Four years ago today, March 1, 2013, I moved, along with my wife and 2 children, from South Florida to the great state of Texas. It marked a change in a season of my life. Prior to our move to Texas, I had served in ministry for nearly seventeen years. I had been a Youth Pastor, an Itinerant minister, an Associate Pastor, Senior Pastor of a church and worked for a nationally known ministry. We owned our own home and were fairly secure financially. That all changed in an instant.
I was eventually laid off from my job with the nationally known ministry and the church my wife and I were a part of was no longer able to support us financially. We lost almost all of our income and found it difficult to make ends meet. I found myself waiting tables at a local restaurant, struggling to keep a house we could no longer afford. During that time, the Lord brought me to Austin in a dream. It was a dream that would mark a significant shift in the season of our lives. To make a long story short, my wife Sarah was hired at True Life as the Worship Pastor and we moved to the region. We sold our home for a loss and moved.
When we arrived, Sarah was brought on staff on a part time basis. I had no job and we had no place to live. We lived with a family from our church for the first month before moving into an apartment. Within 2 weeks and moving I had found a job at a local hospital. But I still wasn’t doing what I was passionate about, which was full-time ministry. That season lasted for 3 years. Now I am full time at our church, doing what I love and am passionate about.
Many people have asked me how I made it through that time in my life. There are two things that you need to do when in the midst of a season change. First, you need to remember the words that the Lord has spoken over you. Secondly, you build the wall.
Remember the Words you received
During those three years, I remembered that it was the Lord who brought me to Austin in a dream, before I had ever set foot in the region. I remembered every prophetic word that had been spoken over my life. In the book of 1Timothy 4:14 Paul says, “Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you.” Paul encourages Timothy to remember the prophetic words spoken over him. They became the tool that He would use when others looked down on him.
Many times, when I would be frustrated with the season I was in, I would find myself, reading all the words spoken over my life. I would begin to declare them. I would pray into them. It was the words spoken over my life that would give hope, knowing that God is faithful to fulfill His word. These words, become the weapon you use against doubt and discouragement.
Build the Wall
This is probably the most important point I can make. You need to build the wall that is directly in front of you. In the book of Nehemiah, the walls of Jerusalem laid in ruin and the children of Israel found themselves in exile. Nehemiah, who was a cupbearer for the oppressing king, petitions the king to allow him to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the walls of the city. He receives the king’s favor and returns to find there was much opposition. Nehemiah instructed the people to build the portion of the wall that was directly in front of their home. They did so, with tools in one hand and a weapon in the other. Nehemiah and those helping were able to complete the task in 52 days.
Now you may be asking, “What does building a wall have to do with the season that I am in?” The answer is simple. It has everything to do with it. You may have the bigger picture of what God has for you, but it all starts with facing what is directly before you. What portion of the wall is in front of you? When you start building what is in front of you, the whole wall eventually comes together.
For me, that looked like working in a hospital for three years. I didn’t complain about it. I turned it into an opportunity to build something for the Lord. Every patient I came into contact with, I prayed for. Every nurse or doctor I worked with, received encouragement from me. I focused on building that portion of the wall and making it strong. That led to favor and I was promoted to a supervisor position by the end of my first year.
At church, I did the same thing. I focused on helping my wife build a strong worship community. I served in the church. I helped out in our school of ministry. I focused on building whatever part of the wall was directly in front of me. Now, I am on staff, full time, as the associate pastor.
There were times where I would have to fight off doubt and discouragement. God’s word’s spoken over me, became my weapons. Often times I felt like Nehemiah, with building tools in one hand and a weapon in the other. Doubt or discouragement would try to come in, but I would fight with one hand and continue to build the wall with the other.
You may find yourself in a season where it seems like nothing is happening. Remember the words that God has given you. Use those as your weapons. Then, build the wall. Build the portion of the wall that is directly in front you. As you do, you will see the wall completed and God fulfill the words spoken over you.