I am a wear your heart on your sleeve, bare your emotions type of gal, for better or worse, that's who I am. I feel convicted to be authentic because I feel like everyone has a story, and we all can learn from one another. So when I decided to break the ice and tell you all that we were leaving Wisconsin to sail the high seas of church planting, I meant it. We were all in.
I have started, stopped, deleted, re-typed, deleted, started again so many times on this post. I wanted to go into great detail, I wanted to bullet point the highlights of our journey, I wanted to share my side of the story, and I wanted to ignore this mess all together. But that wouldn't be fair to you all who have been praying for us, and also I wouldn't be true to myself by skipping over this big part of my life.
It all started when Eric and I felt an undeniable call back to Ohio last Christmas. There was something so unsettling deep in our cores that we could not ignore. We both felt it at the same time, and we knew we had to act. We had no clue what we were being called back for, we knew ministry, but what did that ministry look like, feel like, and most importantly location, where in Ohio would we be going.
Probably the last 12 months of my life have been the toughest, most confusing, semi-exciting, faith building, trust learning, and down right hardest months of my life. We felt like leaving WI things were lining up in Ohio. Eric and I are not the people that fly on a wing and a prayer, we like planned out, scheduled, no surprises. We are both responsible, successful, and hard working.
But since moving back to Ohio we don't feel any of those things. Our mantra has been "we won't know until we go." So we went, and we still don't know.
We felt like we knew, we felt like we were supposed to plant this church, we would be close enough to family, and we were going to reach unchurched people for Jesus, and in my mind things would be like a church planting fairytale. We were going to have the life I had dreamed of in some weird church planting ministry way. I pushed and pushed, Eric pushed and pushed, until we realized this wasn't the dream were supposed to be living out. Sure a circle could squeeze into a square hole, it would be hard, frustrating, and not the best choice, but it could work. But it wouldn't be the best fit.
We are the circles going into the square, and coming to that realization, and more importantly accepting that realization was incredibly difficult. We had to let our church planting dreams die for now. Hopefully not forever, but for now. I grieved the church I had imagined in my head, the people we were going to connect with, the fun staff outings were going to have, and showing my kids what it truly meant to be the hands and feet of Jesus.
I know I don't need to clarify this, but I am going to anyways, the organization and the people we were working with have been supportive of us, and our decision. This decision to not move forward with this particular plant was not made lightly. Trust me, it was tempting to ignore our "this doesn't feel right" feelings in order to have a job, get a paycheck, move out of our parents house, etc. But we couldn't, there felt like this imaginary roadblock that we physically hit everyday. It has been tough, this decision to stay put and not go forward has affected our self esteem, our pride, our relationships. We have felt ashamed, embarrassed, confused, mad, and sad. But through it all, no matter how hard the day has been, we have also felt obedient.
This whole journey to answer an undeniable call on our lives, the call to move back to Ohio has been about sheer obedience. The whole "we won't know until we go" mantra, sheerly obedience. We keep believing in a greater plan for us, God has something more than we could ever imagine lined up for us. And who knows if it will even be in Ohio. Maybe the first step for us was to just simply obey, and go without knowing.
So to all of you who have asked about, prayed for, and supported us through this journey, I humbly say thank you. On the days I could not muster up a prayer or a thought, you prayed and thought for me, you supported me, and encouraged me. You have texted saying "this sucks" and it does. It sucks when your dream has to die so God's plan can become a reality. It sucks, but it also is pretty cool to look back and see where you came from, and where you are going now. I read somewhere that "tomorrow's freedom is today's surrender." I am learning that daily, sometimes hourly.
I guess I could sum up the last 12 months as this: obediently confused. We know right now at this very moment we are where God wants us. Beyond that, it's up to him to take us where we need to be, and that actually is freeing in an obediently confusing kind of way.