[By Ashley Baird]
“I have learned to kiss the waves that throw me up against the Rock of Ages.”
Life can be like the ocean. Sometimes it’s peaceful and calm, and other times it is full of turbulent waves that come crashing against us.
It’s hard for us to share struggles and trials that go on during the stormy seasons of our life. Especially in the days we live in, where even in the church there is an expectation that we are supposed to have everything together, and that life is blissful and happy all the time. But the truth is, it’s not…and we’re being dishonest with the world and ourselves when we pretend it is. In fact, those of us in Christ are promised trials, but we are also promised that He will not leave us nor forsake us. It’s through these trials that we can be beacons of God’s grace and glory to this lost world and the believers around us.
I’ve struggled and prayed about whether I should write or say anything, but friends and family keep messaging and texting asking how things are going or asking if something is wrong, so I know it’s time.
Timothy and I have walked through many turbulent waves of life throughout our almost 9 years of marriage, but nothing quite like what we are traveling right now. There is grief, many questions, and many opportunities to trust God.
Two months ago, our family embarked on a long prayed-for Journey. We were so excited to see the Lord working! Timothy was being called to pastor a church, we were moving to a new town, making new friends, and so ready and excited to begin serving.
Then, several weeks into our ministry there, we were asked to leave.
This request was not for anything Immoral, or even Unbiblical, but because of a preference.
Timothy’s conviction is that the Pulpit is used to carefully and clearly explain the Word of God, applying it to the Church, and exhorting them to Love and Obey Christ as a response. He does this by taking a passage of Scripture, and making the point of the message whatever the point of that passage is. That is what preaching the Word of God is, and that was the main issue that was brought against us.
Another was the fact that we believe in the Doctrines of Grace. We shared our beliefs about this in our meetings before we came, and were told it was fine since any mention of them would be carefully explained as he preached the Word. We assured them we would not be promoting a “label” as labels are divisive. But after some time went by some members decided they were not okay with this, in spite of the fact that nothing about the doctrines of grace had come up in any of Timothy’s teaching. (If you don’t know what I mean by the “Doctrines of Grace”, I put a link in the comments.)
Being asked to resign was something we needed to consider carefully, so we took some time to really pray and think things through. We sought counsel from other pastors and our dads, who are both pastors, as well. We prayed and desperately asked the Lord for wisdom. In the end, for the sake of preserving the unity of the church, we felt the best thing would be for Timothy to resign.
Many in our new church were so warm and friendly, and welcomed us with open arms, not aware of what was happening. We are so grateful for their friendship, support and prayers during this time.
The last few weeks have really been difficult. We’ve grieved in so many ways; the waves of emotions randomly hitting. One day I think I’m fine, but the next day I’m hit with a flood of tears. Moving is exhausting and having to plan another move after just a few weeks of starting to unpack is even harder. Trying to do school while unpacking and then having to repack is hard. Living in a town where you know you are not wanted is hard. Having to say goodbye to precious new friends is even harder!
Yet through all of this, God is Good.
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
We serve a big God who designs any trial we face in this world for His Glory and for our good.
Even through the tears, the pain and the questions, His Peace has been our strength.
“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7 ESV
John Piper said it so well, “Sooner or later, every sorrow, every pain, every disappointment, and every loss will work together for good.” (See Romans 8:28)
So even though we may not understand right now, we trust Him that it is for His glory and for our good.
Please keep this church in your prayers. That the Lord would make Himself known there in a very real way. That Christ and his word would be exalted above all.
Please keep our family in your prayers.
For healing for our hearts, health and strength as we prepare for another move, and provision during these next few weeks. For protection over our children’s hearts from all the life changes over the last few months as well as what’s to come. For a new job, (at this point Timothy has been looking for any type of job) , and we also need a new place to live in the next 5 weeks. Please pray for wisdom as we are seeking the Lord on what the next step is for our family.
We are so grateful for all the support and prayers of our family and many friends during this time. We hope and pray that many are encouraged as they hear of the Lord’s faithfulness in our lives and that it will cause you to seek Him more in your daily life. Through the Joys of life and through the struggles. For He is worthy.
“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,” 2 Cor 4:16 & 17