Our Story

 It always interest's me to read about all of the friends I have now in the blogging world_it intrigues me. This post is kind of long but my hope is that my innermost will be expressed through this typed and you will have a better picture of this journey or adventure, that we've been on..

My husband Jode and I have worked/served a church full time for 10+ years. We started out in Louisiana as Youth Pastors/ Jode led worship on Sunday mornings. 
It was a church plant_so you wear many "hats" and 
do whatever_whenever_and you count it a privilege. After 4 years of growing in our faith/walk/ministry I remember we went to a conference and while driving the 10 hours back home _we both knew God was calling us on to something else..I hesitated bringing it up to Jode but then he started talking of our future and so I kind of just blurted it out.

We resigned our position and in prayer we sought God as to where He wanted to use us next or have us to go, as well as counsel/guidance from friends.
Through a mutual friend we were introduced to Larry & Kim who were the Youth Pastors at a phenomenal church in Pa. Their Youth/Church were exploding and they were getting ready to build a new building..they basically said if you come here we will put you to work..and so that's just what we did_with a 4,3, and 1 year old we sold our land/house, packed everything we owned, which then fit into 1 UHaul truck, and moved over 1100 miles.

I had only lived by family, on family property, and been as far as TN. We moved with no job, just a UHaul truck filled with our belongings, what little money we had mustered up, a God that was making the way, and 1 family we had connected with.

Sidenote: this family, Larry & Kim, had 4 girls and a weiney dog, Princess. But from the firstthey loved on us and accepted us as one of them..and that was enough_enough for us to say "we're in" and we will help you do this/build this ministry for His kingdom.They became our family and  modeled what it meant to have "unconditional love" for people.

It took Jode 3 weeks and after plastering the area he found a job managing a Paint Store while I stayed at home with our babes and learned how to do things in the North_snow,Yens, clothes..we didn't even own a coat when we moved..we lived in La which never gets below 30 degrees..

A year later of Jode working Mon-Sat at a Paint Store and all day on Sunday volunteering for our church...they offered him a full time postion as an associate to Larry the Youth Pastor.
We would faithfully serve the vision of the lead Pastor/church for another 3 years until the phone call I recieved after getting in from Sunday church. When you have a voicemail from your ex-stepmom and your mom both_ you know it's probably not good and can only be about 1 person_ it was my dad.
He had had a massive heart attack while out in his garden and had gone without oxygen for quite some time before a neighbor had spotted him. 
They were able to shock his heart back_but they couldn't bring him back. 

He was put on machines to keep him with us for awhile longer. 
They wouldn't tell me of his condition thoroughly being so far away but in a matter of hours we were packed, choosing to leave our kids behind with those friends, L&K, for a week, as we flew into the unknown_

Nothing preps or can prepare you for seeing a loved one die or cross over from here to there. Leaving only myself & 1 older brother behind, Andrew..Drew we call him, to make the final decisions for my dad. 
I prayed so hard_fervently_for a miraculous healing or sign_for him to open his eyes, move his feet, or squeeze my hand you know, like you see in all of the movies. 
But there was nothing_my dad lay there an empty shell_motionless_lifeless
I even tried at one point to pry his eyes open_  I told him this wasn't how it was supposed to be. You know, I needed more time to make sure he was O.K. with all of this...something. He was 54 and we hadn't talked about wakes/funerals, what song he wanted played, did he want to donate his body for experimenting?_it was so much_so fast_and it was hard for me to process.

They did the tests and I wanted to see it for myself_I wanted to know without a doubt that it wasn't possible for him to wake up, if left on a machine, in 3 months. There was nothing though..no brain waves, his kidneys were shutting down, and other organs, too. So I held his hand for the last as they unplugged him, I prayed, and covered my ears with my hands to drown out the noise and hear only my words...

In a week's time dad dies, we bury him, clean his house out, take care of his bills, payments, etc put his house up for sale, and get back to Pa...forever changed.
You know after someone dies life goes on as usual_only things aren't usual_it would be awhile before I could get past the fear that I had played a part in killing him. After all, I had given my consent..my brother and I were left to sign our names on a line that was final...I felt the weight of that decision and wondered if I would be held accountable?
There was unrest with the church and at home...we so longed to be closer to family now more than ever.
To the church in Pa, I will forever feel indebted to _they believed in us_and were so generous in everything they did. That time in our lives is what gave us our foundation, the Pastor was a Spiritual father to so many..there was a complete trust in Him and what he stood for..and his wife was a gem.. a truly genuine beautiful person.

So we made the decision to come back home to Louisiana_our house sold to the first people that looked at it. For a short time, we helped a struggling church in TX and a year later we got a call from a friend who pastored in FL who asked Jode to come lead worship & help them with their portable church.
We did...and after a year+ the pastor decides he doesn't want to be that main stream with music and so we part ways_hurt_we were friends first & foremost_and then not_because of a preference in styles. He no longer pastors and we no longer work for a church.
He later emails asking for forgiveness and we forgive because we know that we have been forgiven and none of us "deserve it"...any of it.

We're once again talking with God asking for direction, for that God led person to partner under, where we should go ...what to do..
We make plans to come visit S.C and to sit in a service at a church that hard rocked our world 2 years prior. At the first of hearing this pastor talk of Jesus, the church, and religion vs. relationship it all just makes sense...but no one else is saying it..you know the things you think about church in your head but are scared to say out loud. The vision, passion, & purpose they stand for is what draws us. We were forever changed by hearing his teachings and once you know or have been exposed to something/truth..you can't go back.
"If you know then you know and it can't be again "unknown".

This is getting to be the "normal" for us..but we decide to move to S.C. with no job, no place to live, and this time knowing no one_we just felt this is where God wanted for us to come...
so we came.
This time we're packed into 2 UHauls, our kids are 10,9, and 7 years old, we're a little heavier, but still a fire that burns to serve Him and the church. 
After searching for a place to live, we see a sign in the yard on a house for sale_call to see if they're interested in leasing the home and they are. After 3 looong months Jode is finally able to get a steady job and have an income coming in...how did we survive? we had no savings set aside_ Could I ever write or tell of all the things He's taught_shown_brought us through.., probably not. What's next? how can we be used to our fullest, whom is it praying for an "us" to come...

I sit here today not glad to be here in this place/state_but content. This has been a season of loneliness, testing _a season of re-defining who we are...it's been a humbling experience. I now know ministry isn't determined by a paycheck or a title_or the biggest or smallest church_or the hurriedness of getting this & that done_ it's
our life given over-turned over-sacrificed daily_not my desires but His_ and I sit here knowing now more than ever that we serve a BIG God_who still does miraculous things_ just ask us... :)

Heather :)