Thankful for the hardest 3 years of my life!

As I sit here tonight next to my mom while she preps Thanksgiving dinner for tomorrow, I am very thankful for the hardest 3 years of my life. It has been a joy to walk these three years under duress, stress, uncertainty, being crushed and being healed. One of my best friends and I sat today talking about the journey God has placed us both on. All I could do was be thankful that God still uses me and loves me. I have come to experience the incredible Grace of God while God moved us to Hawaii 3 years ago and then crushed me 2 years ago.

The man that God destroyed was a prideful, hurtful, critical pastor who thought he knew everything. I remember thinking that most pastors didn't have  vision or were just wimps that had given up the fight of the Gospel. How wrong I was and how it took My Daddy to change that. I grew up in 2013 and hope that I continue to grow up this next year.

Last year at this time, I was hurting incredibly. Michelle was really the only one that knew it. I didn't fit in at Urbancrest anymore, I couldn't find a job and I felt that everything I had been taught was being pushed aside. We contemplated leaving Urbancrest and joining a smaller church where we could plug in. We contemplated selling our house and moving to where ever I could find a job. I tried to move to Las Vegas more than once to be closer to my mentor, Paul Gotthardt. We had only been home 2 months, but I had become restless. God would not allow me to go anywhere and instead plugged me back into Urbancrest as a layman. I had no position and no responsibilities but felt like I had no hope.

How Gracious our God has been to me this past year. He moved us from that feeling of being lonely to feeling full within a matter of months (7 to be exact). He gave me place after place to preach on Sundays, He allowed me to help lead several student events for different churches, but most of all He allowed us to lead a small college age bible study which we grew to love. I looked forward to each Thursday as our group would gather. I would hurt when people wouldn't come because I genuinely wanted to be around them. I got excited as people I had never met before joined us. It was incredible as God used His gift of teaching through me and allowed my family to enjoy community each week.

Then this great opportunity has come for God to lead a great church through me. I have told Michelle every week since Nov. 1st, "I love my job". It is what I feel wired for and it is what I feel most joy in doing through being God's kid. Its only been a month, but it has been an incredible month. I love my church and I feel my church loves me and most importantly, my family. But, I would not be in this place of serving God's kids if He didn't crush me 2 years ago. I would not love my new family like God has loved them through me. I would not care about people and how to move them from death to life or from sin to freedom. There has been several challenges already, but they have been a joy to be part of.

Tonight, God reminded me of a truth I had taught several times before, "God does not waste anything". All of our journey's hardships have been for our good and God has used those times of breaking and pain to bring us to a place of great joy in serving. I don't want to go through that time again, but I would not change it for anything.

Is this where I planned to be 3 years ago? No, but it is a whole lot better than where I was headed and for that I am truly thankful. Thank You Daddy for knowing what I needed was much better than what I wanted!

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