The next new season rarely happens when you plan it. But it happens according to plan.
For more than 26 years, worship leader Paul Baloche and his singer-songwriter wife Rita made their home in east Texas. That’s where he found his vocation and calling as worship pastor of Lindale’s Community Christian Fellowship and where God had given him a vital ministry and a community of life-long friends. He and Rita raised their family there, and as his ministry expanded via sixteen recordings and numerous teaching resources, the couple received offers to relocate and join larger ministries. But Paul and Rita stayed because Texas was home.
Then one day, after returning to a house full of empty bedrooms, they knew the time had come to consider a new season. “We pretty much said out loud: ‘The easy thing would be for us to just stay right here and rock on our porch.’ Nothing was broken; it didn’t need fixing…but it was good to hit the reset button and let go of the comfort and row the boat into some new waters,” Paul recalls.
The couple put out a fleece, told a realtor they’d consider selling if an offer came along. Without even going on the market, the house sold within a month.
So after six months of purging through a quarter-century of life as they knew it, Paul and Rita left their church family with a blessing, and headed back to the land from whence they came, the northeast. They bounced around between their oldest daughter Sarah’s place near Philadelphia and their son David’s studio apartment, eventually landing in a one-bedroom apartment in New York City.
“Parenthood is not for the fainthearted,” says Paul, who is a grandfather of two. “Young adult children need you just as much as younger children do, a fact that continues to challenge my self-centeredness. It’s a fantasy that we get to do whatever we want when we want, but I have to learn to be a better listener and only give advice when it’s asked for. When they are adults, you start relating to them as adults, but our nature is to want to guard them from making mistakes, life-altering consequences…It’s a delicate balancing act, like in marriage.”
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