This week's Flourish post is brought to you by the Roberson family—Week of Prayer missionaries. Funding for these missionaries comes directly from the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering (AAEO). You can support your local missionaries and their church plants and equip them to change lives in North America by giving to the AAEO at AnnieArmstrong.com at any time. Article was original posted here.
I didn’t grow up going to church. My eyes weren’t opened to spiritual things until my great-grandmother’s funeral in Manhattan. I was a sophomore in high school, and I had never attended a funeral before. When I saw my great-grandmother’s body in a casket, I started crying uncontrollably. I asked my family members about life after death, but no one’s answers soothed my inquiring soul. When my mom and I returned home, she thought it would be a good idea to find a reputable church in our hometown. From that day on, we attended church faithfully.
God transformed my heart on November 14, 1994.
I met James, my husband, as we were getting off a plane for a Campus Crusade conference in Nashville, Tn. A few years later, we started to date. While we were dating, James would always tell me he felt called to go back to New York City. We had a running joke that I didn’t think I was the one for him because I would never live there. When we married, all we knew was that we were both called to full-time ministry. The rest was unknown.
One day, James came home from work and casually said, “I’m thinking about church planting in New York City.” I was silent at first because I thought he was joking. Then I realized he didn’t laugh. I said, “James, I would rather go to Uganda than New York City.” I felt terrified. I believed New York to be crime-infested and dirty. I didn’t want to bring our two young toddlers to an unsafe city.
I remained adamant ... God was not calling us to New York City.
But James wanted us to take a vision trip to pray. I called my best friend who told me, “Tarsha, what I hear you saying is that New York City is like your Nineveh, like in the book of Jonah.” She reminded me that if God was telling us to go, we should obey. As God was confirming New York City in James’ heart, God was also changing my heart and my answer from “no” to “yes.” After a week of praying and seeking God’s face, He revealed to us our next steps. We didn’t know the logistics, but we knew God had a plan for us in Brooklyn.
When we moved to Brooklyn, our apartment was like a hotel room. We had to learn how to function in 600 square feet as two adults with two toddlers. Earlier in our marriage when we had moved to Atlanta, Ga., we had rented a small shotgun house by the railroad. I didn’t know it then, but God was introducing me to the idea of living in a smaller space. God had been preparing me in tangible ways for life in New York City, but He was also using His Word and His people to help shape me for what was to come as a church planter’s wife.
We began planting our church through hosting a Bible study. God grew the Bible study week after week. Finally, we launched Bridge Church on Easter Sunday. My husband preached, and I couldn’t help but cry because what we had worked and prayed for was finally here.
As the church grew, it was all on hands on deck, and my role kept increasing. I started doing a lot more in the church. All James and I talked about was ministry. As I took time to spend with the Lord, it was crystal clear that He wanted me to love and support my husband like never before, along with discipling our girls. James and I both agreed that I needed to step down from my positions at the church. It was hard to let go some days, but it was the best decision for our family and for me, spiritually. I can truly say our home is a place of peace and connectedness. The Lord is patient with me, and about five months later He blessed our family with a beautiful baby girl. God knew the whole time why He was preparing our family.
He just needed me to trust Him fully.