We prayed about our decision to go to Rhode Island and we prayed about our decision to return back to Maine. We wanted to stay. I pleaded with God to let us call Riverside, Rhode Island our home. Roots started to take hold of the fertile ground and we desperately wanted them to grow deep. We prayed for Him to make a way: to sell our home in Maine, to help my husband find a job in Rhode Island or Massachusetts. But, He didn’t. And here’s the reality: We could have stayed anyway. We could have made it happen on our own. We saw God moving and we wanted to be a part of it. But, we also prayed a specific prayer at the beginning of this journey. The Lord didn’t answer that prayer, and our deepest desire was to be obedient, so we returned to Maine.
We mourned the return for weeks, but then something happened. My husband received a call from someone at the office of Maine’s Attorney General asking if he would consider taking a job… a job he didn’t apply for. This job would mean relocating and after having our house on the market for over a year, with not one single offer, we doubted the probability of that happening. Yet, after less than a week on the market, we got an offer. Almost like the Lord whispering, ever so softly in our ear, “I’ve called you back for a reason,” we knew this was the Lord and a new chapter in our story was about to unfold.
Despite knowing our return to Maine was part of His plan, we had a difficult time returning to the old rhythm of life, and with that, our old church. While we were gone, it increased in size by 300 people. We already had reservations about being a part of a large church before we left for Rhode Island, but at almost 1000 people, we began feeling a little claustrophobic. Yet, regardless of our apprehensions, it was home; our family was there. So, I did the only thing I knew how to do: Disciple.
The next year was the absolute hardest of my life… up to that point. (The subsequent years were FAR worse. Thankfully, I had no way of knowing that at the time. If I had, I might have walked away from the Church all together!) After watching the Holy Spirit at work in Rhode Island, coming back to our “reality” of church in Maine was hard. Over the next year, I would wrestle with the Lord, question the motives of man, and walk away from a church for reasons I never could have foreseen.