For the past seven years, we’ve made our home in a small town in East Texas. Upon arrival in a u-Haul with a 14-month-old and no place to live, we stayed with the only two people we knew in the entire county. And so the spiritual stretching began. Many days my heart was heavy because the stress of uncertainty caused me to question if I really believed what I thought I knew to be true. Did we really hear His voice? Is this adversity coming because we moved outside His will? Why did our house sell so quickly in Houston if we weren’t supposed to move?
To the outside observer, we moved because Jonathan was offered a job to teach math and be the head boys basketball coach at the high school. But he already was a head coach in an affluent community just outside of Houston. To many of the friends who had become family at the school we left in that quaint suburb, it was a perplexing decision. Why would we leave such a well-respected school in one of the best districts in the state? Why would we move away from a big city with so many conveniences? Why would we take a pay cut?
Faith is the simple short answer.
Above all else, we wanted to follow God’s path not our own. Before we married, we agreed that we were determined to live, really live, for Jesus. That decision has not always been an easy, smooth or stress-free path, but in hindsight it’s always been the right path. Following such a path took us to Houston in the first place. We didn’t want to lag behind or run out ahead of Him. We wanted to stay close and step out when He said, “Go.” Despite the worldly perspective, we knew we heard His voice, and we only answer to Him. It was not without the heartache of missing family and friends and familiar surroundings. It was not without difficulty. It was not without extreme pressure and adversity. However, we always went back to the truth that He put us on this path, and He would never leave us or forsake us.
So we find ourselves at another crossroads in this wonderful small town we’ve come to love in the past seven years because this week Jonathan turned in his resignation, and life as we know it is changing again. Last Wednesday, he gathered the young men currently on the basketball team and challenged them to live. Just like he’d done hundreds of times before in locker rooms, he reminded them of the choices they had ahead of them and at the end of the day they alone would be held accountable for their lives.
Would they really live? Would they take chances? Would they step out in faith? Would they quit when things got tough? Would they persevere despite adversity?
These questions played back in my mind this week too. Just because we’ve stepped out into the unknown before doesn’t mean we won’t experience new challenges on this next excellent adventure. As Jonathan transitions from his calling to teach, coach and mentor in public school, into full time business with me, we are confident in only this thing: we will hear the voice of the Lord and obey. We may continue to live here; we may move. We haven’t heard that part of His plan yet, but we will accept whatever and wherever He leads. Each person is indispensable to our precious Father to fulfill his or her calling and further His kingdom. For such a time is this!
Even though I know that the Lord is with us and despite the excitement about the unknown path stretched out before us, I would be lying if I said my heart wasn’t heavy again this week. It’s always tough making the end of the season transition, but Jonathan’s job never was a means to an end; it was and is something he is anointed to do. I fully expect to be in the stands again someday cheering on his team. Maybe I’ll be able to enjoy a game quietly and sit still. (That will definitely be a miracle!)
In His ever-faithful way, the Lord showed me that my heart is heavy because of the love I have for Him, His complete and total provision, and my gratefulness for the amazing people we’ve met in the big and small towns. I chose to allow His love to penetrate my heart. My heart is heavy because it’s so full of His love, and I can’t wait to see how He will pour it on others along this new path.