Well, it’s been 9 months since we moved to Colorado Springs from Georgia. There has been A LOT that has happened in that short window of time. This has been the most difficult stage of my life in 25 years of marriage and ministry…hands down! A few months ago I wrote a post about taking a break from blogging for a season. I’m still not blogging regularly until December, but I felt compelled to post this update.
Colorado Springs is amazing! It is beautiful, has very few bugs, and virtually zero humidity. I see the majestic Pikes Peak every day…multiple times a day. But simply living in a beautiful place doesn’t necessarily make the experience beautiful.
You see, when we moved to Colorado I left behind a son, an incredible church family, and a ministry career that had become my identity. I didn’t know it while traveling across the country in a 26 foot U-Haul truck, but I was about to spend the next 3 months lost, confused, and depressed.
First, the family unit split in two. We originally thought we were just moving with our youngest two sons. Then just hours before hitting the road our oldest child asked to move with us. This is her story so I’ll allow her to tell it on her own another time. But this is a huge reason God led us to Colorado.
Our oldest son had a career and friends in GA and decided to get his own place and stay there. My wife and I blessed his choice to stay, but I really struggled (honestly, I still am) moving without him. I guess it’s a natural part of the whole ’empty nesting’ thing….but it really sucks!
Once we arrived here, I began working at a popular coffee shop. Every coffee-lover’s dream job, right? I have also been working hard to complete my Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology online. After working there for about a month or so, I hit a wall. For 2-3 weeks I remember feeling anxious and emotional driving to work. There were even a few times I had to pray that God would strengthen me to overcome the flood of tears so I could perform like a ‘normal’ barista. Those tears were sure to come later in solitude moments in my bedroom. One evening here, another there…just me and Jesus. Real men do cry, so don’t judge.
It was in this brief season that I realized that I had allowed ministry (being a pastor) to become my entire identity. Loss of title, income, and the comfort of knowing a job well. When you’ve done nothing besides pastoring full-time for over 20 years it’s not the easiest thing to transition out of that world and into retail coffee at 45 years old.
Slowly, I began to realize that God had me in a new, very specific, season on purpose. First and foremost, I was to enjoy really being there for my wife and kids without the demanding work schedule of ministry. Second, He was aligning co-workers and customers at the coffee shop for me to interact with…to live my faith out for them.
In March of 2016 I had the honor of speaking at a Children’s Pastors conference in Kentucky. This was a true gift directly from the hand of God to me. He knew I needed this. I loved it! I got to share my ministry experiences with young leaders, and then encouraged them after each talk. This rekindled a fire for ministry in me.
Yes, we left an amazing church in Georgia, but God led us to another one. (we thought this would be impossible). My wife, Cailey, is serving PT on staff there now working with kids and equipping leaders. I am volunteering in the Connect ministry to help people discover a meaningful and fulfilling place of service in God’s community.
Most recently, the Lord provided me with a new job working with a medical bill sharing ministry. Another new experience, but I’m trusting God in it completely. Cailey and I have also begun co-writing our first book. We welcome your prayers with this.
What does He have in store for me in the next 5-10 years? I don’t have a clue and I’ve given up trying to figure it out ahead of time. I used to have this quote hanging in my church office. Now it is mounted above our couch in the living room.
“The will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you.”
This has proven to be true in my life and I’m confident it will be in yours as well. My Jesus is faithful, he knows what he’s doing, and he really does care more about my personal success and happiness than I ever can.
Here’s to another year of adventure, obedience, and remaining in Him!