The evening was crisp and cool. I had grown to appreciate the winter time. It meant a break from the stifling heat and insane humidity.
I pulled into the driveway and quickly jumped into the passenger seat. Barry emerged from the back of the house and I could hear our puppy whimpering for attention as he closed the door behind him. I stared at the white picket fence lining our backyard and the adorable french doors that led to our master suite. Our home was so cute and I couldn’t get over the fact that it was ours. It made me feel like an adult…like a real member of society.
Barry leaned over and kissed me as he rattled off our plans for the evening. A minister was in town that we had known for years and we were taking him to dinner. My heart went from light and carefree to hesitant. He was someone we greatly respected, yet our connection to him was built during the difficult years. Without knowing it, he represented that painful time in our lives. Although we were distancing ourselves from the grasp of our pastors control, this precious minister was not. We ached for him as a result and prayed that God would provide his avenue of escape as well. But, despite the knowledge tucked away in my heart I decided to enjoy his company and the fabulous food awaiting our arrival.
At some point in the dinner the conversation turned towards Barry and myself. We were asked about our future, about having children, about returning to the “M” word…MINISTRY. The question hit us like a ton of bricks. We had not spoken about ministry in months and the thought of subjecting ourselves to slavery again seemed impossible. But, as we sat there…silent and frozen, he leaned in close and spoke these words. “It’s not over for you guys, God’s call is more evident today than ever before. During the hard years God was building the man and now He can build the ministry.”
I cringed and rejoiced as he whispered those gentle, kind words. My ears tingled and my pulse quickened as if every fiber of my being were trying to confirm his bold statement. I sat up straight and pulled myself back from his intense gaze. I fidgeted with my napkin and fought back the tide of emotion welling up in my throat. And in that moment…that intense, awkward moment God spoke two names to my heart. It was as if he quickly flashed a puzzle box before my eyes, showing me the final picture. I tucked their names away and vowed to revisit the topic later when I was alone and able to think clearly. I was overcome with anticipation and I was mad as hell as a result. I wanted to hate the ministry and never return…but God had other plans. As I opened up a small corner of my heart to the idea, my Heavenly Father gently moved closer and promised hope. He starting knocking at my heart, and the impact HIS presence made in that moment was more inviting than I wanted to admit. He was stirring the waters and I felt frantic as a result.