by Debby Hudson
To be fair, I need to tell you Henry first told me he felt God’s calling to full-time ministry when I was pregnant with our second child.
We were sitting across the table from each other at a diner. It was 1980. Our daughter was 15 months old and our second child was due in 4 months.
I looked across the table and told him I didn’t think I could do that at this time in our lives. I didn’t want our children in daycare hours on end while we were at the mercy of someone else’s schedule, first through two years of seminary and then in full-time ministry. I had wonderful, godly in-laws. Henry talked to his mom who told him she agreed with me about the timing.
Henry and I met and married in South Florida in the late ‘70’s. We had two children in quick succession and planted ourselves deeply into the community. Henry was self-employed and worked hard to allow me to be home with the children. We were faithful to church activities and found a wonderful peer group there. Life was very good.
As our children got older, a few people began to joke with Henry about going into the ministry. I guess he would have been voted “Most Likely To…” I began to ask him if I was holding him back. He always said no. Until the spring of ’93.
He came home from a men’s retreat and told me he felt God calling him again. For something I can only assume was the Holy Spirit, my response wasn’t fearful or objectionable. It wasn’t so much a calling to ministry I felt, but a calling as a wife. Not one in a complementarian way but as ministers in The Salvation Army, husband and wife are both ordained. I felt a strong leading from God to accept Henry’s call as a call on our life together.
When I was a stay-at-home mom I did a lot of volunteer work, taxied the kids to activities, and made a lot of cross-stitch projects as a hobby. I came across this design shortly before we stepped into our new chapter together. I hang it in every office I’ve had. The words spur me to gratitude every time I look at them. I give thanks for the blessings of life-long friendships, wise spiritual leaders, the ability to provide a solid foundation for our children, the experience of home ownership and living in the “real world”. I don’t look back with regret. As the signs in the picture proclaim, my former life is No Longer An Option.
It’s been nearly 25 years since our lives were uprooted and disrupted by God’s call to “follow me”. I’m not one to live in the past but I’ve looked back a few times. Mostly in recalling friendships that were built during the early years of family life and knowing how blessed we were with that rich foundation. Even in times of challenge and wondering what was God thinking, there have been no regrets.
The Salvation Army has moved us to five different cities and two states. They have had us in traditional church settings, tasked to start college student ministries and the unexpected surprise of appointing us to work with men in the recovery community setting. Catherine Booth, Wife of our founder, said, “If we are to better the future, we must disturb the present.”
All of us have areas in our life over which we need to post a ‘DON’T LOOK BACK’ sign. God is calling us forward. I’ve learned that he is patient in his timing, and gracious in his leading. There may be something to which you’re being called right now. You won’t be able to follow him if you’re looking back. You can only follow him by watching his lead and stepping into your future.
Debby Hudson and her husband are ordained ministers working with men in a residential recovery program. Walking the beaches of South Florida restores their souls. Debby finds herself in many creative pursuits. She and her husband have two wonderful children and one granddaughter princess, none of whom they get to see often enough. Follow Debby on her blog: debbyhudson.com; Twitter: @debby_hudson; or Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/debbyhudsoncreative.