I made you one promise when I opened up this page… 100% honesty. And so, here I am, not quite as raw as I was a few weeks ago, but still processing. Over the past month-and-a-half, God has drenched us in fire, and though I feel as though we are at a reprieve, I can still smell burnt flesh.
We haven’t started “planting” yet, although I don’t really think that’s true. When you set out to plant a church, you begin to plant months before you even arrive on location. However, with physical eyes, one would think we haven’t really begun yet. I believe with all that I am that it hasn’t been God’s timing – we also know that He’s releasing us to start. I don’t know what the last two months have been about; I know we are being purged and I know we are facing trials worse than we’ve perhaps ever faced. But I still don’t fully know why. But what I do know, I will share.
It’s become increasingly apparent to me that I am holding on very tightly to some worldly dreams. A simple example of this was made known to me when I wasn’t able to pay any of our bills last month. I was ready to throw in the towel… no exaggeration. You may be thinking that I’m not cut out to be a church planter if I want to quit that easily, and if so, that’s fine – you’re entitled to your opinion. However, I want to just comment on that – no one is cut out to be a church planter. Church planting is a calling that God gives us grace to do, and that’s the only way anyone makes it out alive; of this, I have become fully convinced. Church planting is as much an individual journey as it is a global pursuit, and for me, the journey has begun in the fires of refinement. Everything in me wanted to quit, and for one reason… three little numbers that some system calculates for society and then defines us with… my credit score. Not paying my bills meant that my credit score was going to be severely hurt, and for that, I wanted to call it quits.
The LORD disciplined me that day by revealing to me where my treasure lies. If the spread of the Gospel could be compromised in my life because of a worldly system, than I am too immersed in the world. Please hear my heart – paying our bills is a godly responsibility and we are to make every effort to do so in a timely manner. God will provide for my bills, that I am certain of, but in the meantime, if missing one payment causes anxiety and a willingness to leave God’s calling, then I am being led astray.
God picked me up after I fell, by providing enough to pay our bills and get caught up, but it came at a price. Ben and I have slowly been selling some of the things we are passionate about. We have sold some of our hobbies and have rid ourselves of some unnecessary toys. In the process of purging our stuff, our hearts are also being purged. We are reminded that the Gospel is costly – it cost Christ His life, God His only Son, and so what makes us think that we are above any costly pursuit of Him?
Jesus reminds us to consider the cost. We’ve lost that message in our Western Gospel. No one will know the dark nights and days of me sneaking into a room away from my girls, weeping on the floor in fear that I will not be able to buy them food for the month. And yet, we have had food every day, and we have had more than enough. God reminds me that though there is a cost, I am also more valuable than the lilies and the sparrows – if God takes care of them, surely He will take care of me.