Leaving Well

I am married to a man who has worked for two companies after college graduation. My parents owned and ran their own company for more than 30 years. My in-laws raised all three boys in the same house while my FIL worked the one and only job he ever held. We are not the leaving kind. We are loyal, sometimes too loyal.

For about 6 months prior to Ally’s arrival, I had been feeling a distinct call towards something new. The more that I explored and read and dreamed, the more frustrated I became. With my excitement about new things, came my desire to share them. Unfortunately, some things were not quite as exciting to others. As we processed these new dreams as a family, the call to move on was clear for me. It took a little longer for Lucas; but when the time came, I resigned from my youth ministry job because God made it obvious that our season was complete.

For years, I challenged people to take risks and trust more in God than their abilities. To be honest, I wasn’t practicing much of it. God called my bluff. I wanted security and plan and stability. At the same time, I wanted to dream and be unconventional and push. What I discovered is that these desires are not often seen in the same organization. I was a bad fit. Not because of anyone’s fault. I was a bad fit because God had birthed in me a new season.

The most important lesson that I learned was that how you leave a place, particularly the Church, matters almost as much as the ministry that you do there. When we decided it was time to go, we made the decision to do so in a way that would celebrate the great things that we had experienced and lift high the relationships that had blessed our family. We also made the decision to live into the value of season. We had reached the end of a season. That was neither good nor bad. But it was over. And the best way to honor our next steps and the work that God had for the person that would follow me in ministry was to get out of the way.

Sure, there were aspects of ministry and friendships and the students that were so hard to leave behind. I can remember when we got home after our Sunday morning send off party. We looked at each other. What now? We don’t have youth tonight. What should we do? The answer seemed so clear. It’s time to start looking for a new community. So I got dressed and went to church. That very night. While we knew clearly that it was time to leave our church, we were equally as clear that we could not leave the Church. We wanted a community. We wanted people who were giving their lives away in radical, culture clashing ways.

So we kept meeting with people we loved and praying for guidance and reading and studying and serving. It was such a great season. I was more convicted of my call to be a part of the Church than ever before. I loved the freedom of designing space for my family to connect with Jesus in worship. I loved the organic expressions of faith that I was reading about and experiencing in other communities. It was like God had opened an entirely new chapter on Church and I could not get enough.






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