Welcome Home! That is what my wife Kristie and I felt as we recently relocated to the incredible city of Fort Collins. We have been married for 15 years and moved around a little, but have never truly felt at home, until now. Though we have lived in some great places from the mountains of Colorado to the coast of Northern Florida it’s only now that we feel we are home.
Our journey has taken us to great places with even greater people. I know there were a few times in the past 15 years that I asked or maybe begged God to hurry things up. Thankfully God is faithful to His promises and not our moans.
No matter who you are or where you are, God has a plan just for you. The problem we have sometimes is not with God but with our willingness to stick to His plan. After knowing each other for just seven months Kristie and I were married. I was an engineer/youth pastor and she was a physician, willing to go wherever God would lead us. Our desire was always to be in a full time ministry position somewhere somehow. This was not just some fantasy we had but true goals that had been birthed within us in prayer and in the presence of God.
We loved the church we met in, all the people, and what God was doing there. I was planning on taking the church over at some point when our pastor decided to retire. Everything was perfect. Then life happened and these devilish things called student loans came due. With Kristie in the medical profession that devil of debt was big. So we had to leave what we thought was the perfect place for us and relocate to northern Florida, a place we both said we would never live. Haha , don’t ever say that. Even though we didn’t want to leave we knew it was God who was leading us there. It wasn’t just to pay off grants and loans but it was training in following God down His path and not the quick, easy plan we wanted. We planned on getting out of there as soon as possible but a wise pastor instructed us that maybe we should pray about it. We didn’t really want to pray we just wanted to go back to our plan. Needless to say we did pray and wholeheartedly sought God on how long we should remain in Florida. I will never forget the night when God spoke to us. Yep, that’s right. He spoke to us both at exactly the same time. I was finished preaching and was praying with people at the altar when I turned from one person the Lord spoke and said “seven years”. I remember looking in the back of the church where my pregnant wife was jumping and screaming (in a joyful way) and I knew God told her too. As we drove home we were silent for a few minutes but finally we spoke and tried to figure out who should go first. What if we heard different things?! I have found out that when you give God everything and don’t hold on to what you want that it is a lot easier to hear Him and not wonder if it was you or the pizza. So we said it at the same time “seven”. God was so faithful. So we spent the next seven years listening to God and growing in who we were in Christ. I started Bible school and got my masters in theology at the same time I was teaching at the school. We also served as the assistant pastors at the church.
That seven years went by very quickly as we welcomed our son and daughter home. As we approached the end of our time there we knew God was calling us back to Colorado but didn’t know where. So we just let God open the right doors and we walked through them. Another step closer to home and less of a student loan burden. We found ourselves in the glorious mountains of Colorado. Our dreams of full time ministry were still there, but we felt we needed to remove the debt before we could move forward. I remember Kristie had received a word from God before we left Florida, that the next place we went to would be a launching place for us. Words like this are wonderful, but don’t always come to pass in our expected timeline. We have to remember to hold on to what God says while we wait.
Like other times we found ourselves in a powerful church with great people and we became the assistant pastors. Kristie was able to attend Bible school as well. As God supernaturally helped us pay off our student loan debts, the desires for what God wanted for us when we started this journey began to stir within our hearts with a renewed passion. There was an incredible day in 2016 when I clicked the submit button on our final student loan payment.
God began to stir in our hearts to plant a church even though that was never our intention when we started out. We just kept walking with Him on the journey though. We began to search the heart of God for where and when this would happen. As we prayed several places around Colorado, including the Loveland/Fort Collins area, rose up in our hearts. We felt we needed to come visit and seek God, allowing Him to speak to us about where we should go. We came and stayed a few days in Estes Park during spring break 2017. We spent time in prayer asking God to show us His will. During our trip we took the kids to a movie in Loveland and as we were leaving I had a thought which at the time I didn’t think about being from God but hindsight I know it was. He said go up to Fort Collins before you go home. As we drove into the city for the first time such a wonderful presence of God filled us. It was almost a shock as to how strong the presence of God was in the city. There were three separate times that I came into the city and God met me confirming and sealing within me where He wanted us to be.
Now let’s jump ahead to June of 2018. It took us 15 years to get here. We are finally here after much prayer and following where God was leading us; even when it seemed like He was taking us as far as possible from the plans we felt He had for us. There were twists, turns and some setbacks. Waiting is difficult, but it was during this time that God was preparing us for what He he had planned for us. Every place that God brought us to we learned new things and drew closer to Him. I believe the next part or our journey is just beginning. We will continue with what brought us here, to this moment- surrendered to God and His will.
Knowing that His plan will come to pass (even when it is not happening as quickly as we would like it to) we don’t have to go around Him or push the issue, but simply listen and follow Him. He makes everything perfect in His time.
Welcome home. Let’s start the next leg of the journey.