My husband and I found ourselves in an unexpected position this last year. Our worship pastor moved on to a new role in another state, and we were asked to serve as the main worship leaders in our church while we search for a new, full-time worship pastor.
At first, the two of us were taken aback by our former pastor’s absence. He and his family have played vital roles in our lives. So, as naïve as it is, we never thought we would be without them. I laugh at how childish that sounds now, but this couple has had an immeasurable impact in my life. I thank God for them every day, in much the same way Paul did with the Philippians. Our lives grew and were cultivated in the gospel because of this pastor, his wife, and their children.
Once we stepped beyond our shock, we realized that God has held us, each one, through this process. His hand is in it. We can’t change the decision that has been made, even if we wanted to. Our former pastor and his family are championing the gospel in their new lives every day. Who are we to say that we know better than them… better than God?
It didn’t take too long (I hope) for John and I to realize that God has been preparing us for such a time as this. We have leadership skills, but we also were gifted with leaders who saw those qualities in us. They cultivated an atmosphere of independence, allowing us to experiment when others would surely misunderstand. Then, they stepped aside as their lives moved forward to allow us to step into leadership roles that we would not have chosen if those leaders were still here.
It takes a certain compassion and self-consciousness to recognize when it is time to step aside. I do not take it lightly when someone sacrifices something they have cherished for years so that I may take it, change it, and eventually own it for myself.
But that is the beauty of leadership, isn’t it? Knowing that when it is time to step aside, not only has God already raised up the next leader to step up and out into your position, but He has also turned your heart toward your next calling.
When I look back, I see how God prepared us.
God kept us here. We lived in a studio, then one-bedroom, apartment for seven years because we did not have peace about purchasing a house. We believed that God would move us wherever my husband’s career would take us. Well, God took my husband’s career to Springfield from Jacksonville. We bought our house a year ago.
God surrounded us with loved ones. We could have crumbled during our infertility struggle, our early marriage years, or John’s unemployment after MacMurray College closed. But God gave us the people we needed for such a time as then, just as He is providing us with the people we need for such a time as now.
God gave us our son. Our reproductive endocrinologist could not explain how we became pregnant. Owen’s existence is a marvel. We have no human answers to how we became parents. BUT GOD.
God built us up to this stage (both literally and spiritually). John and I have led worship in various settings for years, in smaller contexts, both separately and together. We have sung in choirs and taken part in theater. God gave us the boldness to sing His praise in front of others. *I have certain strategies that help me boldly go (closing my eyes in worship is WONDERFUL). But I could not do this without God leading the way.
Perhaps you are questioning your current stage. Perhaps you were blindsided by experiences beyond your control and are struggling to make sense of it all. Can I ask you to do something, friend?
Look back to when God provided what you needed for such a time as then.
Take heart. God will certainly do it again. He probably already has.
Written by Leah Honnen. Leah Honnen is a wife, momma, and infertility warrior living in Jacksonville, IL. She is a homemaker and volunteers at her church, but loves spending time fixing up her pre-1920s home with her husband, John. Leah writes on the lessons she continues to learn in daily life – through infertility, motherhood, music, friendships, and more at www.flowinghonnens.com.