Thursday, July 2, 2009

How did we get to Charlotte in the first place...

A little background in case you don't know our ministry story....from Kerstin's point of view.

TJ and I met in college while both being involved in the same campus ministry. We had lots of mutual friends and were both fine arts majors - I in Public Relations, he in Jazz Performance. Yes, those are both considered fine arts. :) After a long friendship, we began dating. At this point it was like falling in love with my best friend. It was sweet and very secure - if that makes sense. I just loved his wisdom and how thoughtful and considerate he was of people. Even then, I could see he had a "shepherds heart". We were married in March 2002 and had purchased a condo in Atlanta. TJ was teaching music lessons and working at a lab equipment company (which I would later work at as well) when he started checking into RTS Atlanta with the intent of persuing Christian counseling.

A series of serendipitous events had him starting classes in the Fall 2003 at the tiny annex RTS Atlanta campus. Watching him start down this path - which I must admit I had no clue it would culminate into this - was so exciting. He seemed to be energized and just devoured his classes. This is saying alot since he took all four systematic theology classes here. It became quickly evident that full time ministry in a pastoral sense was his calling, and for TJ to complete his Masters of Divinity, we'd have to move to a full time campus - Jackson, MS; Orlando, FL; Charlotte, NC. This was a no brainer for us, Charlotte was the obvious choice.

I was heartbroken to leave my job and my friends there. I was content and comfortable and really couldn't imagine going anywhere I could love more. I had a small group that I was just not ready to give up. As we began exploring Charlotte (via online from Atlanta), we first looked for a church and found Christ Central. We visited the church in May of 05 and met the pastors. TJ was pretty much instantly sold on CCC, I still was hoping God would change his mind this crazy moving idea. It took us until Thanksgiving to get the nerve to put our house on the market and break the "we're moving" news to our friends and family. We found a realtor - who was a believer and she had a very bleak outlook on the saleability of our home. We were asking alot in a really tough market and agains what "industry pros" would recommend. But we knew God called us out of there. So we prayed.

Two months later, our condo sold and we even made money on it! Imagine that. At this point I had found a job, we knew what part of town we'd be in and had found a house to rent with a great landlord. On February 11, 2006 we packed a U-Haul and off we came to Charlotte to live in the crazy arts district called "NoDa". We couldn't have planned the logistics better if we had tried - it's as if God was actually pulling the sovereign card in all of this. :)

While we've been here we've been involved in and had the honor of leading a community group. I've been actively involved in women's ministry and pulled off a couple retreats with the guidance of some amazing women. We have made some incredibly dear friends that I will forever keep in my heart. Things turned out so much better than I ever expected them to. Oh me of little faith....

So here we are - July 2009. Tj has graduated with his M. Div. and here we are, again at a crossroads wondering what's next. I remember being in this similar place 4 years ago and being scared out of mind and wondering why God had to be so crazy to call me to be a pastor's wife.....and now I'm so excited and wished that we were on our way yesterday. When moving day comes it will be so bittersweet. Even so, I can hardly wait.

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