In one of the sermons my husband wrote he said we have to live a life of courage. Courage keeps us pressing on despite our circumstances, failures and critics. If we are going to live a life of courage we have to stop being afraid and step out of our comfort zone.
I hope that whatever you may be facing you too will have courage to keep pressing on.
His Story ~ Not Mine
excerpt from my journal dtd
November 3, 2012
Submit yourselves, to God....
Come near to God and he will come near to you.
Thank you Lord for this time to step out of the busyness of my life, as mom, and into the still serene splendor of your creation. As I sit this morning captivated by the beauty of your mighty works, drawing near to you, I feel you draw near to me. In this season of our lives the picture seems to be no longer nebulous but is instead clear.
It is you El Shaddai, God Almighty, whom our hearts desire to submit to and serve. We want to be as close to You as we possibly can while in our earthly bodies.
Yesterday afternoon as Tray and I were strolling through the fallen autumn leaves along the River Trail, he spoke words that my flesh didn't want to hear but that God the Father had already been impressing on my heart the past week.
A few weeks back Tray was searching the Internet for help on planting a church and in doing so he came across Two Rivers Bible Church in Gonzales. Gonzales is 45 minutes from us but we thought lets go check them out. The minute we walked in I was overcome by the presence of the Lord. The love and desire to serve that out poured from these servants of Christ was amazing! I thought this is what we need in so many of these small towns around us. There are so many walking wounded, if only they could walk into a place near them and feel the love of the Lord Jesus Christ like this; there would be no turning back.
Well the following week the pastor of this church stated to me, "It is not about planting a church, it is about reaching people for Christ. Pray about it."
I thought, I know what God has put on our hearts.
When we lived in Schulenburg seven years ago when God called Tray into ministry. He impressed on both our hearts a passion for a church that was reaching beyond the church walls, one that welcomed you and your baggage, a church who aligned them self with other churches in reaching even more people. It was this calling that sent Tray back to school. Of course I wanted to see my husband be: excited to wake up each morning, to love what he was doing, to fill like he was fulfilling his purpose.
These words this pastor spoke I thought would mean an "end" to all we hoped and desired for. That these last seven years and especially the last eight months were for nothing.
I struggled through the week as God was showing me how foolish, prideful, and selfish I was! It is not about the "church," it is not about my husband, and it is not about me. It is about laying down our lives and picking up the cross. To go where He calls us without question or understanding, to be in the unknown and not care because we know in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28). When we do this, that is give Christ complete control over our lives, He can work through us to demonstrate to a hurt and lost world HIS LOVE.
When Tray spoke that one simple statement it was like God speaking audibly to me, confirming what He had been speaking to my heart all week.
Yet even though I knew it was what God was calling us to do, my flesh was still agitated. Scared of many things I guess. Maybe most that my husband wouldn't serve God in the way I expected or hoped him to in this season. I was scared that my husband would not have the unexplainable peace, joy and fulfillment he felt only two other times: when we were helping a ministry that did construction on churches-adding onto their building and when he was writing sermons and preaching as a fill-in at a local church here in Schulenburg.
Later in the evening we were relaxing around the fire and I asked my husband, "What do you think God has revealed to you through these past eight months?"
He replied, "I feel so inadequate and God has shown me that I need to depend more on Him."
I then asked him, "What is your hearts desire?"
He stated simply but with great passion and a deep yearning, "To serve God."
So here we are back to the morning of me writing this and with great conviction of my selfishness, pride, and foolishness I ask you Lord my Savior for forgiveness of my sins. Too often I have focused on the vision you gave Tray seven years ago, not even stopping to think that maybe You Lord have a different route of getting us to where you want us and that Tray has much more to learn. He leads our family well but needs to grow and learn more in leading a large flock. Too often I have focused on Tray's gifts of writing and his joy he exemplified when he shared your Word. I have always thought this was for sure the way you would use him. Maybe it is, maybe it is not. Either way Tray's deepest desire was not to write, not to preach, not to lead a church but to simply
with every minute, every hour and day of his life.
Seven years ago God put a love in our hearts for Schulenburg, but our hearts have expanded and we now have a passion for all small towns. I believe part of His plan was to bring us back here so we would find Two Rivers Bible Church. A church who is fulfilling the vision God had placed in my husbands heart. I don't know how God is going to write His story for our lives, but I want Him writing it instead of us.
Tray's email to Pastor Jesse at Two Rivers sums up the revelation, wisdom and clarity God gave us while we were in the wilderness.
I am always amazed at how God works. I was watching our old pastor and he was speaking on how God’s "no" is greater than our "yes". So many times we think we are on the right path doing God’s will, but God comes in and shuts the door. Then when we least expect it He opens a new door because His view, plan, and purpose are so much greater than ours. After a long weekend alone in the wilderness camping, Brandy and I feel that TRBC is where we are supposed to be for this season of our lives. You are living out the vision God gave me for rural communities. You are reaching out to the unchurched creating an environment where they can come face to face with Jesus. You are serving the community. You are also doing something that is dear to me. You are reaching out to other church leaders. One thing God instilled in me was not just making sure the church I lead wins, but helping the churches in the community win. I see you all doing that. I was astounded at the 160 kids at the fifth quarter and look forward to the ministerial alliance thanksgiving. I haven’t seen that kind of unity in community churches before. My family and I are here to serve, here to help TRBC continue to win and reach the lost whether by cleaning toilets, helping start new campuses or just soaking in the DNA for a future church plant. However God uses us I trust Him knowing we will be blessed and praying that we will be a blessing.
See you on Sunday,
“In a futile attempt to erase our past, we deprive the community of our healing gift. If we conceal our wounds out of fear and shame, our inner darkness can neither be illuminated nor become a light for others.” ― Brennan Manning