Jen and I have been married for 10 years, this June. So when I was asked to synchroblog about keeping it real and the latest chapter of our story, I thought I’d do just that. So here is chapter 10 of our ongoing story:
Our last anniversary was spent camping on the banks of the American River just outside of Coloma, CA. Just before leaving, we were informed by the church where I was Youth Minister that, due to budget restraints, my position was being cut and they were going to have to let us go. That put a slight damper on our camping trip and 9 year anniversary.
We finished out our commitment at the church in July. As we left, their generosity and grace was abundant. Not only did they love us and cry with us, but they offered severance pay that would provide for us until December 1st. We stepped away knowing we were loved and would be missed.
Almost immediately we began applying and interviewing with churches. We had a certain “box” in mind that we felt God wanted us in and so we pursued it. One church showed real interest in us as their small group pastor. We went through the 1st, 2nd, 3rd interview and the door closed. Another church showed real interest in us as their senior pastor. We went through the initial interviews and a weekend extravaganza of meetings and the door closed.
Perplexed, we did some real soul searching. What we noticed was that God was building some great friendships in Folsom (where we live) and sensed that God was asking us to stay put—to trust. But God, there is nothing here. What are we going to do for income? He simply said, Trust. So we stayed and continued developing our friendships and trusted.
But he also convicted me in a very gentle manner. You see, for the past six years God has been doing some real soul shaping in me. He was guiding me and leading me in some new directions (new for me at least) but I kept his leading and re-shaping rather hidden from others. I was afraid what people might think and what their reactions might be. I was like the guy who was given some money by his master and all he did was bury and hide his master’s gift. That was me. God had been doing something in me, but I simply buried it. I cared more about what others would think than about what God thought. In fact, I had been blogging for some time about these changes, but I did so in “private mode” (not available for public viewing). God simply asked me if I was willing to trust him and lean fully into what he was doing in my heart. ‘Cause I realized that no matter what I believed, there were going to be those who agreed and those who didn’t, those who thought I was right and those who thought I was wrong. So the real question became, Am I being faithful to God—where he was leading me and how he was shaping me? Realizing my answer was “no”, I said, “Yes…I will.” As an act of that commitment, I took my blog off “private” and went “public” with my thoughts. That was in October. Some think that was a good thing. Others think it was a bad thing. For me, it was the right and healing thing. Oh, and I almost forgot, Jen got pregnant with #3, girl #2.
Shortly afterwards I got a “regular” 3-month contract job. In the mean time, God began gathering a group of like-minded people who were asking similar questions and feeling similar longings. God began cultivating the dream about a different type of Christian community that he had been individually forming in our hearts for years . We found ourselves colliding with each other on the same road, emerging from different paths. We found friendship and camaraderie. As we dreamed together, God began bringing others to travel with us—all from different backgrounds, with different gifts, longing for the same type of community.
Then my three-month contract job ended.
Trust, he said. We did and he proved faithful. This has been, circumstantially speaking, one of the most difficult chapters in 10 years. But it has also been the most rich, fruitful, freeing, faith-building, soul-shaping, character-building, love-experiencing, friendship-full thrill rides with God we have ever been on. Our marriage is the strongest it has ever been. Our joy is the deepest we’ve known. Our peace passes understanding. We find ourself more patient and loving with those around us. We are more in love with and in awe of God than EVER before. Jesus has never meant more to us. We have deep friendships. God is using us as regular run-of-the-mill human beings. We have been healed from some junk and freed from some baggage. And I got another job.
The dream that he is birthing around us is simply awe inspiring. He has brought about 7 leaders to help dream the dream together. But it feels more like we are just trying to pay attention to what he is doing and wanting to join along. What will it look like? We have an idea, but we are dreaming as we build. When will the dream begin to be fleshed out? It has been for the past 30+ years, has led us to this place today, and will continue to unfold in the future. And the dream-scent we are smelling is phenomenal. May his kingdom come…
So this June, Jen and I celebrate 10 years of marriage. We are celebrating in Napa, CA, for a weekend bed-and-breakfast get away. We thought, “Let’s celebrate what God has done!” And celebrate we will!! I’ll leave the rest to your imagination…
Others Synchroblogging This Topic:
Mike with “Lost or Found (Depends on your view)”
Erin with “My Turn”
Lyn with “Your Turn”
Sarah with “Glenn’s May Synchroblog”
Jane with “Part 1“, “Part 2“, “Part 3“, & “Part 4”
Alan with “You Are Here”
Barb with “One Year Checkup”
Kathy with “It stinks down here, but I really love the smell”
Heidi with “May Synchroblog”