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The warm tears began to stream like a waterfall down my cheeks and flow from my eyes faster than I could keep up with wiping them away. It quickly became impossible to continue driving, since I could no longer see clearly at all. I had to pull off of the road and into the very next available parking lot I could find, which happened to be at an Albertson’s grocery store. I knew I had to call my husband to let him know what was going on and to ask him to pray with me, so I could try to find the strength to pull myself together enough to drive home the rest of the way that day. I got my cell phone out of my purse, dialed his number, and the weirdest thing happened…he was immediately there, the phone never even rung on either end, but his voice was there saying, “Hello, babe, Leann, is that you?”. I quickly realized we must have called each other at the same exact moment and then I noticed his voice was shaky and broken too! I thought, “How does he already know what is going on with me?”
“How does he know that I just left work early, that I had just got off the phone with my OBGYN and she told me to go home, to rest, to put my feet up, to try to stop by the bleeding and hemorrhaging that had just started that morning while I was at work?
That I am driving home to rest, to try to save this pregnancy, and that I was absolutely terrified and heartbroken to think of loosing this pregnancy?”
“Travis, are you okay? Why are you crying?”, I asked him. “Leann, are you okay? Why are you crying? Do you already know about my job?”, he asked me.
Then my husband began to tell me that the he had just come out of a meeting with his boss/our pastor and that he had been “laid off”. That the church we had moved our little family of 3 clear across the country to be on staff at just 9 months earlier had to lay us off along with 4 other families/staff positions that same week, due to financial difficulty and budget shortages at the church. Then I began to explain to my husband what started happening in my 10-week pregnant body that morning while I was at work, teaching a Bible class to seniors, as I was the chaplain for the Christian high school connected to our church, and that it appeared I was possibly having a miscarriage. We were both overcome with emotion and in shock of what was happening all at once, so we paused and prayed on the phone together. I pulled myself together enough to make it home. We met at home, sat on the couch, and just held each other and prayed for several hours that afternoon and evening. I did everything I could, as instructed by my doctor, to rest and to try to save my pregnancy that day, but despite all my efforts, in the middle of the night I had to be rushed to hospital, as I began to hemorrhage and bleed much more intensely.
Siting in the ER room that night, I began to cry out to God… “Where are you? Is this really happening? Why? This isn’t fair! Is our family really loosing our job/ministry position and now loosing a baby, all in the same exact day? God, we left everything we knew and loved 9 months ago to make one of the hardest moves of our lives, to move clear across the country, to work at this church that you called us to be on staff at, to obey you, and to follow your call on our lives and family. And now this? Really?!”
I did end up miscarrying that night, and within a few weeks our little family packed back up all our earthly belongings, put everything into storage, and went to stay with family for a few months, while we tried to let our hearts heal and seek God for the next season and steps for our family. My body did well and healed pretty quickly, but my heart was a much different story.
One of the biggest struggles for me for months was trying to figure out and make sense of how all this could’ve happened…after we took such a huge step of faith and followed God’s leading to move clear across the country to another state/church/home/school for our son/job for me, far away from all our family and friends and a place we loved and everything familiar, to follow His call on our lives.
I battled and struggled for months thinking, “We must have somehow missed God’s plan and voice. We must have heard Him wrong. It definitely didn’t turn out the way we thought it would or hoped it would. It seems like it all just went wrong. So, we must have made a mistake by moving and taking that ministry position.” These questions were so very painful and agonizing for me.
Then, one afternoon in those months we were staying with family, I was in my quiet time, reading my Bible, listening to worship music, and praying. In my reading that day, I happened to re-read the story of Abraham and Isaac in Genesis 22. Abraham was asked to take his only son Isaac to the mountain to offer him as a sacrifice and by faith kept saying, “God will provide”. As I was reading that story, God’s voice spoke to my spirit so clearly and brought such healing to my heart, “Is it only my will when it turns out the way YOU think it should or the way YOU want it to? If I am God of everything in your life, then I must be God of the good times, and the hard times, the times when you celebrate, and the times when you mourn. Leann, in some situations it is a testing of your obedience and commitment to me. I am much more concerned with your obedience than the outcome of a situation. You must learn to trust me, that I am good, that I am always working good in every situation, that I can only do good, because that is who I am and at the very core of my nature.”
This moment of truth was absolutely a turning point for me. I can’t say it was all better immediately and never painful again to think of these situations and these tremendous losses in our lives. But, it was the beginning of my true healing, of surrendering the hurt and the whole situation to the Lord, of realizing I can’t question and doubt His will when things don’t turn out the way I think they should or want them to, of knowing He can make something beautiful out of the hardest, darkest, and most painful experiences in our lives if we give them to Him.
Learning that just because certain situations don’t turn out the way we want them to or think they should, doesn’t mean we’ve somehow “missed God” or missed His will for our lives or that we’ve made some big mistake was a HUGE life-changing truth for me. So often His will in our lives is seen in the testing of our obedience and our faith and our commitment. So often His will is seen greatest in our lives when we surrender the hardest and most painful moments of our lives and let Him make something beautiful out of them. He is a good, good father, and He is ALWAYS working good, even when it doesn’t look good or feel good, because HE IS GOOD! It’s been truly amazing to look back and realize the places, doors, opportunities, and seasons of ministry that God has led us into because of the 9 months we spent in California, because of the hurtful things we walked thru, and because we’ve allowed Him to make something beautiful of those things. With God, nothing is wasted.
“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” Ecclesiastes 3:11, NIV
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28, NIV
About the Author:
Leann is a well-loved speaker, a christian school administrator, a licensed minister, a pastor, wife to her best friend of over 20 years, and mom to Kaden age 13 and Kilea age 9. Leann and her husband Travis have been married for almost 18 years and have served together in full-time vocational ministry for 17 of those years. Following God’s call to full-time ministry and leading in their lives for 17 years, has led the Cherry family to live in 6 different states and work on staff in a variety of leadership and ministry roles at some great churches. Currently, Leann and her family live in Jenks, OK where Travis & Leann are the co-lead pastors of a brand new church plant called The Connecting Co. Leann is a gifted communicator who ministers from a deep place of compassion for women and has a truly unique ability to connect with women on so many levels, as she herself was born and raised in a family with a terminally ill child, battled an eating disorder as a teenager, lost a sibling in her senior year of high school, roamed away from the Lord herself for a period, walked through the pain of 2 miscarriages, experienced some pretty painful seasons in ministry along the way, has been a stay-at-home mom, a working mom, a pastor, and a pastor’s wife. You will love Leann’s genuine heart and passionate spirit for the Lord and people. Leann is a lover of Jesus, her family, silly hashtags, Starbucks white mochas, worship music, coffee ice cream, shopping, Hallmark cards, chocolate desserts, jewelry, girls night out, the local church, making memories, and living every day to the fullest, as though it could be your last!