Tuesday, May 6, 2014


Don't you just love those kinds of friends that you may not have spoken to in years, yet when you call them up out of the blue, they just pick up the conversation right where you left off?

Like all that time never even passed.

Are we friends like that?

I dearly hope so.

Because I dropped the ball on our conversation.  And now I am calling you up, hoping that we can  just pick up where we left off.

Have you heard of someone who, at the start of a brand new year, picks a "word of the year"?  A word that means something special or a word that will be a focus for the year?

Well, I've never done that.

I mean, how does someone go about choosing one word for a whole year? What if you pick the wrong word? What if three months into the new year, you change your mind and wish you had picked a different word? Can you change it or are you stuck with it because you called it "The Word of 2014"? What if someone else picks your word? Is it ok to share a word?

I just can't take the pressure.

But this year was different.

I felt like my word was supposed to be surrender.  And there was no getting around it.  It was like God had written the word on a steamy mirror after a hot shower. Like those people who see Jesus' face on a piece of toast, it was right in front of me, obvious and undeniable.

So I moved forward, declaring my word for 2014 to be surrender.

I was just so happy to finally join the ranks of the "word of the year" people that I never really put much thought into living the word of the year.

Otherwise, I might would've picked something like "sleep" or "read" - things I am 100% confident that I can really live.  And live abundantly.

God had more in mind for me and my word of the year than just getting it stamped on a cute silver bracelet.

Being married to a pastor can be an adventure.

Because ultimately, your husband's boss is God.  And it's not like God sits your spouse down at the conference table, reads his resume, assigns him to one church, presents him with a long-term package outlining his salary and benefits, pats him on the back, and sends him on his merry way with a few good ideas for sermons.

While that might be nice at times, there's a little more mystery and faith and trust and discernment involved.

And at the end of the day, even if God is your boss, you still have a choice.

The choice to listen or ignore.

The choice to trust or to doubt.

The choice to fight or surrender.

Surrender. That word again.

Ryan and I were recently faced with an opportunity that, while shaking us to the very core of our beings, has been nothing more than an opportunity to exercise belief and trust and surrender.

My husband is an incredible preacher.  He tells stories and shares the word of God in practical and life-changing ways.  He has an amazing heart for the family and wants nothing more than to heal so many of the world's hurts that stem from broken people living in broken families.

Not like he's got a real big goal or anything.

But he is also an amazing pastor.  A leader who loves his people, shares in their joys and sorrows, and  truly desires to invest in the lives of his congregation.

When you're married to a man like that, you start to love people, too.  You listen to their stories, rock their babies, feed their teenagers, freeze at outdoor Easter services together, and study God's word alongside them.

And because you care, people love you back.

They listen to your stories.

They come sit with you when you have a newborn who quits breathing occasionally and you're afraid to stay at home alone with her.

They send you to Houston for a month for your daughter's open heart surgery with so many groceries and gift cards that it fills a suburban top to bottom.

They bring you whole cakes so you can give them to the nurses so you'll be their favorite patients and they'll bring you the best recliners and pillows.

They host your teenagers in their homes, feeding them and driving them all over kingdom come.

They send you on vacations, give you free eggs from their backyard chickens, take care of your cars, host benefit yard sales, read your IEP before ARD meetings at school, send your girls gift cards for no reason, bring you real maple syrup, babysit your youngest, mow your grass, feed your family for six months after heart surgery, send you interesting special needs information, take your big girls to the movies and shopping, and on and on.

We do these things because this is what family does.

And our church is our family.

But when you're married to an amazing preacher and pastor, word gets out.  And calls start coming in; churches looking for a pastor.

Because this is family, we say no. Our people are right here in Austin. We are right where we need to be. Right where God wants us. We are here for the long haul.  Locked and loaded.  Amen.

So when one of those calls came in February, Ryan was surprised by God.  Taken aback to discover that maybe God might have something different in mind.

No, God did not sit Ryan down at the conference table and share the latest news with him.  And we did not see Jesus' face in a piece of toast.

But Ryan felt God giving him a slight kick in the pants.  A not so gentle reminder of who Ryan works for.  A hard question - "Do you have a career or a calling?"


And here I am, happy and clueless with a cute silver bracelet stamped with "surrender" circling my wrist.

Change is hard. And when you love the place you're living, the people you serve, and you have not one reason to leave, why would you create change?

Only because God says so.

And He is the boss of us.

So after much wrestling, many tears, several sleepless nights, and two jars of Nutella, it became abundantly clear that God was telling us it was time for the next part of our story.

We are leaving our beloved church and city, the place we felt so clearly called to ten years ago, for a new church and city, the place we feel so clearly called to right now.

Bannockburn has been a blessing that words cannot describe and a piece of our hearts will forever remain in Austin.

Now, we will create a new home, learn our way around a new city, and shop in a new Target.  We will find "our" Sonic, get lost many times, and find the best barbecue in Katy.

But mostly, we will listen to new stories and share in the joys and sorrows of a new congregation.

Because church is family.

And that's what family does.


  1. This news may have been easier to take if you HAD seen Jesus on a peice of toast. Katy will be blessed as will your family and all who trust in Him.

  2. Beautifully written Lana Rush! Love you guys!
    Fran Kelley

  3. I'm sure you have a million things going on. I just wanted to share a few things. I never got to say thank you for leading the ladies study on "1000 Gifts". Your insights and teaching as well as the study itself were paramount to me getting what thankfulness and gratitude were all about. That revelation along with a host of God's orchestra of tools was instrumental in my successful plight to where I am today, not just the physical breakthroughs of losing over 100 lbs and having healthy lab results, but spiritually, mentally and emotionally as well (although a lot still needs to be done). So to you, a big thank you for taking your time to sharing the power God can use when we can recognize and be genuinely grateful for His amazing and abundant blessings. I believe gratitude and thankfulness are the cure to worry, doubt and a host of other vicious fears.

    I'm forever grateful to your husband's graciousness and kindness since I came back to Bannockburn in 2009. I'm slow, but just now getting to deal with areas that I've offended some I mentioned in a post on my blog at http://t.co/K8DqnAXa9P. Your family certainly has a heart of compassion and grace that is rare and admirable.

    I also enjoyed many of your blogs and have stolen reading ideas you posted. By the way, if you haven't read Francine Rivers "Bridge to Haven", I'm reading it now and am recommending it to everyone.

    I'm praying abundant and amazing blessings, power and breakthroughs for you and your family! Bless you!!!

  4. Ooohh change is scary! Take a deep breath and keep praying.

    God bless you in your new home and congregation! Love your bracelet, by the way!
    Heidi Butkus

  5. I know it was quite a shock to many of us at BBC this past Sunday when Ryan shared his heart. I was filled with mixed emotions as well. This one thing I do know...obedience brings blessings! I am so thankful both of you listen to God and that He is in control...not us. It is hard making the choice to obey sometimes, but in the long run, when we do make the choice to obey and surrender our will to His, there is much peace. Yes, I will miss you all terribly, but I know God has a plan for you in Katy, Texas. This is the next part of your journey with Him. You have written it very well. I cant say THANK YOU to both of you enough for the privilege of being a part of your journey. Ryan has walked his talk....even to the point of sharing this past Sunday, when he could have waited. I know it was very hard and emotional for Him, but I am grateful he did. It gives us ways to pray for you all during the next few weeks, not to mention loving on you and family before you leave. You both have been very gracious and compassionate with so many of us. I do hope you will stay in touch through your blog! I have missed your postings, but I am sure you have had your hands full lately. Praying for you as you step out in faith and obedience to our wonderful Lord!

  6. Oh Lana. So well written. I have tears in my eyes recalling our own journey of leaving church families we truly loved and still do. I am so grateful to have met some wonderful people over the years and have even learned from the not so wonderful people! I know there will be tears, sadness, excitement, anxiety, anticipation, and so many other emotions all rolled into one. I also know there will be a great new group of people to bless you and be blessed by you and your family. I will be praying for you. If you come up to visit your folks, please let us know. Maybe we can all get together and catch up over homemade ice cream! It's been a long time.

    Joyce Doss

  7. What a delight it was to see a new posting from "Along Came The Bird" when I opened my computer today! I've missed your wonderfully-written blogs and, even though this blog is about something that literally crushed my heart when I first learned what God was up to, it was a joy to read . . . because of your incredible gift of communication. This is a blog I will always cherish because it captures "everything" - even the pain - in such a positive (and, yes, even entertaining) way. You are one AMAZING woman, wife, and mother. I have admired you for so long, and cannot find the words to properly express it. I'll trust the Holy Spirit to do that. I love both you and Pastor Ryan and all three of your girls. I know that God has great things in store, and His best is yet to come for your family . . . and for Katy.

  8. I was so excited to see your post but then I reminded myself what it was about. I kept dreading the end hoping it would be a different outcome. I am excited for what God has planned for your family in Katy. Thank you for being obedient to God's Word for you...surrender. It isn't always easy to be in the center of God's will but there is no other place to surrender yourself too. I can't wait to see all God has planned. Just think it is only May......I love you and am thankful God had our paths be together even for this short time.

  9. We really enjoyed your blog, good luck in Katy!

  10. I'm very happy to see you writing on here again! Sometimes "surrender" is the bravest thing you could do and I know you will bring blessings to your new home and church family. This was a really inspiring post. xoxo

  11. Lana, I am at the other end. We are so looking forward to you and your family coming to Katy. I am so thankful for getting a glimpse into your heart for God, for family, and for people. Thank you. Pam Irvin

  12. Glad to see you are back...I enjoy reading your blog. My son is a bit younger than Lily and also on the spectrum - helps to know I am not alone in challenges so I read blogs occasionally and even bookmarked your blog...moving can be stressful so good luck on the move..moving tip for plates - put paper plates between them to act as cushion - in moving quite a bit for jobs in my life I have learned to pack foam, stuffing, paper towel etc. (lots of it) into breakables and have only broken one coffee mug - of course you may be lucky and have a moving company doing it all which is always nice just watch out as they will even pack the trash...hope the new job works out for your husband - I don't quite get the calling thing that preachers talk about but hey hope it is a step up and more money

  13. Hey, good to see you back here! Yes, I do know friends like that and I value them highly ;)
    I never knew your husband was a pastor so I'm glad that I too am one of those 'friends' and came back here to find out your news. The very best of luck for the next part of your family's journey.... xx

  14. You don't know me...yet...and yet...you may never know me. But, I want to say, how glad I am to have you and your husband and daughters come to our church. I too have a special needs child and met Lily this morning. It's so nice to meet you! I am really enjoying reading up on your family, getting to know you and your husband better. I look forward to the years ahead. God Bless you!!! Welcome!


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