2010 was a strange year for us. It seemed like everytime we prayed for something, God did the exact opposite. We were often stressed, pressured, and perplexed by this. Billy and I were fairly confident that we were hearing Heaven's next step for our lives...but frustrated that we had no earthly means to "make" anything happen on our own behalf. If any "next step" was to take place, God's word would have to bring it about by His Spirit -- nothing else was working.
For sometime we believed that God was calling us to go back into full time ministry, but we had no idea where and how that would eventually transpire. Actually, we were quite aware of how WE WISHED our situation would transpire. It was hard for us to imagine that God would call us AWAY FROM the community we have become so imbedded in. We love New Life -- we love Colorado Springs -- we love TCA -- we love our friends, our kid's friends, our neighbors, our dry cleaners...you name it...we are emotionally attached to it. We believe in "staying steady" after all and being planted in a community. Yet, there was a nagging sense that God was calling us out.
From Abraham to the Disciples, the Bible is filled with stories of God calling leaders to come out of where they have been and directing them to go someplace else. We didn't jump to identify with any of them however. We mostly commiserated with Joseph. You know, legit vision from the Lord -- thrown in jail at no fault of his own. We felt like God had us in jail.
"Perserverance" is a hard lesson to learn. Maybe the hardest. The very nature of the word suggests what you are going through is "hard" and that the "hard" is lasting a "long time." I prayed many times in 2010 for God to "Give us a break" -- LITERALLY -- I wanted a vacation, a trip away. Each prayer like that was meet with a new challenge, more work, a broken appliance, another "situation" to handle.
To make a long (but VERY good) story short, we were surprised at years end with a sudden answer to our prayers. Billy accepted a job at Smoky Hill Vineyard Church in Denver as "Family Pastor" and 2011 took off with great force. We are very greatful that this "job" seems to have been custom built for Billy and our family. The people of this new community have joyfully embraced the us. However, if I'm honest, the timing took us by surprise...as God's timing so often does. Between working in Denver and coaching JV Basketball at TCA, today was the first day Billy's truly been off work since December 14th. We can't wait for Spring Break! (We are looking forward to the fast approaching end of the sports season so we can regain a little balance.)
Looking back at all those desparate prayers in 2010 for a "break" - a "vacation", "refreshing"...what I now see is that those things were simply not what was needed. Inorder to come into the place where God wanted us with excitement and energy to spare, we didn't need to go hide away in the tropics first. What we, what I, really needed was for my CAPICITY to be ENLARGED -- so that the BIG LIFE that God was calling me too could be a blessing to me as well as to others. God does many, many things through rest and vacation. We are BIG believers in them -- just ask our kids! However, God has used REAL LIFE...PRESSURE...FASTING...even SUFFERING to enlarge our capacity for what He's called us to do "next".
At just the right time, I was ready to shoulder the things God was calling me too -- even looking ahead now at the daunting task of selling the house, moving, readjusting five kids to new schools, friends...embracing a new community -- seems more of a blessing than a burden. After all, God isn't only at work at New Life Church and in Colorado Springs. Whereas we may bring a new perspective, we are not bringing God to Denver. He is already working there. He is at work all around us..all the time...inviting us to join Him. For the RamFam He seems to have invited us to rely on Him in a new way in 2011. All 7 of us.
"We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we dispaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead." 2 Cor 1:8