Embracing each season’s call
I didn’t grow up going to church. My eyes weren’t opened to spiritual things until my great-grandmother’s funeral in Manhattan. I was a sophomore in high school, and I had never attended a funeral before. When I saw my great-grandmother’s body in a casket, I started crying uncontrollably. I asked my family members about life after death, but no one’s answers soothed my inquiring soul. When my mom and I returned home, she thought it would be a good idea to find a reputable church in our hometown. From that day on, we attended church faithfully, and God transformed my heart on November 14, 1994.
I met James, my husband, as we were getting off a plane for a Campus Crusade conference in Nashville, Tenn. And a few years later, James and I finally started to date. When we were dating, James would always tell me he felt called to go back to New York City. We had a running joke that I didn’t think I was the one for him because I would never live there. When we married, all we knew was that we were both called to full-time ministry, and the rest was unknown.
The Jonah Moment
One day, James came home from work and casually said, “I’m thinking about church planting in New York City.” I was silent at first because I thought he was joking. Then I realized he didn’t laugh. I said, “James, I would rather go to Uganda than New York City.” I felt terrified. I believed New York to be crime-infested and dirty. I didn’t want to bring our two young toddlers to an unsafe city.
I remained adamant; God was not calling us to New York City, but James wanted us to take a vision trip to pray. I called my best friend who told me, “Tarsha, what I hear you saying is that New York City is like your Nineveh, like in the book of Jonah.” She reminded me if God was telling us to go, we should obey. As God was confirming New York City in James’ heart, God was also changing my heart from a “no” to a “yes.” After a week of praying and seeking God’s face, God revealed to us our next steps. We didn’t know the logistics, but we knew God had a plan for us in Brooklyn.
When we moved to Brooklyn, our apartment was like a hotel room. We had to learn how to function in 600 square feet with two adults and two toddlers. When we had moved to Atlanta, Ga., earlier in our marriage, we rented a small shotgun house by the railroad. I didn’t know it then, but God was introducing me to the idea of living in a smaller space. God prepared me in tangible ways for New York City, but He also used His Word and His people to help shape me for what was to come as a church planter’s wife.
We began planting our church through hosting a Bible study. God grew the Bible study week after week. Finally, we launched Bridge Church on Easter Sunday. My husband preached, and I couldn’t help but cry because what we had worked and prayed for was finally here.
As the church grew, it was all on hands on deck, and my role just kept increasing. I started doing a lot more in the church. All James and I talked about was ministry. As I took time to spend with the Lord, it was crystal clear that He wanted me to love and support my husband like never before, along with discipling our girls. James and I both agreed that I needed to step down from my positions at the church. It was hard to let go some days, but it was the best decision. I can truly say our home is a place of peace and connectedness. The Lord was patient with me, and about five months later He blessed our family with a beautiful baby girl. God knew the whole time why He was preparing our family. He just needed me to trust Him fully.
Bridge Church is an SBC church plant in Brooklyn, New York City. The Roberson family continues to be faithful to God’s calling as they serve the people of Brooklyn. For more information about the Roberson’s family and the Bridge Church, visit their profile page.