church on Cape Cod. This I had forgotten about since so much time had passed.
One day toward the end of the summer I received an e-mail from the church asking me if I was still looking for a position. I had an initial phone conversation with the pastor and agreed to a phone interview to follow-up. I was starting to feel discouraged and I had been asking God for some encouragement, anything would be fine. The next week I was at work and my wife called crying. At this point all I could think was “now what?” It turned out that her tears were happy tears as they wanted to bring us out for a weekend to visit the church and do some face to face interviews. God had answered my prayer for some encouragement.
We prepared to go for a visit, even making a surprise trip to the Emergency Room in order to get stitches in my son’s head. He was jumping on the couch at grandma’s house and hit his head on the coffee table. A few days later, we went for a visit and did all of the things that go into a candidate weekend. It was an awesome place and we felt like things went well. When I returned I went back to work and waited to hear more. I was initially hired as a summer temporary worker, but since I did so well they created a permanent position for me. Once again, I was grateful for God’s faithfulness to us. A few weeks later, I went out to Cape Cod again, this time by myself, to go through some more interviews and meetings with the church. Then I waited. There was a certain night that I knew I was going to hear either way about this job. I got home from my work at UPS that night and sat in the chair with the phone in my hand. It seemed like a long time, but the phone finally rang and the position was mine, if I wanted it. That was an emotional time because it felt like finally God had led us to something else. We would find out later that this short experience at the church had actually been to my benefit because the new church saw it as a real bonus that I had been through the fire and still wanted to serve in ministry. This process also grew me up in a hurry in ministry. I was able to enter the new role with a better understanding of conflict resolution and how not to take things personally.
The only other thing we needed was to get our house sold because the thought of having it sit there empty in the winter did not excite me at all. The market was not exactly booming, but God can do anything. We had our date to move and we were going in faith whether our house was sold or not. Just days before we left, we got an offer on the house that got us out of the loan and gave us a little bit left over. We moved and our house sold just in time with the closing scheduled after we moved. God’s timing was perfect. This was also a really helpful confirmation that we were in the place God had for us.
The blessings were tremendous. We went to Cape Cod, which was beautiful. It is a place that many people would love to live, but can’t. The church was healthy and the people were reaching out to us. Our family was getting situated and ready to welcome child number two.
Looking back, I realize that while that time in our life was very challenging, it was actually necessary. We were reflecting on that recently and realized that God had brought us to the place where we had no control, all we could do was trust Him. We realized that He had our best interest in mind for His glory.
There was healing that needed to take place and over time it did. It came full circle a little over a year a go when we returned to that town. The part of town we lived in had been hit with a tornado and we thought we would drive into town while in the area. We did. It was emotional, as some of the sights brought back bad memories. But, it was healing. The most beautiful part of it for me was when we were leaving I suddenly was aware of what was playing on my I-pod. It was the song “Beautiful Things” by Gungor. God had truly taken a mess and made something beautiful out of it. He had taken what looked like a barren land and caused something marvelous to grow.
We have now passed five years here and are doing well. All glory to God for leading and upholding us. We are grateful to be in the place we are and for the people we have met as a result.