Our Journey

Guest blogger:  Dana Barnes

About 14 months ago, our family experienced an event in our lives that we never imagined would take us on the journey we have faced.   We served in our church at that time for 4 ½ years, and due to some very unfortunate circumstances, we felt God prompting us to leave and for Eric to resign from his position in the church.  The weeks following that day in July when Eric resigned were full of sadness, hurt, disappointment and sometimes even anger.  I remember crying often during that time.  During those days of uncertainty, I often asked God why we had to experience such hurt and pain.  Little did I realize that this was only the beginning of a learning experience that God would use to change my life. 

 

Just weeks after Eric’s resignation, our economy began to slip.  And as a result of these difficult times, and much to our surprise, Eric has had a hard time finding full-time, permanent employment.  I often wonder… would we have chosen a different path had we known what we were going to face???  I surely hope not, because I would never want to miss out on the blessings I have experienced as a result of this trial. 

 

Eric has applied for many jobs during this past year.  Unfortunately, he has only been able to land a few temporary opportunities.  We consider each job a blessing from God.   Each one gave us a little income, certainly not what we were accustomed to bringing in, but every dime was precious.  Eric has hung blinds with a good friend who worked so hard to help us.  He worked in a warehouse at a neighbor’s business.  He substituted at our son’s high school.  And this summer, he got a temporary opportunity when a friend of a friend needed a little help with a new business adventure.  While working this job, Eric has traveled all across the metro area.  He has visited many places that we often avoid because of crime and the lack of security.  This temporary job that was only to last a few weeks, has turned out to last a few months…again despite the sometimes uncomfortable places Eric has visited, we are thankful.  Eric is working full-time hours right now, but this opportunity is scheduled to end September 30th

 

During this past year, despite the opportunities that have come and gone, God has been faithful.  He has provided for our needs in so many ways.  He has given Eric temporary jobs.  He has blessed my work.  He has put family members and friends in our lives who are in a position where they are able to help us financially.  We have received gifts from people we don’t know.  We have received groceries and gift cards.  We have been given furniture and home accessories (thanks family!).   We have been able to cut some of our utilities and other expenses.  We’ve received discounts, coupons, rebates……the list goes on and on.  So many wonderful people have ministered to us during this time……to all of you, thank you.  What a humbling experience this has been, and…..we are grateful! 

 

A couple of months ago, we began to feel an urgency to get plugged into a local church.  We were beginning to feel disconnected, and just didn’t know where we belonged.   We knew we needed to get settled again in a place where we could grow and serve.  During this time away from ministry, God has given us several opportunities to worship in two of the best churches in our country.  First, at North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, under one of the greatest leaders I know, Andy Stanley.  North Point was a wonderful place for us when we needed to hide and heal.  Secondly, our home, Hebron Church in Dacula, under the leadership of Larry Wynn and my brother-in-law, Kevin Miller.  We are so grateful for Hebron.  It was here that we grew up, accepted Christ and served.   We were at Hebron when we accepted God’s call to serve in full-time ministry.  Being at Hebron for several months was comforting, but God would not allow us to get comfortable.  After attending Hebron this summer for several weeks, we realized that God had another plan for our family.  He led us to a young, but growing church just down the road from our home.  We have been attending Graystone Church for a couple of months and know that this is the place where God wants us to serve.  The boys are getting involved in the student ministry.  I will begin working in the children’s ministry this Sunday.  Eric is plugging in wherever needed.  We found a small group and attended it for the first time last Sunday night.  We know that God has equipped us through our experiences to help make a difference through the ministries at Graystone.  The leadership has a vision for the communities that surround us and we are excited about the opportunities God will give us to serve through our new church.  Our mission is “to know God and make God known.” 

 

You may be asking why I shared all of this with you.  Well……I don’t want you to miss out on God’s teaching experiences in your life.  You see, despite the sad days, the many tears, the moments I didn’t know how we would pay our bills, the times when I didn’t know where we belonged….God was there.  He was teaching me to trust Him.  He has taken me to a new level of dependence and faith that I’ve never known.  I can truly say that I am thankful for my circumstances, I am grateful.   If you are facing a sickness, death of a loved one, loss of a job, a family crisis…..trust Him.  Realize that He has brought you to this place so that you will learn to depend on Him.  These trials are opportunities.  They are opportunities for God to teach you.  They are opportunities where God can use you to make a difference for Him in the lives of those that surround you, even when you’re sitting right in the middle of adversity. 

 

You may find yourself in a holding pattern for quite some time, just as we have.  Perhaps there is something in your life causing you to question God.  Do you find yourself saying, “I do not understand why……?” You do not have to understand all of God’s ways.  He does not expect us to understand them.  He simply wants you to trust Him.  Waiting is difficult.  Waiting requires patience.  God has a purpose for all of His delays.  Pray, and pray often.  Wait, be faithful to His leading, and you will find strength.  We can find victory in our trials when we stand still and quietly wait.  Realize that where you are, is where God wants you to be.  Look for the comfort He has for you in the things that surround you.  Accept what God is doing in your life as a gift….an opportunity for you to grow closer to the one who loves you the most.  And if things are going well in your life today, remember the trials will likely someday come your way.   Always hold on to the ONE who carries you through the good times and the bad. 

 

As for my family, we continue to trust and wait.  We don’t know what will happen after September 30th, but what we do know is that our God is faithful.  He will continue to provide for us, walk with us and amaze us with His many blessings. 

 

Lots of love to you……..

 

 

You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand….” John 13:7

“We were under great pressure…..so that we despaired……  But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.”  (2 Corinthians 1:8-9) 

 “Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today.”  (Exodus 14:13)

 “I will trust in your word.” (Psalm 119:42)

Advertisements

18 Responses

  1. And He has and will always remain faithful! Much love to you and yours!! Very well spoken!

    love you,
    darla

  2. Dana,

    Thank you very much for sharing. You are so right Always hold on to the ONE who carries you through the good times and the bad.

    Thanks for the blessing!
    David

  3. Dana,

    How I have so missed you and your great words of encouragement. This is an amazing testimony you and your family have. I am forever blessed to have you in my life. Your words registered a major truth…I am going through those things you mentioned (all of them in fact) and I needed this message. Sometimes in the storm its tough to see God’s face and thank you for showing me Him again.

    I love you dearly,

    Nicole

  4. Wow, Dana … this is GOLD!!! What an amazing God you serve. He will remain faithful to you guys, of that I am sure. He will carry you. i know He’s NOT done with you or Joey. we love you guys, always, the Pops.

  5. Eric, you are blessed with a wonderful wife who sees through the fog, all the way to our awesome God! We will continue to pray for God to bring about the stability you desire. Ever thought about Lifeway?

  6. Dear Dana,

    Thanks for sharing your heart! I have often prayed for you guys while I walk…even this morning! So thankful to hear how God has provided so faithfully. Praying you will continue to see His Hand at work!!

    Love you,

    Barb

  7. My dear friend Dana…if you only knew how much I needed to hear those words. My struggles have been different than yours but all struggles are tough. I’ve questioned God and almost walked away but He keeps pulling me back and for that I am so thankful. I love you and miss you more than you could ever know.

  8. Dana, we are so amazed at how God has used all of our children . We know what a difficult year this has been for you,Eric and the Boys. We know just as you so richly put it, We serve an awesome God who’s there waiting for us to call on him to comfort, provide,and to show us all of his promises are real. We have been blessed so abundantly by you and your sisters. We know God will use you and Eric where ever he sends you. Thank you for sharing your difficult year and the Joy you received from counting on a God that is alive and well, waiting to be there for his children. We love you.

  9. Dana….Outstanding, heart-warming and full of rewarding substance! There was an email reference at the end of Dr. Charles Stanley’s message this morning that was so parallel to yours and Eric’s situation it could have been sent by Eric. You may or may not want to check it out. With the conviction of what you wrote above, I don’t dare suggest that you need any sort of re-direction or anything like that but you may find some additional comfort in what he has to say. Take care and say hey to everybody. Love ya’ll.

  10. Oh, that was so good, Dana. Thank you for sharing your story. I am so glad God has brought you into my life again because I have missed you all so much.

    Love,
    Julie

  11. Thank you all for the kind words. She did well to describe this ride we’re on and I love her for her honesty and faith. We can’t wait to see how God is going to use what we’ve learned.

    JESUS RULES!!!

  12. Thank you for sharing, Dana. My Eric and I know exactly what you mean. We have been there. It’s not always comfortable, but it is always for our good. We will continue to pray for you as you seek to serve the Lord and seek His will.
    God bless you and your sweet family! 🙂

  13. Dana: Wow, thanks for this message. I know God will use what you have learned in the past year.

    I think this wil even help myself and Robert. Robert is out of work again & this time it is different. We aren’t as financially strong to handle this ride now with savings depleted. I don’t know how we will pay bills next month or go to the grocery store. Robert earned some last week helping those recover and clean out from the floods & it is that income that will get us thru to the 30th when I get paid this week. I know though that God will provide for us. He always has. Your ride gives me great encouragement.

    I sure miss seeing you. I cannot wait to hear more about your new church.

  14. Awesome words, Dana! Your faith is amazing and yet, just one more way God can show up and show off! You and Eric have taught Keith and Me more than you will ever know and we are blessed to call you guys friends.

    We will continue to hold you in our hearts and prayers and we know that as a Body of Believers, you continue to do the same.

    Special love to both of you…..
    Ashley

  15. Friends and Family,
    Thank you for your kind words…..they encourage me! I’m so grateful for the many wonderful relationships God has blessed me with. No matter where you are today, stay close to HIM and know that HE loves you and will meet all of your needs……always TRUST!
    Lots of love to all…………………:)

  16. Hey Dana,

    God is truly amazing. The joy is in the ride. We know he has great plans for us…its just the timing and the wait that sometimes alters our faith, those things unseen. Excercising that faith is what brings Miracles.

    I know God will continue to bless you and your family in abundance…not always thru things but thru his love and grace. You are his daughter and he made you unique and divine. You truly give that glow of knowing him.

    I will be praying for you and Eric.

    Many, many blessings,
    Christie

  17. Praising him not only in the storms, but FOR them! Wow! What a testimony! When we realize what it truly means to serve The God of the Universe, The One who “has heaven as His throne and the earth as a footstool” and bow before his omniscience we get to experience the power of freedom while resting in His arms…..what a Big, Big God He is. He obviously loves you all so much! Eric and Dana, Thank you for sharing your hearts! What an encouragement God has made you!

  18. Dana
    God brings us thru things so that we can learn from them and help others during trying times as well.
    Thank you for sharing your experience with so many

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: