God had said He was pleased “where there is faith.” He was forming a fledgling vision in our hearts for a simple church-life, sharing the gospel, and working together.
In the summer of 2009, Laura (who was newly pregnant with baby #4, by the way) asked me a question I had wondered myself, “Do you think God is moving us from HeartLand?”
I had been suspicious that He may but dismissed it. We didn’t want to leave those people.
“Nooooo,” I said. “I really don’t think so.”
But by July I was heavy with the idea that God was moving us on.
Generously, our pastor told me to take two weeks and pray about it. I knew in one week. We were done there.
I didn’t expect that. We had only been there 4 years.
Then I realized God had already prepared Heartland for my leaving. Some wonderful new folks were already in place, ready to take up the work. The church wouldn’t miss a beat. (Pardon the pun). How beautiful.
Ok. Leave. Got it.
And go where?
Silence on the other end.
This was new.
Then God stilled my heart (as much as I could let Him) with the story of Abram whom God told to leave his homeland and go “to a land I will show you.”
God had done this before.
God wasn’t going to say where to go.
We were to “go” and wait on the Him to show us where.
We were to wait on the Lord.
Wait. He had made it clear that we were not to look for another ministry. We were not to look for another job. He was responsible for showing us “where to go”…“the next thing”…and we were not to try to create it before Him.
Wait on the Lord.
It sounded so dramatic and epic and Old Testament…you know, walls falling down after simply marching around and shouting, enemies being slain without Israel lifting a finger.
And, besides, how long could He have us wait, anyway? A couple of months…tops?
He’ll put us somewhere by Christmas…or maybe New Years.
September 30, 2009, was my last night on staff at HeartLand. How I would miss those folks!
I drove off that night feeling sad and excited and nervous all together.
I felt like I was stepping off a high diving board (stepping because I never dive into anything…I always step…hesitantly…somebody push me, please…).
When I woke up October 1st, I was still falling. Still excited and nervous, and not entirely sure what to do.
Until the kids woke up.
Then my day was a train ride with passengers, swept along into the activity of the day: homeschooling, chores, animals to tend, house projects that had been put off until I had time.
Those things, coupled with a trip to Colorado visiting friends who had spent the last few years planting churches overseas and in the U.S., kept me busy for a month.
Waiting on the Lord was no big challenge.
Fast forward another month and a half…
Waiting got a little harder.
God had never taken this long to move us from one ministry to another. I didn’t understand what He was doing.
Not doing any ministry or making any money wasn’t comfortable. I asked Him about jobs. Just temporary ones. Something to make money in the meantime. Like driving a school bus or something.
Wait on the Me, was still the answer.
I knew what He was saying in my spirit, though I didn’t understand it.
We lived on money the Lord had told Laura to save up over the past year. We thought the money was for getting ahead on the house mortgage, but no.
God did give permission for a couple of little jobs. I took on a few piano students and made and sold pralines during the holidays. I believe He let us because I did the jobs more for people I was serving and to occupy our time than for money. Any job I pursued just to pay the bills, He generally shut down.
By not allowing us to provide for ourselves, He was teaching us something, though I would understand this more clearly later.
All we knew was that we were NOT to make a life for ourselves on our own.
He would show us what to do next and where to go, and we were to wait on Him until He did.
We were getting a chance to put feet to this “where there is faith” thing He had started a while back.
I was living in new territory and uncomfortable but still excited about what God was going to do.
We still had our savings. No huge challenge to my pride or flesh yet. I was still providing for my family with money we had earned earlier. I still felt like a responsible man.
And besides, the wait was almost over, right?
Just after Christmas
Or maybe New Year.