We aren't starting over, we're just turning down a new road

This past Monday morning June 19, 2017, a couple of trailers and a whole host of people showed up at our town home in Southport, NC, to help us pack our lives up and move us up to Wilmington, NC. For several hours we sweated, laughed, grunted at ridiculously heavy pieces of furniture, and laughed some more.

Our journey to Wilmington began towards the end of last summer with a bit of a nudge. Both my wife and I sensed that God was moving us in that direction, but we weren't exactly sure why. My position at the church I was serving in was going and growing well - I truly enjoyed being both a Teaching Pastor and Connections Pastor there, helping people plug in and take their next step with God. Even though my wife is a nursing professor at UNCW, she was okay driving back and forth a few days a week. Our kids had all of their friends in Southport and we lived in a really cool community. Why move?

God continued to nudge us and we continued to pray for His wisdom and guidance. At the beginning of December, some dear friends of ours from Wilmington told us about a house in their neighborhood that had just gone on the market, for sale by owner. They said it would be perfect for our family and we should check it out. Being familiar with the neighborhood and loving how it was laid out, we said why not, let's take a look. We loved the home the moment we set foot inside of it.

Things began rolling after that. Within a week's time we had come to an agreement with the home owner and on January 31, 2017, we closed on our new home. We decided that we would wait until the end of the school year before we moved in, giving our children the chance to finish at their respective schools and to have that valuable time with their friends. In the meantime, we would venture one or two days a week to change paint colors and put our own touches on the place. Three days ago that house officially became our new home.

As you read this story, you may notice that there is one element missing. What am I going to do as far as ministry is concerned now that I am in Wilmington? That's a great question - I'm glad you asked!

Even though the future for my ministry was unclear, from the very beginning my wife and I had a peace about this move. Let me rephrase that. We had a intermittent peace about the move, interspersed with doubting and second guessing and moments of panic. Are doing the right thing? Maybe we misunderstood what God was trying to show us? Why move now when things are going so good?

As we wrestled with these realities, there was one constant at the forefront of all our planning, dreaming, excitement, and worries - God is faithful. He has a plan and His plan is always better than anything I could possibly scheme. So as far as what I will be doing up here, the moment those trailers pulled up in front of our new home this past Monday, my new ministry began.

I want to be the best neighbor that I can possibly be, loving my new neighbors well and being a godly influence in my new community. But my plan is not to just sit at home and be nice to people - I am actively seeking opportunities where I can serve and work and give of myself, utilizing the gifts that God has given to me. We are also now just a short drive from UNCW, which means that our new home will be open to college students who are looking for a place to "get away." In short, this new home is the beginning of an exciting new ministry for our family.

Moving is hard and unbelievably fatiguing. But moving is also exhilarating when you are following the path that you believe God has set before you. For me and my family, moving to Wilmington doesn't mean that we are starting over, because God's path for our lives hasn't changed. Instead, we are taking a turn along the way to somewhere new. Life is a journey and life is ministry. Y'all come see us!

1 comment:

Jeff Headrick said...

Sterling,

We have heard the grapevine of your move. So very excited for you all--and I so love your mindset with the move--and your mindset in general. You all are in our prayers and I am sure God is as excited as the rest of us to see you prosper here in Wilmington. He is so good.

Jeff Headrick

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