Now for Part Two…
So many things began to happen in our early years of marriage. Within the continued travel, both ministry and relationship moments were continuously weaving together camp-work, music, children’s worship, and then full-time church work. We had days where we had no idea where the next day’s meals were coming from, and we also enjoyed times of shared plenty. We had the sweet realities of seeing the Lord provide in some of the most miraculous ways — supplying our Fresh Bread, our living spaces, and even appliances (many more fun stories to share).
Once in Atlanta, we began to have a revolving door of visitors, and we stopped counting when we surpassed 150 extended-stay guests. A couple of fun moments: We lived in a one-bedroom apartment for eleven months, during which time we hosted twenty-one guests who stayed a full weekend or longer. Our first house (1350 sq. ft.) was where we passed the 150 mark, which included a nine-month stay of our closest friends (a family of four and their dog!), and a ten-month stay that relocated Mike’s brother Marc permanently to the area. I love saying, too, that all of those relationships have much more than survived!
It wasn’t long before our paths, job changes, and quests seemed at times very random, even for us. Yet now they all, EVERY ONE, make a great deal of sense. We were given opportunities that stretched us intensely. God maintained the requirement of a HUGE reliance on Him as we walked through some big disappointments, and He also provided a great deal of inner-balance by way of house-cleaning jobs and painting projects. Looking back, this array of activity kept us having to lean on each other and the Lord in a most unique way as He was testing the essence of who we are over what we do, using times of questions and times of understanding.
Children entered the family and became a part of everything. J. Michael entered the world at the peak of my travel to speak about children’s worship. He had flown on 50 planes by the time he was two, and some of his first words were “UP,” “CLOUD,” “DELTA,” and “GRAVITY!”
The melting pot of our pastor’s inspired teaching with the constant ideas and assignments that came our way, stirred within us (around the clock) a holy dissatisfaction that God was up to something, needing us to keep walking, trusting, and dreaming. Unfortunately, we tried to figure it all out. We tried several things that we felt failed in the moment — things that have yielded rich lessons, and now peacefully rest in places of sheer gratitude.
Then one night, everything came together to begin painting the Cre8 image on the canvas of our destiny. We were making a very tough decision – one that interrupted life as we knew it. The kids were in bed, and we were in prayer together, in our ATL living room. Ideas not our own began to fly, and it felt as though we snapped our fingers and it was nearly five-o’clock in the morning! We knew that this would become the thing that we would still be serving in some capacity when we are ninety, should it last, and should we still be around to see it.
For over three years now, the vision has been being refined, repositioning has been happening, and it is time to take some steps. We are starting very very simply, which I will explain in post Number Three. There have been a few big miracles that have gotten, dare I say forced, me to live dangerously again, no longer letting a shadow of insecurity have any more grip or halting-power over us. And through those miracles, God has made it clear that if we talked another year ABOUT the dream without doing anything to activate it, then we would be walking in complete disobedience. Is He or is He not faithful enough to move us and to guide? I guess with such obvious provisions, like prayers being answered that our son prayed at age five on the very night that he voiced them… like the stripping away of many things we have clung to, in order that we have no ground on which to stand other than what the Lord has made firm… and like people coming to us with wisdom and resources beyond our own to walk this through by our side… well, here we are.
You may wonder: How can a shared family ministry start NOW when you don’t even have a house and while you are living in a condo that you don’t even own? Where will you meet? How often? Who is this meant to serve? Will this affect your current jobs? Are you crazy?
I will let YOU decide, as in Part Three, I’ll give the “NOW” specifics, tell you how others fit in, explain how this is not a church nor will it compete with the local church, and answer some big questions that I imagine you may have stirring in your head about now…
For now, I lay me down to sleep. Hopefully, my rest will be full, and in a few hours, we will wake again with the Lord ever-before us, in thought and in surrender. Times like these are when the living is good.
So yes, it is a good night.
(Our first family gathering is happening on Wednesday, October 27th, 2010. Space is limited by the number of cars we can park. To express interest, email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org )