Read part one here.

Later that same afternoon I was down in the basement pulling out fall clothes for Hunter and looked up to see the stacks of boxes full of Brian’s books and things from his old office. I was suddenly overcome with emotion, conviction, and for the first time in a long time, hope.

Instead of staying mad about what happened, it was time to be grateful… after all, it was during this time that I learned new things about the faithfulness of God. You really do grow closer to Him when you’re knee-deep in the hard stuff. And as crazy as it might sound, I began to consider all of this hard stuff an honor.

Yes. An honor. He had entrusted us with that suffering because He knew we’d see that it was worth it. {borrowed from Looking Up: Trusting God with Your Every Need by the great Beth Moore}

I’m pretty sure I disappointed Him on a fairly regular basis during this season. I didn’t feel ready in any way for any of it, but isn’t it incredible to know His love for us never changes? No matter how slow we are to catch on to what He is doing, or to trust that there is a purpose in whatever mess we’re in, He never leaves. Never gives up on us. Never tires of guiding us as we kick and scream along the way.

 

Nobody loves us like He does, friends.

 

Back to the basement. Those moments spent with the Lord that day changed me. I asked Him to redeem all of it – the hurt, the insecurity, the confusion. To provide a ministry opportunity for Brian… for all of us. To guide us to the place that would be our true home for the rest of our days here on earth.

There were no longer questions about why it happened. No more anger. The bitterness was gone.

Trust me when I say that all of that is proof of the power of God. For real. Those emotions ran deep, and only He can fix that.

I asked for His forgiveness. My attitude had been terrible, and I was fairly certain it had held Brian back from what he had been called to do. I asked God to help me forgive them, and to let go of that hurt once and for all. I asked Him to heal us from all of it and to prepare us for whatever was next. To make us ready, expectant, at peace, and without fear.

This is maybe the only time for me where things felt truly set in motion from a prayer. Not that God needed that prayer from me to be able to do His work, of course. But there’s no doubt that something had to change in my heart before this could be anything close to what He was preparing for us. That much I know. I like to think that He knew how easy and obvious this all had to be laid out for us this time, because that’s just the kind of God He is.

Either way, what began to happen from that point was truly remarkable.

Soon after my basement revelation, Brian had a conversation with an old acquaintance… someone he had met during our early days in ministry. This man had an outdoor men’s ministry and Brian had invited him to lead a men’s event at our church in Texas. He liked him so much that he invited him to our church in Atlanta a few years later.

He is now the pastor of a church in Franklin, TN (a suburb of Nashville… interesting, right? ) and was looking for a Discipleship Pastor. He and Brian reconnected and had a great conversation. Brian filled him in on the past few years and the call ended with a request for his resume.

One step at a time, things quickly came together. We continued to pray, asking God for wisdom and discernment, and to throw the doors wide open if this was His will for us. As excited as we were starting to let ourselves get, we were equally hesitant. For one thing, we wanted to be absolutely sure, and two, this wasn’t going to be an easy move for the boys. It had to be from God.

We fell in love with the staff and search team right away. They showed a genuine love and concern for us, and we found we could share our story without fear of judgment. Guys, there is no doubt that these people are what God intended when He created the church. They know they are not perfect, and they know we aren’t either. But they are so very kind and grace-filled and FUN! They felt like family instantly.

Before we knew it they had unanimously agreed to offer Brian the position, with an invitation for our family to come out to spend a weekend.

On December 16th, the church voted to bring Brian on staff, making it officially official. Getting to share what will be our new church home and new hometown with the boys was incredibly special. Seeing them at ease in their new surroundings was good for our hearts.

We worked hard to stay in tune with the boys’ feelings, and although they all agreed it was where God wanted us, it was a struggle for one of our boys in particular. I’m so proud of how he has stepped out in faith and done hard things he shouldn’t have to do. Although it’s still hard for him some days, he is doing well, and I believe the Lord is working all of this together for a beautiful story he’ll tell someday.

The way God moved throughout all of that is nothing short of miraculous. He carried us through those previous two years. He provided financially when we didn’t see how things were going to come together. He paid attention to the details and desires of our hearts with both the location of our new home and the dates on the calendar – all of this came together exactly two years to the week of December 12, 2016.

He is indeed faithful.

Joining our new church family restarted a fire in our hearts. God is doing great things there and now here we are, one year later, and still humbled and awestruck by how He orchestrated these details to bring us alongside them.

So that’s our story. Not always pretty. Definitely not always fun. But still somehow totally worth it. I look back now and understand why God only gives us a little glimpse at a time… there were a lot of moving parts in this story. Our story isn’t over… we are committed to using what happened to us to minister to others in similar situations.

One year later, and things are so good, but I still find myself dealing with some scars. God has healed so much, and we are so happy here, but there are things I still have to fight against. I’ll touch on those a little more down the road, but in the meantime, think about your story. What do you need to share?