Today feels a little different in the Ray home. Usually on Monday mornings, Will and I wake up early, have our coffee and reading time, get ready for the day, then I kiss him goodbye as he heads off to work. We touch base during the day via text and phone calls, then he returns around 5:30 or 6 for dinner and whatever else might be on our schedules for the evening.
Today, I didn’t kiss him goodbye!
He’s still here – upstairs, working in his new make-shift office, as we adjust to our new routine of working from home.
As of today, Will is working part time as the youth ministries director at Celebration Church. As of August, he will no longer be working as the youth ministries director. Instead, we will both officially be self-employed! I will continue to work in my home studio, and Will is going to be working full time as a financial coach (while helping me out at NRP, too). Be sure to read his thoughts today too!
Yes, this is such a bittersweet transition. We LOVE our church. We LOVE the kids that we have led in youth ministry for the past 4.5 years. Our hearts are for ministry! And our hearts are especially for those kids. The hardest part of this change happened this past Wednesday night, when Will and I tearfully told a room full of middle schoolers and high schoolers that we won’t be their youth leaders anymore. I cried several times just thinking of that night in the days leading up to it. I cried on the way. I cried during prayer team, before service began. And you better believe we cried the whole time we explained our situation to them. Thankfully, God is good and loving, and He will never fail them. He will always care for them. He loves them more than we ever could.
So how did all of this come about?
It all started over a year ago, when Will and I decided to pray aloud together about our future. We began to fast and pray and seek God’s heart about our future as a family, and especially Will’s future in his career. While we sought after the Lord, He made it abundantly clear through several people, sermons, books, and many random confirmations : Will’s greatest strength is to help people in their finances. Not only is it his greatest strength, but it is his calling. At several points along the way in this journey, Will and I would look at each other, wide eyed, because it seems that God was shouting at us! He was abundantly clear.
Then came the hard part: stepping away from his current job, which he and I both love.
I call it the youth ministry “golden handcuffs.” It’s not the typical “golden handcuffs” that you’re thinking of – Will did not have crazy financial incentives, a heck of a retirement plan, or a million vacation days or whatever it is that big companies offer you to keep you to stay. If you’ve ever been in ministry, you know what I mean : ministry is extremely hard work and long hours… especially youth ministry. But these “golden handcuffs” are more difficult to break free from, in my opinion. They keep us locked in to people’s hearts. It’s incredibly difficult to step away while constantly hoping you see another student change their life and follow Jesus, while teaching students what it means to be confident in their identity, while witnessing leaders blossom before your eyes, while praying for them when their families are falling apart, while rejoicing over their accomplishments, while forming spiritual ties that bond us so deep.
That is why this was so hard. And that’s why it’s so important to listen and obey God’s voice. This was not an easy step for us, but it’s not always easy to obey the Lord. And we are entrusting this youth ministry into His care completely, knowing that He. is. faithful.
With that said, we are certainly excited about the new season! We are at peace, knowing that we are walking forward in obedience to the Lord. And personally, as Will’s wife, I am SO excited to see him work in his strengths and passion. There’s no doubt we are both thrilled to be self-employed, being entrepreneurs at heart!
For the next few months, it will be a season of transition and change that I’m sure will be filled with many bittersweet tears.
As I was enjoying the beautiful music of Joseph during a house concert last night, one of the vocalists said something like this:
This next song is about how some things can be really hard and really beautiful all at the same time. A lot of things in life are like that – full of that tension.
I couldn’t have said it better myself. This is certainly a season full of that tension – that beautiful, hard, tension that life is made of.
Here’s to a new season!
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