Written By: Krista Dunbar
Leaping is not something that’s easily attainable for those of us that move out of fear, trepidation, or paralysis. It’s hard to coax our bodies to move forward when our minds want to do anything and everything but just that. It’s hard when the thing ahead of you is the unknown. It’s hard when it’s something you’ve never experienced before or aren’t sure of the end result. But that’s life. That’s what it’s all about. I’m learning slowly and surely with a patient and kind God that will gently and surely remind me that He will always go before me. That if I make a wrong choice, He will correct my path every single time. That if I’m too fearful to move, He will calm my anxieties with a silent but fulfilling peace. And every single time, He proves that He is big enough. He proves that He has a plan for everything (and our singular lives are no exception). So here is my story of a big jump, rather than a leap for my husband and me. It’s our story of trusting, wrestling, praying and fasting with a Creator whose timing is perfect.
When I was still single and engaged, I was doing my due diligence and continuing my job search for my first “big-girl” job. I had just finished an internship in marketing and communications and wanted to take what I had learned, couple it with my passion, and be a freelance communication consultant for churches around my area. Little did I know…I knew so little about church communications, but I had a passion and desire to use my love of writing to make the church more beautiful. My friend and co-leader at my church had grown up at a church across town and told me that it couldn’t hurt to send an email to the pastor. So…I did. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but I knew that I needed a job, that I wanted to use my gifts in a church setting, and that I had nothing to lose and everything to gain by pressing “send”. I typed out a professional, yet passionate email to the pastor sharing my heart and desires to help them if they needed it.
He responded quickly that he would like to meet with me. I was over the moon ecstatic. The next week, I sat in the pastor’s office and shared my story and my heart with him. He asked about my life. At the time I was living with my roommate and her two kids as I would say (my mom and sisters) and was engaged to be married in a couple months to an incredible man who had a desire and calling to be a pastor and was currently working with a 20somethings church plant.
Little did I know that God was working in a BIG way in that meeting.
It went so well. I expected to get a call the next week asking me to start as soon as possible. That didn’t happen. He did call though. He called to ask for a joint interview with my fiancé and I. We were so nervous and excited and felt that this was going to be it. This would be the day that would give us a solid foundation for the start of our marriage journey together.
That didn’t happen.
While the interview went very well and lasted almost 5 hours (sitting, talking, and laughing in an Applebees)…we wouldn’t see an end to the tunnel for awhile. For us-it was a perfect fit. Chris would be able to do ministry and one that he is passionate about, and I would finally be able to use my skills to help the church. But again, our timing isn’t God’s timing.
Chris found a job working as a contract painter with a local contractor. This was a HUGE growing experience for him. Not only that, he did janitorial work on the side for our church. While he worked hard to make money for the wedding and our future, I was working hard at an oddity of jobs (substitute teaching, serving at a few restaurants, writing freelance assignments for a local newspaper, and building up my portfolio). We both wanted to be settled in our fields desperately.
While we waited (impatiently) to hear back from the church, we continued growing in our relationship together, planned a wedding, and I started the process of saying goodbye to my grandma. It was A LOT of stuff. Good stuff and bad stuff. I think God knew we wouldn’t have been able to take on this job if we had gotten it during all of this. During this time, we continued to be faithful. Then we tied the knot. After the wedding, we continued to attend our church. I had quit my jobs because we moved to the opposite side of town, and began searching heavily for options. My grandma passed a month after the wedding, so it was a rough time of searching and asking God what the heck He wanted us to do. My sweet grandma had offered up her home to us to live in while she was in hospice. We took her up on it and lived there while my uncle and mom got it up on the market and ready to sell.
We started to give up on hope. It had been seven months of waiting, not hearing anything but a “maybe” from the church. We searched high and low for opportunities and wondered about moving across the country (if any time would be good, it would’ve been then). We began praying, fasting, and reading as much Scripture as we could for direction.
I had given up on the idea of this job being attainable. I started to get mad. I wondered how a church could string along a couple of newlyweds with no money for an entire year. I wondered why I would wait a whole year for a part-time job. It was frustrating for Chris as he continued getting up everyday to go to a job that he felt he wasn’t good at and hated. That first few months of marriage after the honeymoon was definitely trying for us. We loved and hated it. We loved that we were together finally, but hated that we were in a holding cell. We made the decision to move. Not one day later, we heard back from the church letting us know that we were one of three final candidates in the running. I was still mad. I was still ready to go and not look back. But that was in my selfishness and desire for justice for the long waiting period we were experiencing. I know now that my anger was misplaced and it was a way of disconnecting from my disappointment. I also know that it had everything to do with the Lord’s timing.
After we went on another interview with the search team, we had GREAT feelings about the church and the people we would be ministering to if the job was ours. The only problem was that it wasn’t a sure thing. There were still two people in the running and my grandma’s house was just sold. We had two weeks to find a place to live and a job to afford it.
I still thought Tennessee would be a great idea, although deep down we both knew it was time to make a decision and trust God in the whole process. We would be moving without security, without a solid job, and without assurance that we would be able to pay for our rent every month. But we decided to take the leap. We moved closer to the church and prayed on our knees that God would provide.
To this day, I honestly have no idea how we paid the bills that first few months in the apartment. We were still waiting to hear back about our jobs and found really creative ways to put food on the table and enjoy each other’s company.
The church hired us three months after we moved. And God’s timing is perfect. If it had been our plan, we wouldn’t have had to wait. We wouldn’t have had to place our FULL trust in God. We wouldn’t have learned the importance of taking a risk knowing that God would catch us…no matter the outcome.
His timing is perfect. You have to trust and take the leap. He will always catch you. This story is still crazy to me. It’s been more than two years that we’ve been worshipping and working at the church. And I praise God for His timing, and the opportunity He has given us through His story and through the faithfulness of the leaders and elders of our church home. He is good.