I haven’t sat down at this keyboard with the intention of writing anything for a very long time. It baffles me and frustrates me that the words that used to pour out daily with ease have all gathered up together like a flock and billowed away from me. I know there are seasons for things, and this season may not be one of writing for me, but I’m trying to figure out how to live now without getting all tangled up inside- writing is my de-tangler. It combs me through and gets out all the knots.
Life marches on, words or no words, and here I am. The two older boys are in school, and Truman is my all day, everyday 3-year-old sidekick. He hasn’t taken off his batman costume in 9 days. Myer’s training wheels sit recently abandoned in the garage, and the math work Ezra is bringing home looks like blueprints for a spaceship to me. What is supposed to be me ‘checking his work’ ends up being a 30 minute math lesson for mom. He’s a patient and gentle teacher. haha.
We’ve been church planters for eight months now, my husband and I. It is gut-wrenchingly terrifyingly wonderfully AMAZING work. I had no idea. My husband is stepping into some new skin, some fresh authority that I could always see just below the surface- waiting for the chance to exist. He is a pastor through and through from the top of his head to the bottom of his feet, and seeing the way he cares for and leads this church body in worship with such humble joy is… well, beyond description for the wife’s heart within me. All those years of physical labor – for him as a contractor, for me as a mother of small children – they’ve all been working towards this new birth in him and none of it would have been possible apart from the toil & the longing. It gives everything I do with my days, from the washing of dishes to the checking of math homework, great weight. He serves the church and I serve him. When I fold the laundry, it is for the church. For the kingdom! Not that you have to be a pastor’s wife to live in these realities, because you don’t. It is reality for all of those who live in God’s kingdom and serve God Himself, but this new season has really brought a lot of this truth home for me in a unique way. I don’t necessarily have to be championing committees to serve my church body, I can serve a warm meal and match up a pair of clean socks. It is a humbling thing, and my flesh often fights against it… my enemy often tells me it’s not enough, but I fight on to believe and embrace it more and more.
The church is blooming, and it is a work that never sleeps. You can’t leave it behind at the office. We are a mobile church, which means we build up & tear down the thing every week. Far from being burdensome, this working alongside one another to build a place for people to come and worship & hear God’s Word together has been an honor and a privilege. Church can become just another thing to consume in this culture of ours. Coming week after week and taking, taking, ingesting… without ever giving back. Abundant joy is found in rolled up sleeves and sweat on the brow- rolling in cases or teaching children or setting up coffee or signs or check-in computers or chairs! The joy of the Lord can overpower a heart in such moments. I know it does mine. Jesus came to serve and pour out His life. Not pour into His own. His sleeves were ROLLED UP, y’all. Again and again, you can find so much of Him in the least expected of places- a food trough in Bethlehem, a tax collector’s house, a school gymnasium on a Sunday morning. He continues to surprise me. He knows just what we need before we have any inkling of it ourselves, and I am so grateful to follow a God who is control of all things and has my GOOD set before Him at all times.
A couple of days ago, as I watched Myer pedal his bike away from me without the security of those training wheels for the first time, something clicked inside of me. Is there any better picture of faith than that? Is there any better picture of church planting or pastoring or stay-at-home momming, or ANYTHING that we do with these lives of ours? It’s always scary. It’s always wobbly. We’ll probably skin a knee. But it is always worth the risk- to take off the training wheels and pedal forward out of our comfort zones. If I could encourage you all in anything, it would be just that, with every last breath that I have: pedal forward through the unknowns! Step out in faith! If you feel God tugging you towards something uncomfortable, know that He will provide all you need if you will just trust. And know this too: After you step out in faith, things might look grim. No, they most definitely WILL look grim. And then, even grimmer. (totally a word.) But if you’ll just keep moving your feet and trusting He is holding you, you’ll regret nothing, and you’ll find things you didn’t even know you were missing.
Psalm 37:5 – “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him, and He will act.”