My anything story peaked as I heard the words rolling off my husbands tongue. “They are thinking about planting a church in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, and want us to pastor it.” Immediately my heart was pounding, my breath was caught in my throat, and my mind began racing.
Plant a church in Rio Rancho. Uproot our four sweet babes. Leave my friends, my husband’s widow mother, our LifeGroup, the church campus we hold so dear, our homeschool community, our home. Leave it all…to plant a church…in Rio Rancho, New Mexico.
Over the next few days I prayed and I processed. I thought through all we were leaving behind, but I also thought through all that lay ahead of us. You see, we were making a difference where we were. We were leading a church of about 4000 people, seeing dozens of salvations every single weekend. We were seeing lives transformed before our eyes. We were a part of that story.
But one night, as I laid in bed, in the middle of the night, crying out to God for guidance and wisdom, I so clearly felt Him say, “Yes, but I have so much more.” More? What could be more? The more was the opportunity. The opportunity to step out in faith, to truly sacrifice, to live out what we say we believe, to live out who we say we are.
You see, I knew the beauty that came with that opportunity. The truth is that my anything story started back in October 2011. I distinctly recall the moment God placed a call on our lives to live irrationally generous. There was only one problem…we had about $120,000 worth of school debt that we had to pay off first. Over the next 38 months we lived on an almost unbearably strict budget and began chipping away at that debt. I can’t tell you how many times the last week of the month would come and I would look at the pantry and the $15 left in my wallet and not know how I was going to feed my family. But without fail, God always provided. Sometimes a friend would randomly call to invite us over for dinner. Sometimes my mother-in-law would show up on our doorstep with a platter of fruit for the kids. Sometimes the items I needed would unexpectedly be on sale. Regardless of how it happened, God always provided. Through that time of struggle I got to see the words of the Bible come alive. I got to live the truth that when we seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, he provides for us. I got to live the truth that He cares for all our needs. And I got to experience the intimacy that only comes from truly living in reliance on Him.
So as I lay there focused, not on all that I was leaving behind, but instead on the opportunity that lay ahead, I got my answer. I longed to live a life worthy of the gospel. I longed to live a life where as I measured each day, not by what I got done, but by how I served God. Longed to truly understand what it means to take up my cross daily. I wanted to sacrifice everything for Him. And this was my chance. What I knew, more than anything, was that I would never allow myself to choose comfort over obedience. God opened the door for me to choose Him. He opened the door to follow Him, wherever He would lead me, regardless of the cost.
And so here I sit. In our new home, in Rio Rancho, New Mexico. Instead of a church of 4000, we lead a church of 400. But we are still seeing lives changed. Lives being transformed before our eyes. And the truth is, my life has been transformed the most. There is a beautiful, transforming intimacy with God that flourishes when you open up your heart and your mind and say “anything.”