I’ve been watching my calendar like a hawk.
And you can’t touch it.
I fill it with lots of good things.
I say “yes” to nearly everything!
I am working hard to make every moment count.
So, it’s with complete good intentions that I am very busy.
I’m tired of trying to prove myself.
I’m exhausted from the drain of other’s expectations.
I’m defeated by all the steam I lose in the course of a day.
I’m not moping.
Just saying what needs to be said.
We’re too busy.
I know I am.
I think you’re the same as me.
There are lots of things that can kill a relationship, most of them lead back to selfish pride.
There is one thing that will guarantee a relational community’s demise.
“We have no clue what we’re doing.”
Stupid statement to repeat (over and over again) when you’re trying to get people to understand what a missional community is. Really dumb when you want people to understand that you’re starting an actual church, not a cult.
The statement didn’t sit well with those who cared for us. Friends and family didn’t want us to act on a half-baked plan. Or a “non-plan.”
[Looking back at the initial vision- “The Birth of a Forest”]
Through the process of telling folks about what we were thinking of doing, we got a lot of funny looks and “that is so unique!” So we got caught up in the Explanation Trap. We wanted to prove ourselves and prove the validity some mega vision.
It’s like someone graduating from college, and the incessant question, “What are you going to do now?”
Of course, there was theoretical set of plans…. We would to move into the heart of a neighborhood. Meet people. Live our lives with them. Rub shoulders. Go on family walks. Serve the neighbors. Make time in our schedules to start getting to know them. Have lots of food and invite people into our lives. Celebrate a ton. And talk about Jesus a lot. Church would gather some money in the middle of the group and use it to serve God through the people around them. We would equip, empower, and send others out to start groups like this in neighborhoods and nations… A sprawl of Gospel communities! All legit churches.
Just keeping it simple.
We were busy. Money was tight. Energy low. Kids crying. Kids ended up in our bed at night and we didn’t sleep well. We were awful at meeting new people. We had yet to make peace with the messiness.
We were just poking at the vision and “showing up” … and we discovered that this is going to be a marathon.
A long, bloody, messy, ambiguous marathon.
And that was going to have to be okay.
Unreal didn’t describe it.
We’d lived in the house since our marriage day. Newborns brought home from the hospital to the house. Lots of pacing the hall at night. Countless deep discussions and passionate disagreements! Exquisite meals. Rugged and sweet friendships. Scorching weeks and tears. Unquenchably enthusiastic celebrations. All in the house.
The house was empty. Except for an echo and a mattress on one of the bedroom floors. We had moved all of our belongings out and we had one night left to sleep there. We thought sleeping in the same room on our last night, then getting up and walking out the door would make it easier on us.
Except I couldn’t sleep. It was a long night of tossing and turning. Intermittent crying. Near panic attacks. Catching my breath when I could. Heather holding me, praying for us, and being my backbone the best she could.
I had known that we would move, and that it was the right decision, but I had ignored this impending night for weeks. I had put it in the back of my mind.
And it hit me wildly. I was left in a state of brutal sentimentality. Questioning the entire decision.
As odd as it sounds (and on a much smaller pain scale, so as to not offend anyone!), it was the closest thing that I know to the process of laboring for a new child. Something new was coming and I knew that it would be beautiful, but I felt like I could barely make it through the night. And maybe I wanted to just give up.
A chapter was ending.
I thought about the scope of what we were “leaving.” From the week we were preparing to move in… standing in the living room amongst boxes when we received the news that our friend, Jody, had died… to getting the beautiful news about being pregnant with Jude… and then Lucy … to those who lived with us throughout our time there… to the moments where we decided to take steps on new adventures and step away from old ones… to the last night sitting on the hardwood floors in the empty living room eating pizza with a family who have been neighbors, roommates, friends, but primarily OUR family for the past ten years (and they continue to be that)…. Listening to the laughter of our four kids echo off of the skeletons of the house.
A big chapter was ending. And looking back, we were learning the Gospel from the beginning of the chapter to the end. We were always being readied to be sent.
On that day I realized that no matter where we moved, on this earth we would always be homesick.
And somehow, I found some beauty and comfort in that.
He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. (1 Peter 2)
Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called…
Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? (1 Peter 3)