I've been thinking. Chasing rabbits. I need to write to make sense of all that has been spinning in my mind.
A year ago, Bryan and I went to an Acts29 bootcamp to explore planting a church in our town. We were exiting a difficult ministry situation and feeling called to start something new. During those few days, God clearly confirmed His plan for us to start what would become Church@The Square. It was an amazing time of worship, Bible study, encouragement, and preparation for what would be ahead for us. One of the speakers told us that Satan might not know where our neighbors lived but if we started a church, he would know where we lived. Spiritual warfare wasn't a spooky ghost story. It was a reality we would live in if we moved into enemy territory and became a threat. As a pastor and a church planter, he wasn't trying to use scare tactics, but he did want to remind all of us that the price of obedience was high and that it would cost all of us something. In the New Testament, Jesus said the same thing.
The seasons of life that have been ushered in with following our call as a church planting family have been completely unlike anything we have ever experienced. The ways God has provided for our family's needs have been nothing short of supernatural and amazing at times. Money for bills and needs has appeared in the strangest of places, and seeing God touch lives is beautiful. I wouldn't trade what we have seen for an easier journey. I love what God is doing through Church@The Square.
The cost has been high. Since the blog I wrote at the beginning of December about our family leaping into church planting full-time, we have been tested incredibly. It's almost like situation after situation has arisen to challenge us and say, "Are you really serious about this church planting thing? What if it costs you _____? Will you really stick with it then?" By God's grace, we have been able to say, "Yes!"
I don't think it is coincidental that my health has taken a nose dive since December. Even the doctors don't really know what is going on exactly, and since I am pregnant, their ability to run tests has been limited. A couple of weeks ago when I was hooked up to an IV pump in the hospital, that same voice asked me again. "Is it really worth it? What if you don't get better? Does God even care? If He is Sovereign, You know He could heal you. Can You really love and trust a God who plays with your health... with your child's health?" Shutting the voice out, I responded, "Yes!"
You see, I don't understand why God has not healed me completely. I wish He would. But, God was gracious and has given me some unexpected really good days since I have been released from the hospital. I know He could heal me, but He hasn't. Maybe it's so I can write this blog. I have no clue. There are times when God acts in ways that are completely beyond our understanding, and we are asked to trust Him. When I don't get life, I have to preach to myself and remind my heart what I do know is true. God is good. God loves me. God is for me and not against me. His ways are greater than my ways. Just like an ant can't fathom the brainpower of a nuclear scientist, I cannot always understand the mind of God. I can trust His heart. He is a good Father, and I am His child.
Today, I woke up with one of the worst gallbladder attacks I have had so far. The Lortab and the other medications I took didn't touch it. I was discouraged. I cried in the obgyn office. I hate crying in public. A lot. I am so close to delivering a healthy baby. I don't want to go back to the hospital to get hooked up to an IV again. I don't want to let Abby see her mommy cry anymore because she can't handle the pain. I definitely don't want any more medical bills coming into our mailbox. However, if God somehow gets glory in my suffering, I have to submit to Him. Life was never promised to be easy, and even if I have to deal with pain more than I would like, God has been incredibly good to me and my family. God has faithfully protected Pax and kept him safe throughout this whole pregnancy. I am finally able to eat meals again and gain healthy pregnancy weight to be able to deliver safely with strength. Easter Sunday is our due date. Not too much longer until our sweet boy will be here!
Healed or not, God is kind and loving. I will find rest in Jesus. On the other side of eternity, I will look back and know that the cost was worth it. As Jim Elliot said, "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." Even if planting a church costs me my health, I'd agree with Bryan to do it again. The Enemy may not play fair, but Jesus is worth everything. In the end, Jesus wins.
"1Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." Romans 5:1-5