Anything? Again?

image32

December 28th, 2008- I married my husband, J. Two weeks later, we moved to NH to complete our internships at a church, with the plan to move to RI to plant a church after graduating college that spring.
We were flying by the seat of our pants, trusting Him fully. It was hard, but thrilling, too! We knew full well that RI was the “anything” He was calling us to, even though it was far from family, friends, and anything we knew.
It was a clean slate. An opportunity for Him to use and grow us– and that happened, more than we even imagined.
Two years after starting that church, we felt God’s call to another “anything,” a second church plant in RI. So, 6 weeks after having our first baby girl, we launched a second church.
We’ve been at the second church plant for almost four years now, adding another baby girl to our family in 2013, and it’s been an adventure. We’ve been challenged and blessed and frustrated and overjoyed. We’ve felt a lot.
But if I’m completely honest, it’s been hard for me to figure out this being a mom, a stay at home mom at that, and how I can be a part of this “kingdom work” we’ve been called to. I’ve always felt the calling to be here in RI, too, though I have never been a paid staff person of our church. I’ve led teams that are a part of my husband’s team within the church, and most recently, I’ve been a participant, a highly involved behind the scenes volunteer. I’ve learned a lot as I’ve set some of my gifting a aside and allowed God to use me in different ways, in ways and things I didn’t want to, but He did nonetheless. I’ve learned that God doesn’t just give us a few gifts, and that those are the ones we MUST use. I’ve found, and experienced that there is much more to us than we limit ourselves to. Praise God for that. So though it’s been tough, it’s been beautiful and liberating, too.
In the midst of those feelings and experiences, I was introduced to Jennie’s book…and it has rocked me. I honestly thought, and was living out, that because I was living my/our “anything” out here in RI planting churches, I didn’t need to keep praying that prayer. God was still blessing, stretching, challenging us. My prayer wasn’t consistent. My prayer was a “keep using us” kind of prayer.
Well, crap.
Reading Jennie’s book made me realize that I should continually pray for God to use/do/whatever “anything” in my life every day.
So, I started praying it. And through my prayers, I absolutely felt God stirring within me. I kept these feelings, these stirrings, these Holy Spirit moments to myself for a few weeks. And when I told my husband, he told me that he was having similar feelings. J had been praying “God, interrupt my life” instead of “anything,” but we meant the same thing, though using different words. Our separate prayers collided.
Churches had been calling J our entire time in RI to come on staff with them, but it was always a very easy “no.” But now we both felt as though God was preparing us for something more, and potentially something very different.
I wasn’t ready for different. I’m an introvert (with some extrovert tendencies, ha) who takes a while to establish deep friendships– and I was really comfortable here. Actually, I am more than comfortable here. I love my friends. I love my weekly prayer in my living room with two of my most favorite women.
But I could not deny the feeling that God was preparing us. For something. For an “anything.”
Fast forward a few months, and we’re in serious conversations with a church. A big church. In, of all places, Las Vegas. We’ve visited, has serious talks with staff people. I’ve attempted to close doors to this “anything” with my bluntness and constant questioning to them/the church there. And I’ve also questioned God.
Why call us to another “anything” when we’re already living an “anything?” I can’t understand. It’s frustrating and hard and sad. But it’s also exciting and adventurous and gives me hope. One moment my heart is broken about not being here in RI, and the next I’m SO hopeful because He is calling us to something, to another “anything,” and He wants to (for some reason) use us again, more.
My anything is now. I’m a week from my RI house being packed up, two weeks from landing in a new city, and moving into a new (rental) home, that won’t have any of our “stuff” for at least a week, if not 2, after we arrive. I don’t know anyone. My husband will be on staff, not me. What does this look like for me? As a mom? As a person? As a leader? What’s next for me?
Through the 6 months of this “in between any things,” J and me have recommitted ourselves to following God’s calling, even when it hurts. We’ve reminded ourselves of how we believe God has brought us together to be a light in places where the dark is more present. And through this move, we see God using us in that way again. We’re moving from the least churched (Christianity) state to one not far from it.
But I don’t believe this move in and of itself is my anything. I absolutely believe that it is a part of it, but I believe God is about to use me for something. I’m praying He does. I have no idea what that “anything” is or will be, but I’m clinging to Him. That’s all I can do.
I don’t believe our “anything” prayer should ever end. It transforms and changes and as we continue to rely on and trust Him, we must be allowing Him our “anything.”
I always tell people that “we fly by the seat of our pants because it helps us trust Him best.” And I truly believe that. If we are truly willing, even when it breaks our heart, to follow Him, to give Him our “anything,” there is no better place to be. Ok, maybe heaven.
If we’re going to encourage people around us to surrender and pray anything, we better be able to live up to it in our own lives.
So for me– Vegas, here I come. And I can’t wait to see what He has in store for us in this new adventure.