four months

October is here.  The leaves are falling off the trees, leaving their yellow trace all over my front yard.  I love this season.  Life gets one last breath before winter takes it by force and in finality.  I’m so glad that death happens slowly and not with one good storm.  We get to watch the process unfold before our eyes – both in nature and in our existence.

Boulder has been our home for four months now and as I look back, I am in awe of what has transpired in my own heart.  So many things in my soul have been killed.  At the time, I desperately wished that God would just take those things quickly and leave me as (un)maimed as possible.  But like the seasons – and like life – our Spiritual being is formed with time.  We are slowly brought to death, only to be brought back to life.  Though it went unappreciated at the time, I am now so thankful that, like the seasons, death does not come in a fierce blow, but through several storms.

Each storm has called to question my service to God.  And as so much has died within me, so much has been brought to life as well.

Four months and…

  • I no longer stress about paying our rent – I know God will provide
  • I walked away from a potential full-time job – Raising my girls means more than a paycheck
  • I have stopped questioning if we are called here – We are here, therefore we are called
  • I have allowed myself to dream about the Church – I am burdened for this city
  • Discomfort pays frequent visit to followers of Christ – We are not called to comfort
  • Discipleship is costly – He is worth the cost
  • I have abandoned many worldly things – I can now embrace more fully Eternal things

For those of you who have been reading my blog… thank you for allowing myself to process this journey.  I am sure I will have more posts where I wrestle with doubt, insecurity, pain, and heartache.  But I want to make sure that in the midst of giving you an authentic portrayal of my life, I don’t neglect to share with you how good God has been in the midst of this journey!

It may have taken me 4 months too long to realize it, but I am being carried through this life by an amazing Father and an incredibly resilient Friend – the Hope I have is the Hope that brought me to this city in the first place – may God help me live that out daily.

Worth It

Last night I went to bed with my tear-stained cheeks and the thought in my head… just go to sleep – His mercies are new every morning… tomorrow the sun will rise.

This morning I dropped Ben off at work, followed by Belle, and I breathed in God’s new mercies… I AM going to have a good day today!  I commanded myself.  About this time I glanced at my mirror only to see the reflection of the dreaded authoritative flashing lights behind me.  I looked down at my speedometer and noticed that I was driving under the speed limit – maybe he’s pulling me over for driving too slow?

NOPE!

I failed to notice that I was in a school zone.  I needed God’s mercy in the biggest way, but instead I received a 4-point ticket with a double fine totaling $300.00.  It was the first time in my life that I cried in front of an officer.  I tried to mask it and took in deep breaths, but the sobs kept getting louder.

It’s not his job to ask my current financial situation; nor is it his job to know my Spiritual state and the fact that I’ve been through five months of brokenness, so I guess I didn’t feel the need to say anything to him.  Instead I just thanked him as politely as I could.

The tears accompanied me the whole way home as my thoughts quickly snowballed from one question to the next – I can’t afford groceries, how can I afford this ticket?  I never speed, how come the one time I accidentally speed I get stuck with a ticket?  God… where is YOUR mercy?

Genesis 15 marks the beginnings of Abram’s journey of faith.  God approaches him and says fear not Abram.  I am your shield and your very great reward.  Sometimes I think that we look for God to show us mercy through the world.  I wonder if I want my shield and reward to come through financial peace and a steady job.  Yet as God begins to take this man and refine his faith, He first lets him know who He is in His life.

And so it is true with me ­– God’s mercies are new every morning.  But that doesn’t mean that the morning holds no pain.  Sometimes the mercy of God strips us of ourselves so that we run behind His shield.  Sometimes the mercy of God rids us of worldly things so that we cling to the One True Reward – Jesus Christ.

By the end of today I felt completely drained… emptied… vacant of any “Camryn.”  And though I don’t see a way out right now, I know that I am hiding deep behind God.  I have wrapped myself in His hem and I am crying on His garment – LORD, please shield me!  I have nothing left and so I am learning to allow Him to be my exceedingly great Reward.  Days like these force me to echo the words of one of my favorite artists, Rita Springer… It’s gonna be worth it – He’s already worth it!

when nothing makes sense

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.

the goodness of God

If we believe that God is good, than everything He does and gives must reflect that goodness.  Sometimes, we look at what we have or don’t have and we think that our circumstances reflect God’s character.  There is great danger in doing this, because we begin to see God through a lens based on the material, rather than seeing our circumstances through a lens based on God’s character.

We often fail to see things through a Spiritual perspective, and therefore when we lose our job or say good-bye to a loved one, we immediately begin to judge God’s character from that.  How could You God?  Why would You God?  Questions like this are not bad, but they are revealing.  They show that we are seeing God through our circumstances rather than seeing our circumstances through God’s character.  If we are confident in God’s goodness, and that is our premise for understanding all of life, then when a tragedy strikes us, rather than allowing it to shape our opinion of Who God is, we would allow what we know about God to shape our opinion of what has taken place.

Can death really be an act of a good God?  The Bible says that God works all things together for good according to His purpose.  In this life I may never understand why God allows death to fall upon a child, but I know without a shadow of a doubt, that God is first and foremost – always a good God.  Because that is my foundation, I can see all death, even that of a child, through the understanding that whatever God gives me is good and will be used for good.