I’m sitting in my office peering out the window. The trees are nearly empty, the ground covered in colorful leaves, it’s a rainy Monday in October. I glance around my office. The walls are bare, only the necessities remain. This is a season of change in every aspect.
This Friday, October 23rd will be my official last day as the Children’s Ministry Director here at Evermore. As much as it pains me to be leaving a place that feels like home and people who feel like family, I know this is the leading of the Lord. I’ve been reminded lately that it is better to follow wherever the Lord leads than to ignore His plan for my own.
Back in August, I heard about an organization in Wooster that caught my interest. The Christian Children’s Home of Ohio (CCHO) is a residential trauma-treatment center for ages 6-17. They are in the process of opening a new home for girls ages 10-14, and need additional staff to make it possible. As I learned more about the heart behind their ministry, I felt myself being pulled deeper. I let Ross know that I was thinking of applying to work with them, and asked that he pray for discernment.
My role here at Evermore has meant so much to me. I felt clearly called to be here in June 2019, but the more I prayed about this decision I knew God was preparing my heart for a season of change. At one of our Monday morning staff meetings, I had planned to tell Dave, Harold, Butch and Sue of the changes that could be coming in the next weeks/months. Through tear-filled eyes and shaky sentences, I shared what God had laid on my heart. The support and encouragement I felt in that meeting was more than I could have ever asked for. I was assured that they would all stand with me no matter what decision I made. Each one of my co-workers confirmed that following God’s call is something we don’t hold people back from at Evermore.
I went through the interviewing process at CCHO and the peace that washed over me while I was on their campus affirmed that this is where God was leading me next. The past two months have been full of bittersweet emotions- excited for what is to come and grieving all that I have to leave behind.
Evermore has always been home for me. I was dedicated here as a baby, grew up attending Sunday school each week, made youth group a priority during high school, got baptized, interned for 6 months and then came on staff for 17 months. Most of my spiritual growth was because of my foundation at Evermore.
Evermore has always been family. Though many people here are relatives of mine, the connections run deeper. Family is found in the people who walk alongside you through the good, bad and ugly. I could write pages, naming people and the ways they have impacted my life. These people are family. This is what makes a church more than a building. This is what makes us family.
My years at Evermore have made me who I am today. On Friday I will walk out the office door for the last time as a staff member and take every lesson learned into a new ministry. I will get to bless them with the lessons I learned at Evermore. You all will be with me in that way. Thank you for being part of my growth, my spiritual maturing, my support system.
Now to say “thank you” …
Evermore staff: Ross, Dave, Harold, Butch and Sue- Thank you for extending grace to me as I learned how to be a leader. For reminding me it’s about the people not the tasks. For helping me navigate difficult situations. For being an example of how to follow God when it isn’t convenient. For always lending a helping hand when needed. For making me laugh.
EvermoreKids mentors: Bev Beachy & Rosy Anderson- Thank you for being patient with me as I stepped into a newly created role. For imparting your wisdom to me. For guiding me to success, and talking through mistakes. For encouraging me and supporting me. For being a blessing in my life.
Volunteers: Sunday school, Kings Kids, nursery, children’s church, YEC: Thank you for your willingness to serve our church and our children. For giving up your time and sacrificing convenience. For investing in the children. For being there when I needed you.
Parents of EvermoreKids- Thank you for entrusting your kids to us. For allowing me to love them. For making church a priority when the world says its not. For raising kids who challenge me in my faith. For acknowledging all the hard work that happens behind-the-scenes.
EvermoreKids- Thank you for sharing your hearts with me. For showing up expecting to grow closer to God. For having His Word hidden in your hearts. For being exactly who God made you to be.
This transition will be bittersweet. I take with me all your prayers, words of encouragement, and lessons learned. Next Monday morning I start my new role as a full-time Treatment Specialist at CCHO. I never saw this coming, but God had it planned all along. My prayer for all of you at Evermore is that you would have hearts open to where the Lord leads you. That you would give an obedient “yes”, even when His plan isn’t what you planned. I can’t promise that it won’t be difficult. I can promise you it will be worth it.
I ask you to be in prayer for a few things:
- a new children’s ministry director
- my transition as I move in with a host family in Wooster
- finding a new church that can become family
- stepping into my new role with a teachable heart
- the hearts/souls of the girls I will be caring for
Thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart.