Monday, January 28, 2008

A Leap of Faith

Have you ever taken a "leap of faith?"

Let me define for you what I mean - doing something so outrageous with no safety net under you just because God asked you to do it.

I was reading an e-mail from a friend this morning about an upcoming revival at her church. She attached a photo of her church in the e-mail and it tickled my curiosity so I looked it up on the Google map to see where her church was located.

Oh, the memories that came flooding back as I realized her church wasn't far from Memphis, TN. You see, Dan and I lived in Memphis for a year shortly after we were married and that was some year! It was the year we took a gigantic leap of faith into the unknown with only God's gentle nudging to guide us.

We were newly married. Dan was attending a small Bible college in western PA to complete his education - the next step toward becoming a pastor. I was earning my PHT (putting hubby through - Ha, ha!) and working as a waitress in a family restaurant. Those were the days when gas was cheap and we managed on $15 per week for groceries.

One day I waited on a visiting revival speaker and his family at the little restaurant where I worked. I noticed they prayed before their meal and overheard snatches of the conversation, enough to know he was a minister. I felt God's nudge to invite them to our home for a meal and we decided to attend the revival services later on.

One thing led to another as we chatted until they learned my husband played piano. They invited us to come to work with youth and play piano at their church in Memphis. We hardly knew them - certainly not well enough to take such a gigantic step. We had no savings, no jobs down south and no family there, but the idea of moving to Memphis just wouldn't leave us alone. We believed God was telling us to "Go."

So we wrote the pastor and told him we were coming, packed up our furniture into a 10 foot pull along U-Haul and set off on the greatest adventure of our lives. We stopped overnight in Cincinnati and stayed with some friends and made the second long leg of our journey the following morning. It was late when we arrived at the pastor's house - in the middle of a prayer meeting. We had only $40 to our name when we arrived!

But God! How wonderfully we saw Him provide for our needs. I found a job the first week we were there and Dan found one shortly after that. Since we didn't have much furniture, we were totally surprised when God provided a partially furnished apartment: centrally located near the church and within walking distance of each of our jobs! Even the color scheme of the apartment matched our meager household furnishings.

It was a stretching, growing experience for Dan and I as we adjusted to being 1.000 miles away from our family. Dan began his studies again through an extension campus of a nearby Bible College and was granted ministerial credentials.

We learned to rely on God and each other and made many new friends along the way. God allowed us to move home to PA the following year and begin pastoral ministry in a church of our own, but we will never forget the lessons learned along the way.

Though it was one of the most uncertain times of our married life, we remember it as one of the best because during that time, God cemented our hearts together as a couple and cemented our trust in Him as the head of our family. Taking a "leap of faith" can be scary, but when God is in it, the ride back down to Terra firma can be pretty exciting!

That was 33 years ago. We have jumped off a few career "cliffs" since then, following God's leading, but the lessons in trust we learned the first time have served us well. He has ALWAYS provided and been there with us.

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