Two weeks ago Stephen was asked by the deacons at First Baptist Star City to resign. It was a complete surprise to us, we had no idea this was in the works, no idea that anyone was that unhappy.
We walked around in a daze the first part of the week. We had people to contact. Wee had to find a house, find a job, decide where we were going to live. We also had to keep God center in our lives, keep our children calm and “in the loop” and remind each other that God is good, God is in charge and in control.
Although we were walking around in a daze we were still feeling the prayers of God’s people. I remember the Monday night after it happened, I went to bed and was re-thinking the day, I realized that it had been much easier than I could have imagined. Sure, I cried. Sure, I yelled. But it was nothing like what I thought it would have been. And then I realized that it was because people were praying. Friends would text me throughout the days and remind me they were praying for me. I
Oh, I don’t know how we would have gotten through those first days without the prayers of His people. They are what sustained us. They are what got us through the daze and the fog.
Stephen has wanted to start a new church in the delta for a long time now. He attended classes on church planting. Then we both attended classes in the spring and were certified through the Southern Baptist Convention to start a church . I was not on board with the idea. In fact, when we went to the classes together he introduced me and told everyone that I didn’t want to do this! It was the truth, but I felt that if God was leading Stephen in this direction I better find out if this was indeed what God had in store for us.
I told Stephen in June that I was ready to start a church. It takes me a while, I’m slow to come around. We didn’t know when we would begin the adventure but we finally knew we were on the same page.
When we drove in the driveway after Stephen was asked to leave he looked at me and said “I guess we’re supposed to start a new church now!” What people meant for evil, God meant for good.
We are moving to Pine Bluff in the next couple of weeks. Some friends of ours are selling their home and are letting us stay in it until we find a place. God is good! God has shown Himself trustworthy, kind and loving, good and strong throughout the last two weeks. Stephen has preached both Sundays since then, our children have gone to Awana at another church, we still pray, and talk about the goodness of the Lord. We still love Him!
We plan on starting a multi-ethnic church in Pine Bluff. A church that looks like the community. A church that reaches out and includes the community. We are excited. It will be an adventure. It will be hard. But, it will be good!
If you feel like praying here are things you can pray for:
Stephen to find a job
that God will provide people to come along beside us and start this new work
that God will put in people a sense of urgency to be a part of this church
We will be able to find a home to live in permanently
I do want to say that I am journaling this experience. The journal is raw, it is full of real thoughts, real emotions, real disgust and real happiness and amazement. I’ve decided to not blog all of that. It happened. I was MAD! I was vengeful, I was bitter. But God has given me a sense of peace. One that cannot be explained. I’m very prone to fever blisters and stomach pains in times of stress. But through this, I have had neither. It is only God! The prayers of my friends, my friends friends, my family’s friends and people I don’t even know have been answered and continue to be answered. God is good ya’ll. He is so very good!
4 thoughts on “Just the Facts, & a Little Emotion”
Julie, I am so sorry that this has happened. Yet what a fun adventure you are embarking on. You guys will be great and will be a great blessing to others.
Our best to you, our dear sweet grandchildren and great grandchildren. Our prayers are with you for all your needs and for everything you do, God Speed.love always, Mamaw and UD
My sweet friend Julie…I am thinking of you and your family as you embark on this new journey and path that the Lord has put you on. I can imagine your fear of the unknown, but trust that He knows what he is doing. As someone who has found herself in unexpected places, I find comfort in knowing that He really does know what is best for my family, and He does know what is best for yours. I hope you'll find comfort in that too. I wish you all the best in your home, and I will continue to pray as you plan the new church, I'm very excited for you. Say hi to the boys for us, we miss you all! xoxo
Oh, and give our love to Anna too – if she remembers us, that is! LOL! Hugs!