I’ve been trying to find the right words to begin this post, but the only ones that keep coming to mind are borrowed from God’s Word:
I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples, I will sing praises to you among the nations. For your steadfast love is great to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth! Psalm 57:9-10
Those words truly reflect the continual state of my heart as I reflect over all the mighty ways God has worked His faithfulness and love toward us in the past few weeks. But let me rewind a bit and catch you up! On June 7th, Kevin got an e-mail from a pastor-friend in Atlanta about a potential senior pastor position opening inside the Atlanta perimeter at a church called First Baptist Church of Chattahoochee. Kevin was familiar with the church because he had met their current pastor at a conference and remembered how much he loved this pastor’s vision and the general direction of the church. On the 10th, Kevin and I decided to ride over and see the church and the surrounding to community to see if we felt like it might be a place we could live and see our kids living. We immediately loved the outside of the church, which of course is not important at all, but the building reminded us so much of our treasured church in Louisville (Third Avenue Baptist) and a sense of nostalgia set in a bit. We didn’t see anyone working, so Kevin called the pastor and he told us to come on over to his house, which was right around the corner. Well, long story short, we spent roughly four hours with he and his wife that day and ended up touring the community and finished with lunch at Chick-fil-A and a tour of the church. We talked ministry, philosophies of ministry, the way they were currently reaching the community, the needs of the congregation and so forth. Oh, and I should add that the senior pastor was leaving to attend seminary at Southern…you could tell he had given his heart and soul to building and growing this church and though confident God was calling him to Louisville, it was certainly a bittersweet departure. But as we drove away that afternoon, Kevin and I both had a sense that this church was a perfect fit for us…we couldn’t believe after such a lengthy discussion that neither of us saw any “red flags” about coming to this church…so we began to pray. The next day, believing God was calling Kevin to pursue the senior pastor position, he sent his resume and several sermons. A week later, our family attended a Wednesday evening meal and VBS fellowship and met many of the members. We were overwhelmed at the warmth and love the members showed our family and with each conversation, Kevin and I both felt more and more affirmed that this was the place God planned for us. On June 30th (literally the next Sunday following his last Sunday at Pray’s Mill), Kevin preached and on July 7th the church unanimously voted him in as their next senior pastor! I have never seen a church work so tirelessly and quickly to ensure that they were not without a pastor for very long and throughout the entire process, I just sat amazed at the way God was working out a million tiny details all at the same time.
And as if the providing of a job and a pastorate at a church we are truly excited about wasn’t enough, God also provided a house for us in the community we wanted to be in and we are set to close on August 6th. This means we actually get to move and Lord willing, get mostly settled before our little Maggie arrives on the scene! I could go on and on about all of the things we are excited about with this new ministry and new home and new neighborhood. We are literally just a 10 minute drive into downtown Atlanta and everything we love about being in a big city is right at our fingertips. And we’ve already met so many young couples and families within the church as well as so many wonderful older members that we are just thrilled to get to know better and grow together with in the gospel. I have seen God’s steadfast love reach to the heavens and His faithfulness to the clouds and I’m simply overwhelmed with His goodness to me, to Kevin, to our little crew of six (almost seven!).
Now I say all of this with clear and vivid memories of so many times in our lives when God did not work all things out in the way or time that I desired. I remember waiting for the boys to come home and reading of all of these awesome ways God was working in other families’ lives and thinking “why can’t God just do this one thing I’m asking of Him?” And to be honest, I still don’t have an answer. Sure, I see the great work of sanctification He did in me as I waited and I see how He produced in me a greater patience and steady faith that didn’t rely on circumstances, but on His Word and His promise to me. And those are not small things! But at the same time, I look at Miles, who still has so many struggles to overcome as a result of spending the first year and a half of his life with a multitude of caregivers and I wrestle with God’s sovereign plan. But this is the constant wrestle of faith, isn’t it? To believe that our God is true, His Word is sure and when He says “I will work all things together for your good,” we choose to believe that He really will, whether we can see it right now or not. So, if you’re sitting here today reading of these amazing ways God has worked in our life over these last few weeks, please do not grow discouraged if He has you in quite the different place right now. His ways are good, His promises are true and He loves you…whether in a season of blessing or a season of trial, I pray that you can choose to say “Be exalted, O God, above the heavens!”