When we sold our house in Texas in 2011 we never imagined all of the obstacles we would face. We had made it through a life-changing diagnosis, unemployment, and living with family. We were finally seeing all the pieces of our life come back together. Our move to Ohio has paid off as SJ is now finishing up her final year at the school that has taught her to communicate! J has a great job doing computer programming for a wonderful company whose mission is to give back to orphans and widows. The boys are also in excellent schools and have no shortage of friends.
Then finally in March of 2017 we were able to purchase a home of our own again. It felt so good to be able to put down our roots, but something was still missing. Something big.
For our family, the church home is even more important than the one you sleep in at night. Our church home in Texas was a huge part of our lives. We started out as newlyweds there and it was where we went into full-time ministry for the first time. Two of our babies were dedicated there and we helped build a thriving coffee shop! That was our home and even years after we moved my heart still ached for that kind of connection.
For a while we were going to the church where I grew up. This church has a special place in our hearts and always will, but we live too far away. Especially for our kids, it isn’t realistic to drive out of state and be involved or invite friends to come with you. J also led worship for a while at a church in Indiana back in 2014 and ’15, but we had the same issue. It was way too far. After 5 years of not getting plugged in at a church J and I were very discouraged.
We tried churches all over the Cincinnati area and nothing seemed to be the right fit for us. I hated the whole church hunting process. At one point we thought we would go to a church because it was conveniently close, but we weren’t passionate about it at all. I was on a playdate with one of my friends and was explaining to her that we found a local church to attend and it was going okay. She saw right through me and said: “I can’t imagine God brought you all the way up there and doesn’t have more for you”. While I appreciated her heart I was really frustrated thinking. Yeah, That sounds great, but where is the “more”? We’ve put everything on the line for our family. We came to Ohio for SJ’s school and we’ve looked. But this is it. There is no “more”. That is truly how I felt.
At the end of that really dark season that we went through to get into our new house God dropped something into my heart; he prompted me to check out a church called Mosaic that was literally a mile and a half from our new house. I didn’t tell J. I didn’t think he would be up for it. We were tired of visiting churches and to be honest, we had our own preconceived ideas of what this church was like. Mosaic was originally right across the street from SJ’s school. So before we even moved to Ohio we saw Mosaic. I saw it every day when I brought SJ to school. Someone had even invited us, but we never went. Now that the church moved and we moved and it was basically in our backyard, it almost seemed like it was fate.
A few of days later J told me that he felt like we should try Mosaic. I was shocked. I told him I thought the same thing and so that Sunday we went. As we checked in our kids at the children’s church they were greeted by what looked like a linebacker in a kilt. He was a character for that month’s theme and he connected with the kids immediately and made them laugh. Then J and I tiptoed into the adult service. We didn’t literally tiptoe; we just cautiously proceeded. We had been through so much physically and spiritually over the past 5 years that we were reluctant. Of course God could heal our hearts and it certainly looked like this could be the place He chose to rebuild us, but our faith at that point was the size of a mustard seed.
Several Sundays we quietly came in and out and even though the pastor’s wife urged people to fill out a connection card we still weren’t ready. As an extrovert, I warmed up more quickly than J. I heard that the pastor’s family lived in Texas and I really wanted to meet them and find out more but J was wanting to lay low. Then seven weeks after we started going J’s parents came with us because they were in town. They loved the church and my father-in-law stopped the pastor and introduced himself and our whole family! He totally blew J’s cover and forced him out of his shell. It was a blessing. We were invited back to the pastor’s office and it turns out they moved from the exact same city in Texas that we were from! They were youth pastors at a large church in the Dallas area and had even been to our Texas church’s coffee shop. We had mutual friends and everything! They moved to Ohio in November of 2011 because God had called them to plant a church. God had called us to leave Texas at that same time. Our stories related to each other so much including having a child with special medical needs. The next week we attended the New Comer’s lunch and things continued to take off from there.
We were falling in love with the body of Christ represented at Mosaic and in turn our heart for worship and ministry was rekindled. We had found our church home. It felt like the perfect fit. I would spill all of my exuberance to my best friend and when I realized how much I was talking about the church I had to appologize. I said “I’m sorry. I know this is the honeymoon stage, but you know what? I’ve needed a honey moon.”
I started going to mom connect groups. I also joined the women’s Ministry prayer team. I love the women of Mosaic more than I could ever express.
We have made dresses for little girl’s in Zambia, we’ve done painting, snacking, worshiping, and I even tried my hand at cardio drumming. This is one fierce group of ladies that above all else have hearts that are on fire for Jesus. This Wednesday is yoga night along with a devotional time, so I am really looking forward to that.
The kid’s ministry is what drew us the Mosaic in the first place. The kids love the children’s pastor and all the teachers there. They have learned so much and had the opportunity to serve and show Christ’s love to others.
J, as I mentioned, started out really hesitant to let anyone know that he had a ministry background. He is the quiet, blend into the background type and so he didn’t want to rush into being on the worship team, but God had other plans!
It started with just helping out a little when there was a need but eventually there was a big leadership hole and J was approached about filling it. J has always been passionate about worship and has over 15 years of experience as a worship leader. He’s had prophetic words spoken over him that we lost sight of when things looked so bleak for a while there. J let go of that dream and we thought we had a completely different new path that we were headed down since J went back to school. We had to pray long and hard about the decision for J to be the worship leader and it soon became clear that we were brought here for such a time as this.
With that said I am really excited to announce that J is following his God given passion. He is stepping back into a full time pastoral role as the worship leader. They just announced it at church yesterday.
He still has two weeks left at his computer programing job. For the record, it has been hard for him to say farewell to his friends and position at that company. This job was a huge breakthrough for us and we have been so blessed by the provisions and support it has been for our family. Even really good change can sometimes be hard.
This has all happened so fast but when it’s God it’s good and we know this is God. It is also a commitment for us as a family. J will be closer to home and a lot of his job will be very much family oriented and include all of us together doing ministry as a team which is exactly what we have always wanted. I mentioned how our faith was as small as a mustard seed when we came to Mosaic. Well, during the groundbreaking ceremony for the new building that we will be moving into later this year, everyone was given mustard seeds to drop into the ground.
We also wrote down our prayers on some stakes that went into the ground as well. It was about staking our claim and marking a new era for the church and for us as a family. After six years of what I have deemed wandering in the desert I have seen God do the miraculous and I know there is so much more to come.
For I am about to do something new.
See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?
I will make a pathway through the wilderness.
I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.