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It's Time to Move!



While my husband was in seminary, I would often daydream about being called to serve at a small country church once he graduated.  I envisioned a New England white steepled church with a big oak tree out front and quaint graveyard in the back, a graveyard that marked the stories of those Believers who once sat in the church's pews many years before.  I imagined the current congregation behind the doors of the New England white steepled church, loving the Word of God as much as I did, and accepting my husband and I, flawed sinners, saved by the Grace of God.

Indeed, soon after my husband graduated from seminary, a small local country church was looking for a new Pastor.  It may not have been the quintessential New England white steepled church I had daydreamed about, but it had its own charm - the church building was housed in a converted dairy barn.  The inside was bright and airy with lots of open space.  I couldn't believe that for the most part what I had envisioned our future church home looking like was indeed a possibility...

I certainly know that the church isn't represented by a building, but by the body of Believers.   That a building is not the focus of a church, but the Believers inside who show the love of Christ through service within and around the community and beyond, and who honor God through obedience and study of the Word.  I also know that a church doesn't need a building to be called a church.  For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them. Matthew 18:20

But as a woman, by nature, I still had a desire for what my future church home would look like...

I remember sharing with my Pastor's wife who was mentoring me while my husband was in seminary, that I was feeling guilty for having such a specific esthetic idea of a church home.  She encouraged me that it could be the Lord put that very desire upon my heart.

So as my husband was going farther in the interview process for the country church in the old dairy barn, I was becoming more and more excited at the prospect of serving there.  Unfortunately, my enthusiasm may have actually clouded judgment in moving forward as several flags were raised to my husband on the spiritual health of the church.  But we reasoned that my husband's strong love of the Word may be just why the Lord was calling Him to that particular church.

My husband served as Pastor at that church for just two years faithfully preaching and teaching the Word.  The loving church family I had hoped for ended up wounding us deeply.

After much prayer, my husband and I made a decision to part ways from that body, a decision that was mutually agreed upon by the church leadership.

The country church I had dreamed of, the one that appeared so bright and airy on the inside, was for the most part dark and spiritually dead on the inside.

The Word of God, so faithfully preached by my husband, was dismissed.

A faction began working against my husband...

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Now at Iconium they entered together into the Jewish synagogue and spoke in such a way that a great number of both Jews and Greeks believed. But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers. So they remained for a long time, speaking boldly for the Lord, who bore witness to the word of his grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands.  But the people of the city were divided; some sided with the Jews and some with the apostles. When an attempt was made by both Gentiles and Jews, with their rulers, to mistreat them and to stone them,  they learned of it and fled to Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and to the surrounding country,  and there they continued to preach the gospel.
Acts 14:1-7

We know that nothing touches us, except what comes from the loving hand of our Heavenly Father...  
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and 
not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
Jeremiah 29:11

that the will of the Father may take us through fiery trials, but He is always right there with us...

 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king...   Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished and rose up in haste. He declared to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the fire?” They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.”  He answered and said, “But I see four men unbound, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods.”
Daniel 3:16-17;24-25

Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
Isaiah 43:2-3

And we know that in all circumstances, God's will is accomplished...

The LORD of hosts has sworn saying, "Surely, just as I have intended so it has happened, 
and just as I have planned so it will stand.
Isaiah 14:24

Peter and Paul did not become discouraged when their ministry in Iconium was being undermined by the unbelieving Jews, and the threat of being stoned loomed large.  Instead, they fled to Lystra and Derbe and the surrounding country.   And without missing a beat, continued to preach the Gospel.

I believe the Lord drops spiritual bombs in the midst of Believers to signify that It's time to move! Those spiritual bombs come in many forms, and I think more times than not, a trial may be the only way to get us to move.

We become complacent in our ministry or in our calling when things are going well, and may lose our effectiveness.

Or as a body, we become so comfortable in our church's walls, that we are no longer striving for the Kingdom of God.

The Lord may send a situation to disperse the complacent body of Believers or to move the person in ministry.

For my husband and I, although that was a very difficult chapter in our lives, especially being our very first experience serving as Pastor and Pastor's wife, in hindsight, I can see how the Lord was signaling, "It's time to move!"

My husband entered into a very fruitful pulpit fill ministry, a modern day circuit rider if you will.  I was used by God in several women's ministries at the church we moved to, and not only did God use me, but He grew me in areas I never saw myself ministering in.  He showed me that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

As for the congregation we were called to leave, and which ultimately folded after going through another Pastor, I would like to believe that they are better off dispersed.  I hope they are attending different churches from each other, thinking for themselves, and allowing the Word of God to penetrate their hearts.  I also know that God's Word never comes back void and through the faithful preaching of my husband and the Pastor that followed him, seeds were planted.  God can use the Pastors they are sitting under now to water those seeds and bring about the fruit of Salvation.


If you find yourself in a trial or at a crossroads, ask the Lord, "Is it time to move?"

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; 
I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
Psalm 32:8

And if after praying, you feel the Lord is indeed calling you to move, claim this promise from Him...

“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, 
I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? 
I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
Isaiah 43:18-19

The Bible is full of accounts of people the Lord signaled that "It's time to move!" - from Abram to the Apostles.  With obedience, came blessings,  not only in their lifetimes, but for future generations.

The Lord still shows us when, "It's time to move!".

It may not always be a physical move.  It could be a spiritual move...

An area of besetting sin that we need to repent of; a relationship that needs healing; or a new spiritual discipline to develop, just to name a few...

Will you obey when the Lord calls you to move, whether it be spiritually or physically?

May we all respond...

  Have thine own way, Lord! Have thine own way! 
Thou art the potter, I am the clay. 
Mold me and make me after thy will, 
while I am waiting, yielded and still. 
Adelaide A. Pollard


You might find me on these link-ups:
Grace & Truth Link-upWoman to Woman Ministries,  Growing in Grace Link-up, 3DLessonsLif4eInspire Me Monday Titus 2 TuesdayA Wise Women Builds Her HomeA Look at the Book,  Sunday StillnessThe Weekend BrewSpiritual Sundays, Soul Survival,  Give Me Grace, Testimony TuesdayWomen with Intention WednesdaysStill SaturdayGood Morning MondaysTell His StoryFaith & Fellowship Blog HopMotivate and Rejuvenate MondaysBe SaltyMonday's MusingsThe Art of Home-Making MondayTuesday TalkWaiting on Wednesday, Reflect His Love and Glory  Words of Comfort Link-upWholehearted WednesdaysTell it to Me TuesdayFaithful at Home Fridays, Faith 'N FriendsTGI SaturdaysSitting Among Friends Encourage Me Monday Words with Winter Essential FridaysSo Much at Home Family, Friendship & Faith House to Home Intentional Tuesday ,Wonderful Wednesday , Monday of Many BlessingsLiteracy Musings Mondays,Imparting GraceSHINE Blog Hop Dance with JesusGive Me GraceBooknificent Thursdays UNITE Cozy Reading SpotMaking Your Home Sing Monday Social Butterfly Sundays  Let Us Grow Small Wonder Link-up Winsome Wednesday Growing in Grace Thursday After My CoffeeRewind Friday Fresh Market Friday Moments of Hope Wonderful Wednesdays Christian Blogger Link-Up Tea & Word Tuesday

Comments

  1. Oh, dear friend! I could SO relate to SO much of what you went through! The pain that is inflicted by other Christians can be some of the deepest wounds and can take the longest to heal. My heart goes out to you thinking about that troubled time, but I am so thankful God showed you to move on and how much He taught you through the suffering. I can only imagine what a precious pastor's wife you are to the flock you serve. God bless you in every, single moment of life and ministry. Sending you much love and gratitude for sharing your dear heart with us here!

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    1. Cheryl, Yes, I agree. Sadly this has been the case for me even outside of the one I shared.

      Thank you for your words of empathy and wonderfully kind words of encouragement. You bless me so much!!

      Blessings to you sweet friend in the love of Christ.

      Delete
  2. Oh wow do I hear this! It's so hurtful when you know it's time to move on but you don't feel done, or accomplished. It's feels like rejection, but it might be God growing you! :)

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    1. Carol, You are so right. It is then that we have to be careful that resentment doesn't settle in and recognize God's work in us through the trial.

      Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts here in the comments. I appreciate it!

      Blessings,

      Delete
  3. I read your post and it made me think about me. And think about the Church I am in. (small town living) It's in the throngs of dying a slow death and I wonder how much longer it can exist. You have made me think about praying "what now Lord" and "where Lord if somewhere different". Thank you for this timely post.

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    1. Sharon, That makes me so sad. In my husband's ministry of pulpit fill, we visit many of these "dying churches" and many times it isn't even about size. I have been to a church with only ten consistent members that was more spirit filled then a church with 100.

      Praying you have clarity to know whether God is calling you to move or will raise you up for such a time as in your church's history to bring a revival to it once again.

      Thank you for sharing your heart with such humility.

      Blessings,

      Delete
  4. What a hard experience in your first church calling! But God was with you and I'm sure He used it to help you grow. He does let us know when it is time to move on. It's not always easy, but we know his way is best. I'm your neighbor this week at #TellHisStory. Blessings to you, Karen!

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    1. Gayl, Indeed!

      He certainly did! :-)

      Amen!

      Thank you for stopping by. I appreciate it so much!

      Delete
  5. The most difficult situations in our lives, as believers, almost always come through others who are believers. Sad isn't it, and yet, if we are tender and humble before the Lord, just as you and your husband were, God can pick up the pieces, and put them together in a new fashion, such as not even imagined by yourself, and bring you to a place of growth you wouldn't have experienced had you not been in that situation. You wrote beautifully, and like dear Cheryl said so well... I know that the Lord has you in a place now where He is able to flow through you and out of you and as a ministering vessel of His choosing. Blessings and hugs to you today!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Yes, you are right. It is sad...

      Thank you for so beautifully contributing to the conversation. It means a lot.

      And thank you for your sweet encouragement. You have blessed me. :-)

      Blessings sweet friend.

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  6. Thank you for sharing your story, Karen. God is good, all the time! I am waiting right now to see what God is doing. Maybe I need to ask Him if it's time to move? Thanks so much again. God bless you!

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    1. Mari-Anna, You are welcome! Indeed He is! :-)

      Joining you in prayer as you seek the will of the Lord in your own situation.

      Blessings.

      Delete
  7. This is deep!
    It is sad when the enemy sows seeds of discord!
    I pray the Lord would let us know the places where we are meant to be, when it is time to move and when it is time to wait.
    I am happy you found another place to share your gifts and allow God use you both.
    Blessings to you friend

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    1. Ifeoma,

      Indeed it is.

      Amen!

      Thank you sweet friend. Praising God for His gifts through us.

      Blessings,

      Delete
  8. Wow so sad that they didn't receive the Word of God. I pray that they will be influenced by the right voice wherever they are now.
    It's good that you have seen such growth in your current place of ministering. May He continue to use you for His glory!

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    1. Kelly, Amen!

      Thank you so much for your words of encouragement. You have blessed me.

      :-)

      Delete
  9. This story,your heart here - resonates with me on such a deep level. We have not been pastor's (though I hope one day we can minister together somehow) but we have experienced hurts within the body too and it does seem to sting worse than anything negative coming from unbelievers. Prayers that the Lord will keep directing your paths. He will indeed bless you for yielding to Him. You both sounds like lovely people and I am so glad to be able to get to know you!

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    1. Meg, Thank you so much for sharing your own heart here.

      Thank you so much for your kind and encouraging words.

      I look forward to it! :-)

      Delete
  10. Karen, thank you for sharing such an intimate part of your journey in the ministry. I, too, believe that we are sometimes called to move on even though it seems such a hard thing to do. He has His plans for us and they are often not ours. I pray God continue to bless you and your husband as you journey with Him.

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    1. You are welcome.

      Thank you so much for sharing in the conversation and taking the time to leave a meaningful comment. It means a lot!

      Thank you for your prayers for my husband and I as we journey with the Lord.

      Blessings.

      Delete
  11. Karen, I am moved by your sweet spirit and the manner in which you have allowed God to bring good out of what must have been an excruciating season of your life.

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    1. Michele, Thank you for leaving such a kind comment. :-)

      Blessings to you.

      Delete
  12. Amen, encouragement I needed. Thank you sincerely.~

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    1. Praising God you found the encouragement you needed.

      You are very welcome! :-)

      Delete
  13. Amen, encouragement I needed. Thank you sincerely.~

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    1. It blesses me that you were encouraged.

      You are very welcome. :-)

      Delete
  14. Karen,
    Our pastor just preached on the fact that being within God's will doesn't mean you're "safe". Each time we follow Him, there is potential for hurt. But we can be guaranteed that we will be refined, strengthened, and prepared for a greater purpose through the hurt!
    Thank you, as always, for sharing your insight and hope with us at #MomentsofHope!
    Blessings and smiles,
    Lori

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    Replies
    1. Lori, Thank you so much for sharing that profound insight. I never thought about it that way before.

      Indeed! God is in the business of redemption!

      You are welcome. Thank you for hosting!

      Blessings,

      Delete
  15. Karen, I'm following you at Holly's from last week, and I'm just getting caught up to read your post. I can so relate. Even though my situation is different, God called me to move from the pain of fellow Christians. I've watched as He's brought good out of the hurt, and I'm praying the same for you. Many would benefit from reading your story. Thanks or sharing it. Blessings!

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    1. Julie, Thank you so much for taking the time to comment and sharing your story. Thank you for your prayers, and praising God that He has brought good out of your hurt.

      Your words are so kind and encouraging. Thank you.

      You are welcome!

      Blessings to you too! :-)

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  16. We are in the process of an actual move from over a decade in Southeast Asia back to the US. Our "bomb drop" was no longer being able to get a visa to live here. While I am so sad to leave, I am eager to see what new things the Lord has in store.

    Thanks for sharing this at Booknificent Thursday on Mommynificent.com this week!
    Tina

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    1. Tina, Oh wow! Thank you so much for sharing your story here.

      Your attitude of expectancy brings great glory to God.

      You are welcome!

      Thanks for stopping by. :-)

      Delete

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