A few weeks ago, I shared with you about a dream that I have had for quite a while regarding buying a church house and living in it with the idea of using the chapel/sanctuary for ceremonies, services, bible studies and that type of ministry. So… I want to share this process with you because I think everyone has times where something comes along that really touches our hearts, and our feelings can quickly want to go there. We can dream and plan, and plan and dream, but we may be doing it for not. God has the plan for our life.
So here is what happened. We decided that we would take a trip over to see it. We love road trips and it was our anniversary weekend, so we made the plans and left on Thursday. Had beautiful weather going over and I was taking pictures along the way. We visited a thrift shop in town and the ladies knew we weren’t from around there and so they asked. They invited us back any time to come back for a visit. They would love to see us! Now that is pretty special! We went by the property as we went through town just to check, and I had called the agent and set a showing for Friday morning first thing. After seeing it on Thursday, we were really excited about the prospects and dreamed all evening with our plans. The bottom line for both of us was, if God chose this opportunity, then He would make it clear. That was also our prayer Thursday night.
Friday morning arrives to beautiful sunshine and we meet at the church. The realtor just happened to be a former member and had been raised in that church. So fun to get some of the history of the church. It was also generous of the seller to offer all stained glass windows, pews, altar, chairs, tables and organ if the buyer were keeping it as a church/chapel. Wow!!! As you know, things of history and antiques are a love of mine and so this got my juices flowing. Where ever I turned, I saw light filtering in through colorful windows. It was just uplifting to walk around the upstairs. I walked through the sanctuary touching all the pews and the altar and thought of all the goings on there over the years and the hands that built it. I could see various uses for this sweet little church that had been attended by faithful followers for years. We went downstairs and walked around and envisioned making it our home, but also, something that could be used for small gatherings and would be something like a hotel lobby decorated with our furniture and things. I would make the kitchen into a farm type kitchen. We would be installing bookshelves across the whole back-end of the social hall. We walked the property line which was quite large and found out that half of the property could be sold if we desired. That meant we could gain return on the investment of purchase if we chose to have less property with the church. Yes. We were intrigued and actually pretty excited about it.
Next? City Hall. We talked with them about some of our ideas and what they would allow and not allow. If we kept it as a church and put another home on the property, would that change anything? We also found that downstairs where we would make a home, we would have to put insulation and sheet rock on the whole thing; the tongue and groove ceiling also…IF we wanted to live in it. So now, we are talking about a purchase, then remodeling before we could even move in. Or, if we were keeping it as a church, moving in a home and living in that home, we wouldn’t have to do any remodeling except to update some things here and there. So if we live in it, BIG money, if we put a home on the property, we have to have money for the home plus the cost of purchase of the church. Getting the idea???? A lot of lay out up front. Quite a big of adventure for us. The city was VERY excited to have someone interested in keeping it as a church and using it. We would have total support. But when we did the pro and con sheet, and talked it all through, and became a bit more realistic for us. Is this God asking us to depend on Him for something that looks impossible to us? Or, are we looking only through our own eyes? So we prayed and decided that God would let us know what to do.
We drove home and discussed again some of the pros and cons, our family and friends at home. All these things play into the idea of a move; especially in retirement. God places people in our lives to encourage and assist us along the way. We would be moving away from that and starting over. But it could easily be the opposite where God is asking us to make that sacrifice in order to do something beyond what we are thinking. He may be asking us to make this move, just like He asked us to do that when we moved to Missouri. Humm… as we drove along in the Lime Squeeze, we had times of quiet on the way home; each with our thoughts about the church and the information we were now armed with. What does God have in mind for us?
This morning, my sweetie shared with me that during his prayer time, God put something on his heart about the church house. He felt God told him that we were possibly looking at this in the wrong light. He gave him some examples, one of which was when satan tempted Jesus by showing Him all that could be His IF He would follow him. It became clear to my sweetie that this was one of those times. It looked good, we could have a blast making it into something enjoyed by many. It would be a great ministry opportunity! We were full of ideas!! We both saw it as positive. But not everything we think is for us, IS. So we ask ourselves, “Is this a test for us to listen to God in spite of our excitement? Is the financial aspect a bit over the top given our goals to live the Dave Ramsey lifestyle?” We have worked hard to live debt free and this situation would put us at a place of riding the edge of a cliff possibly without the assurance of return. It is about ministry, but you have to pay the bills. Yes, if it is God’s will, it is God’s bill. But we feel He made it clear that all that we could do was possible, but not right for us.
So in prayer, we blessed the sale of that little church house to someone who we know God has in mind, and turned our dreams over to Him. He knows what we need, and He knows the direction He wants to take us. That means there is something else ahead and only He knows which door we need to open. We rest in that. The disappointment we may feel, will be turns into joy as we are obedient to Him. His still small voice speaks the first thing in the morning to let us know the way we are to go. I’m thankful that I can live knowing that without a doubt He hears and will speak to us.
I hope you can learn something from our experience. What looks good isn’t always good. What feels good isn’t always best. What dream doesn’t happen at one point, might be because the dream you have had will come to fruition in another way. Or, He just wants to know you are listening to His guidance. Hold on to that. Don’t let go of His hand, no matter how it looks to your head and heart. We have. We have peace, knowing He gave us His answer. We only have to obey His leading. After all, what good would it do if He tells us what He believes to be best, and we just go ahead and do what our feelings dictate anyway? Never worth it. Listen. Obey. Move on knowing He has spoken. He will never let go of your hand. When we DO listen, it builds our faith also, because we hear, obey and see God work in our lives. We begin to recognize His voice more and more as we see what our obedience does in our relationship with Him. Isn’t that awesome?!? I think so. I hope you will be encouraged through our experience to trust Him more tomorrow than we do today!
Walking the journey with you…~JoAnn