When we told people we were moving to Boulder, everyone thought we were crazy – crazy to leave full-time jobs, comfort, family and friends. We’ve floated in faith since we got here. It’s been one challenge after another; each challenge reminding us that God is faithful and steadfast, even when we are faithless and shattered.
Perhaps we thought that it was enough to leave our comforts to plant a church in a very uncomfortable city, but today it doesn’t feel like it’s enough anymore. I am wrestling with the idea of comfort, faith and sacrifice. Have we really given everything? A few months ago it seemed like the answer to that question was a resounding YES! Today, it doesn’t. To be honest, I don’t think we’ve really given up much. We are far from comfortable and every month we have no idea how we are going to eat or pay our bills, but is that the essence of the Gospel?
We are learning to cling to God in the midst of darkness, but that’s (our) lesson –(our) journey. That isn’t the Gospel. We didn’t come here for (our)selves, we came here for the lost and broken. It’s felt difficult focusing on others in the midst of our own battles and struggles, but ultimately we came here to lay our lives down, not to cling onto them. I’ve been wrestling with God on this. What does it look like to surrender more? What does it mean for “us” to give everything for the Gospel? Who are we not reaching? Where are we not going?
I admit – I have let my fears keep me “inside” my house. I have allowed myself to be shackled to the only comfort I know… my tidy home in my safe neighborhood. When we felt called here, we started praying for the darkest hearts and the most broken lives. I am convinced that we are called to have a church of societal misfits. I do not believe that we are primarily called to reach the “healthy”. Our heart has always belonged to those who are “unfixable” by society’s standards.
Knowing this I must wrestle with my own life. Have I laid down my life for these treasured souls? Have I given up everything to reach them?
… with all my heart … may a future blog tell the story of a life surrendered and a lost people found.
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.
I remember going into labor with Arrabelle. There were moments throughout the labor where I wanted to quit, but I knew that there was only one way to end the pain… to go through more.
There are no words to describe the first time I embraced her. I didn’t know I would love her as much as I did. I really didn’t expect to be so overwhelmed. I looked into her eyes and saw mostly Ben, and a little of me. I was awestruck. God gives us the freedom to create life – to make something miraculous from practically nothing.
I often feel like we most reflect God when we are creating. The first thing we see in God’s character in the Bible is His amazing ability and passion to create.
Yesterday was tough in all ways. It was one of those days I wished I was never called to plant a church. I desperately wished Ben was the CEO of a major company, instead of a lowly church planter. There were moments when I grew overwhelmed with the task of planting a church.
Today I received fresh vision for what it is we have been asked to do. I thought back to the day when I brought Arrabelle into the world. I alone know the sacrifice it took to get her here. No one else bore the pain, no one else carried the cross of nine months of nausea. And no one else got to sigh the relief of holding her for the first time, knowing… every moment of discomfort and pain was more than worth it!
As Church Planters, God calls us to carry the pain and discomfort of scrutiny, insecurity, financial hardship, disappointment and fear. And yet, I know that in the midst of the journey, we are reflecting our Father in the most miraculous way – we are creating something from nothing. God placed a tiny seed in our hearts and from that, we get to create. At the end of the laborious journey, we will be able to physically embrace the fulfillment of what is now just a dream.
We get to create. I feel humbled and overwhelmed that God would call me to bring His dreams to fruition. I am thankful that I get to be the one to see His desires brought to life through my tiny hands. The labor will be worth it and in the end, we will get to embrace those who God has given us, and we alone will know the tears that were wept to bring them into our arms.
Sometimes I think God works in mysterious ways just to remind us that we don’t have Him figured out. Our move to Boulder has been mysterious indeed, and each day God unfolds a little bit more of God’s grace and goodness. But I’m learning that it’s not just good because He can does things for us, but it’s good because of who He is. I don’t expect anything to work out the way I want anymore, but instead I just hold my hands up in surrender and trust implicitly in God’s goodness.
When Ben and I decided to move to Boulder we thought God would open radical doors to confirm His will. Instead, doors shut. One door after another slammed in our faces. We couldn’t find a place to live. Ben couldn’t find a job. Our insurance had run out, and to make matters worse, I was in the middle of my third pregnancy. The worries began to pile on as each door closed not only made me question our calling, but made me face the reality that we were about to be very poor, jobless, homeless and adding a new child into this mess. The week before we were supposed to leave, and Ben’s last week at the Church, we received a phone call – Ben got a job and he was going to be starting June 6th. One prayer answered, but still, no home. The last day on Ben’s job at the Church, he preached on the cost of following Christ. It was an easy message for him, because it came directly from his own experience over the past month. He was preaching on the fires of tribulation and his clothes were still on fire from what we were going through. At the close of the message a woman approached him and asked him where we were going to live… ummm- we don’t know. All we knew was that we had felt God calling us to Boulder in June and that Ben had a job lined up. Then she handed us the keys to her place – it was vacant for two months and it was in central Boulder. We got to live there rent-free for two months.
God has taught me that His path is not always easy, but He travels it with us. A week later, I was given a job where I would be able to work from home. We are planting a Church, and we are going to have to work harder than we have ever worked in our lives. And yet, here we are, in Boulder. While I was busy looking for homes and driving to Boulder twice a week to search out places, God was lining up a place for us, rent-free. While I was busy filling out applications for Ben, God had a job in place – no application needed. I have learned to not try to force things. I do my part and I sit back and let God direct my steps, after all, I have said all my life, that I am traveling on the narrow path. Well, if this is true, then I guess I better be willing to accept God’s path for my life instead of my own.
I still ache to see our Church start. I long to meet people and get to be a witness. And I desperately desire for God to give me boldness and Divine encounters! This is what I desperately desire more than anything. This is why I left my family and comfort. This is why we came to Boulder.