You know when you're driving a curvy road and you can't see what's around the next turn? You can see the turn, but nothing beyond that?
That is the best way to describe our life for the last year.
Last September we said "No" to a very good opportunity to come alongside a church and help them grow/replant. If you've been around here anytime at all, you know that is our dream. Our calling.
Saying no was hard. But the events that followed were even harder.
Without going into too much detail, we faced a critique from leaders in our lives that was difficult to hear. After praying through their thoughts and recommendations as well as seeking counsel from mentors and people who know us well, we recognized that we disagreed with them. God was telling us to continue our pursuit of church planting/re-planting despite recommendations to do the opposite. It was extremely difficult to go against those in our lives whom we love, but we also knew that we could not forsake God's calling in exchange for man's wisdom.
Throughout the process we were questioned. Our maturity was questioned. Our calling was questioned. Our gifts and skill sets were questioned. The health of our marriage was questioned. Our friendships were compromised.
But through everything, one thing remained the same...
Our faithful Father.
He continued to lead us around that curve.
We could see nothing in front of us. Those in our immediate line of sight were telling us to turn around. But God kept pressing us forward.
Throughout this process Holy Spirit has continually brought me to meditate on Exodus 14:14
"The Lord will fight for you
You need only to be silent."
How hard that has been! To keep silent when I want to defend. But, how beautiful it has been to see Him defend us. When others try to defame by going to friends and trying to spin our story in a different light, He has stepped in and stopped it. He has been fighting battles that we were not aware were waging until after the fact. Which causes my heart to rejoice and affirm that we are indeed not fighting against flesh and blood. That truth allows me to forgive the humans that have hurt us, because I know that they are not the real enemy. The real enemy is Satan, and he will use whoever he can to wound us. He will cause division and cause man to war against man so that the gospel is hindered. I refuse to allow that. My only enemy is Satan. I heard someone a few months ago say, "What Satan can separate He can dominate". Truth. This is all taking a little rabbit trail, but sisters let's join together against the real enemy and stop warring against our brothers and sisters in Christ.
All of that to say, we have made our way around that big, long, hard turn in the road. Where there was fog we now have clarity. God has lead us to join with the Southern Baptist Convention in West Virginia to plant/re-plant a church in our region within the next year. Currently we are working with another SBC church doing an "internship" and hope to launch into a new work within a year. It has all been such a crazy process. Feelings of excitement, pain, loneliness, anticipation, and rest have accompanied us on our journey. We are beyond excited to see what God has for us as we pursue this dream that he has placed in us. This calling that He has lead us in. There are tons of things to still figure out, but we know that He will continue this work that he started and all of our questions (How? Where? When?) will be answered in time as we follow Him.
We're around the curve and moving forward, onward, and upward.