Christie Ward

Christie Ward

In November of 2015, my husband’s brother asked us to be praying for them as they were possibly moving to Missouri to help start a church. A few weeks later, they said they had decided to go to Missouri. But they asked us another question as well: Would we pray about coming with them?

Our immediate response was, “Sure, we’ll pray about it,” but we really weren’t interested. We loved our church leadership, we had just started leading a new connection group, we were within two hours from both sets of parents, and we had a strong community of friends. It just didn’t make sense to leave our home to start a church with people we didn’t know, but we agreed to spend time praying about it before saying no (and we had every intention of saying no).

Travis and I didn’t talk about the decision much and just spent time individually working through it and praying about it. I really felt like God was saying, “Why not, Christie? Do kingdom work. Do this hard thing for me. I am worth it.” But I’m always the jump-right-in person in our marriage so I thought Travis would say it just didn’t make sense to move our family to Columbia. A few weeks after they had asked us, Travis (my accountant-minded-think-ahead-be-very-careful-husband) came to me and said he felt lead to go. I was shocked but totally on board.

It was around Christmas time when we made our final decision to move and in early January we found out we were expecting our second child. In February, we told our connection group about the move and were approached by someone in our group who wanted to buy our house. We ended up selling our house without listing it (or using a realtor and paying their fees). It was clear God wanted us to move.

Next, Travis started looking for jobs. He applied and applied but could not find anything. We had to be out of our house by June 1, I was in my second trimester of pregnancy with baby #2, and we had no idea where we would be living. We decided we needed to set a “deadline” for getting a job in Columbia and after that we would start looking for a new job in Iowa. Two days after our “deadline,” Travis got a call for an interview. He got the job and started two weeks later. I look back at that time of waiting for God to provide a job and see so much spiritual growth in both of us. I learned how to relinquish control to Christ and to trust that He would work his plans for my good (even when it didn’t feel good). I learned how to earnestly trust God and his timing and I learned that He is good even in hard times.

God had answered our prayers. He had provided for us. He had affirmed that we were following his will by moving to Columbia. So it would be sunshine and flowers from there, right? Not necessarily. I was moving to a new town where we didn’t know many people, transitioning from teaching to being a stay-at-home mom, starting a kids’ ministry from scratch, and bringing a new baby home without having much community around me.

Through moving to Columbia to help start Anthem, I’ve learned what it means to draw strength from Christ and to look to him for fulfillment… even when I feel like my tank is on empty. God has given me opportunities to examine my heart and find sin I didn’t know was there. I’ve learned how to better abide in Christ by consistently studying Scripture and spending time in prayer. I’ve learned how to find my fulfillment and joy in Christ, not in motherhood or friendships or my marriage or “trying harder." Through Anthem, God has provided me with opportunities to disciple other women and walk with them through sin struggles, trials, and joys. When I look back at the past year, the first word that comes to mind is “hard” but the very next words are “spiritual growth" and I wouldn't trade that for anything.