rebelling against low expectations

Hope Through the Storm


It’s raining right now, both outside of my house and inside of my life. My family is going through a hard time. Why? We’re churchless.

My father was the pastor of our old church for seven and a half years. The church was full of people who loved us and depended on us every week. We were serving constantly, and regardless of how tired it made us, we loved it. It seemed like we would stay there forever. Yet, a few weeks ago, we left.

My dad resigned as pastor.

The Reason to Move

Why did we leave? Putting it plainly, God told us it was time to go. He told us it was time to move on: right now. This change in plans was somewhat unexpected and extremely painful. We had been pouring everything we had into that church for over seven years, and suddenly we had to say goodbye.

To my family, that seemed like the end of the world as we knew it. Most of our lives were centered on the church: church services, church activities, church meetings, cleaning the church, serving in the church, etc. Suddenly, whoosh, it was all gone. We were left breathless, emotionally broken, and feeling lost.

When We Feel Alone

Sure, we know God has a plan. We just don’t feel very hopeful at the moment. One of the most valuable things I’ve learned is that our feelings aren’t always truthful. Yet when we feel broken down, discouraged, and hopeless, we tend to think God has abandoned us.

We focus on our feelings of sadness and defeat instead of reaching out to Jesus. He’s standing right there; all we have to do is turn to Him! Deuteronomy 31:8 says, “Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.”

Job’s Dilemma

One of my consolations in the past few days has been the story of Job. Job had everything taken away from him: his livestock, his family, his health, and even most of his friends. What did Job do during all of this? Did he moan and weep, asking God why this tragedy had happened? Did he give up and sink into a puddle of self-pity?

Job 1:21 clearly states his reaction,

“I came naked from my mother’s womb,
and I will be naked when I leave.
The Lord gave me what I had,
and the Lord has taken it away.
Praise the name of the Lord!”

What Did He Say?

Job praised God. He gave up his right to sulk, pout, and say, “It isn’t fair!” Instead, in the middle of his heartache, Job worshiped God. He admitted how frail his life was, acknowledged that God had given him everything and could take it away, and then praised God.

He stopped, knelt down, and praised God: right in the middle of his hopelessness. That’s something to think about.

Reacting Differently

What am I doing during this hopeless time of my life? I’m worshiping God. I’m giving my best to Him. I’m not going to stop writing or singing or playing my guitar because of a temporary feeling of pain. I’m going to trust in Him and give everything to Him!

He loves me, and the more I praise Him through my pain, the more I realize it! Jesus is gradually filling me with His peace, showing me more of His plan, and leading me on to the future. I’m trusting Him, and it’s working!

Something Better Up Ahead

The story of Job doesn’t end in sadness and misery. Instead, Job 42:10 says, “…The Lord restored his [Job’s] fortunes. In fact, the Lord gave him twice as much as before!” I think that my family’s situation will turn out better than it was before. I know God has another church for us to serve at, and I believe it will be ready to receive us.

Just as the storm outside my home has turned into sunshine, this season will pass. We certainly miss what we had, but we can’t wait to see what God has in store for us! As God tells us in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Through it all we will trust in God, and He will carry us to safety.

The End Is Where We Begin

I’ve noticed something about endings. When our comfortable situations and preferences fade away, we change. We depend on God. We start growing. We begin, in a sense, at the end. We press on towards a higher life with more passion than when we first began. Where we end, God begins.

What have you gone through lately? Are you trusting in God through your tough storms? Feel free to leave a comment about your current situation. I’d love to hear from you.

Share Your Thoughts in the Comment Section!

There are currently 21 Comment(s)

Photo courtesy of Matt McGillivray and Flickr Creative Commons.


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About the author

Sarah Phillips

is a thirteen-year-old rebelutionary who is home-schooled by her mom along with her two siblings. In her free time, she can be found singing, practicing piano and guitar, reading any good book, advocating for orphans, and writing for the local newspaper. As a pastor's kid, Sarah resides in Gilmer, Texas.


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  • Wow, you’re one strong girl for God, Sarah! He certainly does have better things for us around every corner. Keep praising his glorious name!!!!

  • Sarah, this is beautifully written. I really enjoy what you said about Job. Thank you for this encouragement! God has given you with so much strength and hope to pull through in gratitude.

    • He’s been giving us new hope every day, and I don’t know where I or my family would be without Him! I’m glad this encouraged you! =)

  • I should note that Sarah submitted this amazing post quite some time ago… And I lost track of it! (Sorry Sarah!) So I’m sure she has some updates for us on what God has done since this was written.

  • Wonderful article Sarah! Job 1:21 was especially encouraging during my storm as well. Thank you so much for sharing!

  • This is fantastic. Sarah Phillips, keep praisin’ Jesus! Your story has been a great encouragement to me, and i’m sure it has been to many others too. The last bullet point/paragraph kinda woke me up. Thank you, Sarah. Never stop trusting God!

  • Sarah, I am so sorry! I have been EXACTLY where you are right now. You have such a better attitude about it than I did, though. This is a wonderful article – never lose this mindset and attitude. Thank you for being a great example, and thank you for the article!

  • I’ve been through a few storms and am still going through them. They have drained my family physically, emotionally, and financially. This has caused me to have great anxiety and depression to an extent. Even though things are dark, light always shining. I just can’t see it because my view is blocked. Sarah, I know this happened to you a while back, but I do want to let you know that things will get better and you’ll be stronger for it. Things will get better. They just have to!

    • Thank you, Alana! I’ll be praying that your family won’t lose hope during these tough times! =)

  • I needed this! I’ve been going through some storms for a while, and am still going through them. I’ve struggled to trust God through everything that has been going on in my life. This was a good reminder for me to trust God, and for me to know that everything happens for God’s will, not mine. Thank you so much Sarah!

  • Awesome story Sarah! I love how the Bible give us encouragement and hope to us in so many situations in life.

  • I know that exact feeling. However I kicked my dad and thought it was his fault that we left our church family. We did move and we started at another church. Fast forward 5 years later and I cannot imagine being anywhere else. At the time, I couldn’t see what God had planned for us. Now I look back and I see why we had to move. It was hard. It hurt. But now it’s beautiful!
    Keep your chin up! God’s got a plan!
    Thanks for this. 🙂

    • Thank you for the encouragement, Hana! =D It’s awesome to know that you went through the same thing!

      • That’s the beauty of being part of the body of Christ. We are never alone no matter what storm we face!

  • Your faith and strength and just reaching out to tell your story is beautiful! Thank you for this. You have understanding and strength beyond your years. 1 Timothy 4:12 Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.

    We feel God is calling our family to Alaska to open and care for a homeless teen center. We are asking for prayers for this Calling God’s placed on our hearts.

    We know the Bible talks about being ridiculed for your faith but it didn’t really occur to me (until this past year and a half) that the laughing and gossip may come from other Christians. I think sometimes people SING empty words about Jesus “calling” them or hearing His voice but don’t actually believe He does that. It’s been tough but we will keep listening and following. This is the most interesting thing God’s ever done in my life.

    God gave me my confidence back about 1 1/2 years ago. I didn’t know it was missing but the moment He gave it back, I knew it had been stolen (along with my innocence) when I was 9 years old. Then He pushed me online into the world of the internet. I had never been online with pictures or writing or anything because I was hiding my talents. He’s pushed me to write a blog and now has about 6,000 views, read in 45 countries, and been published 3 times in a Christian newspaper based in Australia.

    And this has only been acomplished because of His Power; not mine.

    Now we feel God is calling our family to Alaska (from Texas) to open and care for a homeless teen center. My husband and I can look back and see how God’s been preparing us for this very thing for over 35 years. He knows our income and we could not have done this by our own power if we’d known when we were born that this was His plan for our lives. We realize this is all about His Power and our obedience. We will keep following as He keeps opening doors. Prayers welcome.

  • G’day Sarah,

    Thank you for that… it was so encouraging and pointed me again to who Christ is, and what He is willing and able to do for all who call out to Him. I had a very similar situation not that long ago, where we had been at a small congregation for nearly 7 years, and then had to stop. It did really hurt down deep, but everything God does is right and just, and He knows what is best for us… even when we think have got it all worked out! Thank you for sharing your story, it was very encouraging:)

    Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
    How unsearchable his judgments,
    and his paths beyond tracing out! – Romans 11:33

  • I couldn’t know the feeling more well. Four years ago, my parents decided that it was time to go. At the time, I honestly thought it was stupid that we had to leave behind everything I loved for a church filled with a bunch of strangers and unfamiliarity. I didn’t have a say in what we did. I didn’t have the chance to make my own choice – my parents made it for me (which now I’m glad for). Now, well . . . let’s just say I should have trusted God from the very beginning. Moving churches has (surprisingly) been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life so far.

    • I agree. Looking back from where I am now, I can honestly say that I’m glad we did follow God’s call and move. Living anywhere outside of God’s will is a miserable existence. It’s so much better to follow God’s call, even when we don’t understand! =)

      • I’m really glad to hear that! It was super hard at first and I had to try really hard to make friends (which, magically, was awesome training for the new school I entered months after switching churches), but I (magically) ended up making my best friend there. I (magically) learned some lessons through the church camp our new church supports that (magically) changed my life. God really does have some magic up his sleeve after all! Hmm…. 😀 I never would have made the choice on my own, but it looks like God knows what he’s doing.

  • I know where you are coming from, Sarah. My Dad is a pastor and we have moved 3 times so far. It can be hard at first, but looking back, it is much easier to see how GOOD God’s plan is!

    • I never thought there were so many PKs on the Rebelution! =) It’s so cool that other people can relate to what my family and I are going through!

  • Thanks for sharing. I am one that He has been teaching about trust and faith as well and I know how sometimes in that training you feel absolutely alone. Although you really aren’t. I’m really happy to hear that things are starting to look up for you tho. That you see His awesome provision in the trial.
    Keep believing Sarah!!

  • I can SO relate to this! I moved from Southern California to Oklahoma last October. My dad was on staff at our Church for over 16 years, and we left our Church for the same reason you left your Church, God told us to. Like you, our lives basically revolved around Church. It has been SO hard, but we’re in an incredible Church now, while we’re waiting for God’s direction. I miss Southern California, but at the same time, I’m really learning to like Oklahoma. Thank you SO much for sharing your story. I have a feeling God is really working in a lot of Christian’s lives, because I know of a few other families who have left their Church’s in the last year and are waiting for God’s direction in their lives. I will be praying for you, that you will find a good Church that will be as encouraging and helpful to you and your family as the Church I’m currently attending.

      • I like Oklahoma, and I don’t like Oklahoma. There are pro’s and cons to living in both California and Oklahoma, but at this point (because I lived in California my whole life until we moved) I definitely prefer California to Oklahoma.

        • yeah, that makes sense… The only thing I don’t like about OklaHOMEa (lol I had to…) is the weather; crazy snow and cold in the winter, and blazing hot and roasting in the summer. Plus I sneeze a lot. I would probably want to live in Colorado cuz it’s nice all year, but Colorado reminds me of drugs since they’re legal there. 😛

  • I experienced something like this as well. We had been going to a church(at which I had only two friends) for about four years. But with the growing congregation, the schedule had to be altered. This didn’t work for us so my parents prayed about whether or not we should leave.

    We visited only one church. I liked it but I still didn’t want to change churches; I hate change, I mean, who doesn’t want to stay in their comfortable style of life? In any case, we started attending the new church. The first day we went there I met a kid my age and we became fast friends. There was a retreat the same month we started attending. I decided to go. I made even more friends!

    And that was only six months ago!

    Just think, I made about ten friends after going to my new church for six months, but I had gone to the old church for four year and only made a few friends! If that choice hadn’t been made, I would probably still be sitting alone at the back of the room at my old church. Now I have a couple friends with my all the time. You may not agree with what God is doing right now, but later on you can look back and think, “Oh my… I didn’t even see what God was doing!! He surely does work in mysterious ways, but His way are always the best ways!!”

    ~Carson Sheppard

  • sometimes church and life just isn’t fun is it? yeah sometimes the things that seem the stupidist in life are actually the ones that bring us close to God. the church i go to now is not really one that i go to because i want to… but when God places you somewhere and tells you to stay there its just better to be there!

  • Hmm. Great article! I think we all have, are, or will go through something like this in our life. But the key is to be focused on the Lord and not on your circumstances. Self pity is easy to get wrapped up in!!

  • Hey Sarah, I’m sorry that you are going through this. However, as a grown PK, I hope I can offer a little encouragement. I have been involved in the ministry my whole life. I have moved more times than I can remember. My family has gone to several churches. I can’t tell you how many times my family has felt “the Call”, God leading us somewhere else. Yes, it hurts. It hurts to leave a church that you thought as home, where you felt like you belonged. However, God does have amazing plans in store. It didn’t feel like it at first. However, now that I am older, I see how God worked. I saw how He led us through and brought us to a much better place. This doesn’t just apply to churches, either. It applies to life. There are going to be many situations where you feel like there is no hope, and God has deserted you. But there is hope, and there is light at the end of the tunnel. We serve an awesome God, who has promised to lead us. It is a hard journey but promises everlasting rewards.

  • Wow. I can relate to your story, Sarah. Nineteen years ago my Dad was a pastor to a church in Waterford, MI. Of course, I wasn’t born at this time, but I’ve still heard the stories over and over again. At that time everything was going great. My parents had my four oldest siblings, the oldest being five, and the church was going through a great time of revival and spiritual growth. People were getting saved and baptized and joining the church, then suddenly, right in the middle of all this, my parents felt a calling from God to leave. To hit the road in fulltime evangelism. So, in obedience to Gods’ will, he resigned his position as pastor, they sold their house and their belongings, bought a motorhome and stepped out in faith. It was crazy. Everyone thought my parents had lost their minds and, to be honest, even they thought they were crazy. They only had two bookings on the calendar and nowhere else to go after that. They had no clue what they would do. On top of all this, all of my siblings had the chicken pocks. It was pretty bleak. But they persevered, and now, almost twenty years later, and four children later, =) We’re still doing it. I’m sixteen now and I’ve literally grown up on a bus. What started out as a very trying calling fro God turned into an incredible blessing we could never have imagined. Be encouraged Sarah Phillips; because where God guides, God provides. He’s got something wonderful in store for your family. You’re so right; there is always hope in Christ.

    • That’s really powerful, Abby! =D It goes to show that God really does know best, regardless of what others think! Thank you for sharing your story!

  • Wow Sarah, thanks for posting this. Seeing your story and those of people commenting is very encouraging. Although I’m not free to share what’s going on in our family right now, I can relate to the frustration of not being able to see the big picture. It’s good to be reminded of God’s truth about the future by someone who is still in a time of uncertainty. My faith has a long way to go yet.

rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →