Callings: Moving On (April 2021)

It’s been almost a year since I went on hiatus and over a year since my last post. I have kept putting off this particular post for many months – going on 6 – for a couple reasons. First, it’s difficult to try and do this post justice. Second, I selfishly fear the feedback I may receive. And third, the end of an era as beautiful and enriching and fulfilling as this one is deeply bittersweet, to say the least.

Relatedly, please forgive my rambling, stream-of-consciousness writing here. 🙂

As many of you may already know, I am recently engaged. 🙂 My best friend of the last 2+ years, Bryan, asked me to be his lifelong companion and helpmate, and I gladly said yes. Our wedding is coming in October. I love this godly man, I love loving him, and it’s such a wonderful thing to be loved by him in return. God has used him to redeem much of what I feared I lost of myself in past relationships and to heal wounds in a very particular way. It is truly the Lord who knits hearts together. He is so good.

Please pray for us that we grow together in grace, that we don’t become inward-focused on building our own kingdom as a married couple but remember our place as the hands and feet of Christ, not only to each other, but to the world as a team. My greatest fear in entering a relationship was falling prey to the temptation of apathy in the great commission and contentment with simple worldly pursuits and stability. I trust, though, that God will, through prayers of many and His grace, teach us to be an effective unit in drawing us into Christlikeness, that we may be presented before the throne at the end of our lives having been used to the full and resembling His son more than we would have apart.

Since the start of my hiatus, there have been no more women brought to the Haven, even just requesting shelter. And this is odd, as the flow of women needing a place to stay was always consistent. There was never more than a week or two of an empty house before another was brought through its doors.

That was July of 2020. Then, in November, Bryan asked me to be his girlfriend, and shortly thereafter, asked for my hand. I found myself being ushered into a new season.

This continued when a coworker needed a place to live in Sheboygan closer to work. My house is a duplex, and I had considered reinstating it as a two-family and renting out the second space before, so this seemed like a God-given opportunity. I proceeded to take the necessary measures to give her and her son a home in the spare unit of my house and it has been nothing but a wonderful experience. I also am amused that God seemed to plant this use of the home in my heart at the time of purchase – when I purchased the two-family house, I distinctly thought, “Should the Lord ever call me to marriage, this will be how the Haven will continue – my husband and I will occupy one unit and we can allow someone to find a home in the other unit.” He knew.

It quickly became obvious to me that the Haven Ministry as it is known now was entering a sort of retirement. I reflect on how the Haven began – under very similar circumstances to this now, a sort of “falling-into-my-lap” sequence of events that I recognized as good things, coordinated under what couldn’t be seen as anything besides divine providence, and simply said “yes” to. And much like that, here I was again – being carried along through a beautiful sequence of God-ordained events for His glory.

Modern Christians spend much time seeking our callings. What am I supposed to do with my life? But I think it’s much simpler and there’s far more biblical support for this definition of calling: we are called to be faithful with what we are given. We are not supposed to crack a code God is hinting at us, we aren’t even called to what we desire. We are called to tend the soil on which we’re placed, making it as fruitful as we can with the time we are placed there.

When Bryan asked if I would date him in November, we both knew this wouldn’t be a relationship that was merely experimental, if we pursued it. We had years of friendship behind us; we would not waste time on this if it wasn’t real. And knowing that, I pondered seriously whether I wanted to pursue a relationship or pursue singleness. It was, in my mind, not a matter of Bryan or eventually someone else, but Bryan or lifelong celibacy. I intend to go into this decision-making progress more on my main blog, but what it really came down to was this: I knew I had, by God’s grace, been as faithful as I could with the time I was given with the Haven and with my singleness. I had not been called overseas (and if anything, COVID put a halt to any sort of notion of that happening in the near future), nor had I been called to any more young women.

I considered both life paths – marriage to Bryan and singleness – and both looked appealing for different reasons. I was perfectly content to remain single forever; this is a gift and discipline I do not take lightly. I did not pine for marriage. But I did know this: I loved Bryan, and God had brought Bryan’s heart to me in return. Presently, this was the new soil I was given to inhabit. So, the God-glorifying thing to do was to commit to it, and commit to loving and serving this human as well as I could.

And so, I feel at peace laying the Haven to rest, and seeking how God will work to seek and save the lost in this new capacity of marriage to Bryan.

With the resources given to the Haven, I have decided to gift a third of it to my church, as they were heavily involved in the last year and a half of the Haven especially, and the remaining two thirds will go to Anchor of Hope in Sheboygan, a pro-life, faith-based pregnancy center that God is using immensely and has a far reach.

There were not many material supplies left. I have donated what I could to the Salvation Army and Goodwill. Remaining items were disposed of or saved for future guests.

I hope to, from this point forward, develop The Haven Ministry into a source of knowledge and resources for Sheboygan County to create their own Havens as they can. Bryan and I intend to continue to practice hospitality as well with our spare bedroom after marriage. So, in a way, the Haven lives on. And The Haven really doesn’t have to be anything spectacular or special to specific ministries – reader, it can be an ordinary part of Christian living.

Thank you for your love, your care, your involvement. Until I return, Lord willing, with resources or some other mission,

Yours truly,
Emily
Soli Deo Gloria.