Sunday, June 2, 2013

our life wrapped up in a pretty little blog post

Story time! My husband, Charlie, is now officially a pastor. This is such a huge, huge deal. I share very little of our personal life here, but I think this story of God's goodness needs to be told.

I met Charlie in 1999 at the University of Mobile in Mobile, Alabama. He was studying Christian Studies and Sociology. We colleged up some pretty good times, fell in love, finished college and got married. Charlie knew he wanted to spend his life working in church ministry. Soon after we got married, we moved to Memphis, Tennessee so Charlie could go to seminary. He graduated three years later with a Master's Degree in Divinity. Then we packed up all our stuff and moved to Baton Rouge, Louisiana for full time church work. During all this time (from college to Baton Rouge), Charlie wore many different ministry "hats"... college ministry, youth ministry, music ministry, janitorial staff, intern, supply preacher, teacher... the list goes on. But his heart was longing to preach the Word and pastor the people.
Four years ago, we moved from Baton Rouge, Louisiana to Brunswick, Georgia. We moved to Brunswick (Charlie's hometown) after a series of events that made it clear to Charlie that serving as the Pastor of a church was totally and completely what God had placed a longing in his heart to do. After moving and settling into a little Baptist church, we did something completely unexpected... we became Presbyterians. (If you don't know/care much about the difference between Baptists and Presbyterians, just know that we love Jesus, always have, always will). This denominational switch had been something we'd talked about for years. After much prayer and study and counsel and more prayer, we decided to leave the Baptist church (we were both raised in the Baptist church, went to Baptist college, Baptist seminary, etc.). This was a BIG deal, but both of our families were beyond supportive and understanding and wonderful. This is where the story gets interesting...

We joined Redeemer Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Downtown Brunswick, Georgia. According to Presbyterian policy, you can't be a Presbyterian minister until you have been Presbyterian for at least six months. This presented an interesting obstacle for our little family. Charlie had only ever received pay checks by doing church work. Since we were new to the PCA church, Charlie had to find work. Like, real people work. So we started a snow cone business. Charlie was learning and studying and going through the license/ ordination process while selling the heck out of some delicious snow cones. We made enough money in one summer of snow cone selling to support our family for almost a year... then then money ran out and we couldn't afford to rent a space to sell snow cones the next summer.  Charlie applied for 12 or 17 jobs a day. He heard, "Sorry we're looking for someone with more experience" from almost every possible employer in this town. Apparently, a Master's Degree in Divinity doesn't amount to very much when you want to be a bank teller or a college admissions officer or a grass cutter or a coffee maker. He finally got a job stocking shelves from 3am-9am and worked at a golf course in the afternoons. After almost one year of long hours and late night talks about whether or not we did the right thing, Charlie got a marketing/sales job with a local landscaping business. The income was a little more stable, but his desire for pastoring a church was still very deep.

This past January (2013) Charlie completed the last step in the licensure process for the Presbyterian Church. We prayed and PRAYED that something would open up... a church in need of a pastor... anywhere. In February, a church from South Carolina called the pastor of our church (also a dear friend and mentor) to see if he would be interested in moving his family to serve at a church there. All worked out for him to make the move and God so perfectly answered our prayers by opening up a position for Charlie to become the pastor of our church... right here where we are! Even as I type this tears are streaming down my face out of excitement. There was a process of nominating and presenting and electing, but it is finally real. Charlie is really the pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church. And I am really an over-eager, grace-dependant, hot mess of a pastor's wife.

The powerful creator of this world wrote this beautiful story for us. You know what kind of people sit in churches every Sunday? People who can't find jobs and people who are opening businesses and shelf stockers and landscaping guys and mothers of four children. If our Lord had not walked with us through these last three years, we would never know how to deeply love these real people. I am so thankful and overwhelmed.

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