Saying Goodbye to the Pastorate

This strange season, that began more than two years ago now, has moved beyond calling it a “season.” It is more like a new life. Normally when I think of “new life” it is something exciting, filled with hope and promise—but this “new life” is very hard. It is filled with sorrow, loss, and anguish. Most days, I’m held fast by the Word of truth, and anchored by the living Hope—Jesus, the One who I run to for refuge (see Hebrews 6:17–20).

But many days, I’m overwhelmed by the sorrow and loss, and continually crying out to God for His grace to secure my weary heart. This is one of those days. I’m recounting where we’ve been, and very unsure of what is ahead.

Our precious church family has patiently waited for the past two years, hopeful and praying for LeRoy’s healing and recovery. They’ve stood with us, loved on us, supported and prayed for us. And they’ve waited.

Their loyalty and love has been a visible demonstration to us of the faithfulness of our God. They could’ve tossed us aside, moved on to “greener pastures”, fired us or dumped us on the street—but instead, they’ve waited. They believed that one day LeRoy would once again serve as their pastor. We held out hope for that as well.

On the last day of May, in LeRoy’s regular devotional reading, he was starting the book of Deuteronomy and when he came to verse 6, in the first chapter, he paused there a long time. He waited and prayed, mulling over what he believed God was impressing on him in that little phrase “long enough.” He knew that God was letting him know that our church has stayed at this “mountain of waiting” long enough. It is time. It is time for them to call a pastor who can shepherd them. It has been long enough.

LeRoy was just a boy when he sensed God’s calling on his life. He was only thirteen when he was asked to bring his first “message” to a small group of kids at a church camp. He said that he read the passage, and then started weeping, he could hardly speak.

He’s been preaching the Word of God most of his life. It’s hard to imagine, but he was only eighteen when he began pastoring his first church. He earned his biblical studies degree as a University student while pastoring. He’s a gifted communicator of the Word—my favorite preacher—and now, he’s stepping away from his post at a church we dearly love. He is the only pastor many of these people have ever had. It is a sorrowful time, but we sorrow not as those who have no hope.

We grieve this loss, but we know God has good purpose in what He is doing.  

Prayer is effective and biblical—and once again I’m asking for your prayers. In this new and challenging season, this is how you can pray for us:

  • Pray for protection for our hearts. We desire to finish well, no matter what we are doing we want God to be seen and glorified. Pray for hearts and minds to stay anchored in truth, to maintain a fresh love for Christ and His Word, to focus on serving Him in a “new” way—even if that’s only from the living room chair. Even if no one sees, if it is a hidden prayer ministry, or a quiet form of communicating truth to our family or in a limited context.
  • Pray for wisdom and clear direction for meeting real needs. For almost forty years, I’ve been a pastor’s wife. I’ve also been a teacher, counselor, conference speaker, blogger, and author—but I’ve never been our financial provider. I’m moving into a new (and for me very scary) role of responsibility. At an age when many women would be prepared to retire, I’m seeking the Lord about what He has for me, what way I can provide an income for us. I never imagined being in this position and I’m desperately needing the anchor of hope to stabilize me and hold me steady when the future looks overwhelming.  
  • Pray for our precious church family, this is a transition for them as well. We desire to see them thrive under the leadership of the next pastor and will love and support him as he steps into that role. It will be a joy to see how God moves and works.
  • As always, I’m asking for you to pray for LeRoy’s pain to decrease, for healing and recovery. But, if that doesn’t come, pray for endurance as he daily deals with the pain and the toll that takes emotionally and physically.

We are truly grateful for each of you and are upheld by your faithful intercession. No matter what—God is good, His purposes are perfect, and He alone is worthy of our worship.