What a wonderful first couple of weeks my family has enjoyed in Kansas! Many thanks to everyone who has warmly welcomed my family and I. You have made this transition easier on us.
To be honest, leaving so much family, so many friends and the wonderful Azure Hills church in sunny, mountainous southern California was quite difficult. There were certainly pros and cons in our minds for both California and Kansas and in many ways and in many minds beyond our own, the transition to the center of the country didn’t make sense. We knew one family here. But there were a couple of factors that really helped me in this decision process.
One was a particular day when I took the time to pray in the sanctuary at Azure Hills and sought God’s direction. It wasn’t long before I got the mental image that Jesus was holding a door open for me and was inviting me to go through it. He wasn’t trying to push me, pull me or in any way force me, but He patiently stood there with His beckoning hand lifted as if He would take my hand and walk with me through the door if I would let Him.
That picture significantly altered my perception. I went from feeling like God might make me do something I wasn’t sure I wanted to do, to sensing that God was not pressuring me but encouraging me towards something good. I let my guard down. How could I refuse His courtesy and kindness. From then on, I knew we were going to Kansas and though there were still many hard goodbyes and tears shed from that moment until we started our road trip, I am expecting growth, goodness and adventure for my family, come what may, in this new place.
The second factor was the support of the people I worked alongside who trusted my discernment process, colleagues who encouraged me to follow God wherever He was leading. The conference leaders in California listened to my perspective, blessed me and let me know that prodigals are always welcome home. My senior pastor, Tara VinCross, whom I’ve partnered with in ministry for almost 10 years, wept with me and pledged her friendship and support no matter where God led. She would still journey with me and celebrate me being in the center of God’s will even if it was a loss for her and the team there.
I write this post from the youth room after nine of 10 bonding days of prayer, one church service, a few meetings and a couple of trips to Midland and I am full of anticipation for what God has. There have already been obstacles but I know that God will keep leading and God’s people will keep supporting.
May we all pray every day as Jesus modeled in the Garden of Gethsemane, “not my will, but yours be done,” trusting that on the other side of the sacrifice there is great promise and that we have supporters who are there for us. Follow the invitation. Walk through the door and be excited for the journey with Jesus deeper into His goodness.