“Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.” Psalm 37:3 (NASB)
Providence is a funny thing. One day you find yourself preparing for the next stage of life. The next, you are reminded of the old proverb, “The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps” (Prov 16:9). Entirely consistent with God’s character and purposes, this week Aimee and I experienced the truth behind this proverb.
Two Paths Merging into One
“What kind of circumstance would keep you here in Dallas, at least for now?”
Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve heard this question and responded in similar ways. “We would have be in a situation where we see the clear work of the Holy Spirit telling us, ‘no, not yet.'” Little did we know, God was preparing us for that very situation.
We’ve been preparing for this journey for a little under two years, from the first point of contact with Kris, our church planting coach and friend with the Berean Church Fellowship, to our final months of planning following our church planting assessment that would hopefully place us in Boulder, Colorado this summer. While things were lining up for our Colorado plans our constant prayer was for God’s hand to move in two ways: to provide the circumstances allowing for our move to Boulder, and for his favor in giving us children.
In many ways we saw these desires as two different, but complementary aspects of our life where God was at work. The reality however, is that our journey in ministry and our hope for a family has and always will be part of the one story God is weaving in our lives for his glory and our good.
Hurry up…and Wait!
As we sat in our doctor’s office, we knew God was telling us, “you aren’t going anywhere yet. Wait on me, and be faithful.”
Around a year ago, the Lord gave Aimee a beautiful and godly desire to raise a family. In the past we joked about having a ‘quiver full’ of children, but now we saw clearly the beauty and goodness of having children. We began to pray for God’s favor in conceiving , but went through the rest of the year with no good news to share with our loved ones. So, after nine months of disappointment, Aimee made an appointment with her doctor and had a few tests to determine if there was any underlying issue that was keeping us from getting pregnant.
When the tests came back, the doctor called Aimee to let her know the results (somewhat inconclusive) and to suggest that we meet with an infertility specialist. It’s no coincidence that this call came to us in Boulder, Colorado two hours before we began our assessment with the Berean Church Fellowship (see my last post, The (Slightly) Unknown Future). We began the assessment knowing that these two story lines were converging into one.
These last two months as we’ve consulted with our specialist (a wise and skilled doctor that God has used to provide great comfort), we learned that there are a couple of issues that may be keeping us from conceiving, and that Aimee will need a minor surgical procedure to address the problems. God willing, this procedure will open the door for future pregnancy.
At first we did not see this process keeping us in Dallas, and continued our plans for a summer departure to Colorado. But as we sat in our doctor’s office this week, we knew that God was changing our plans. Aimee’s recovery time will be longer, and the surgery will address more than we initially anticipated. The clear work of the Holy Spirit was showing us where we would be placing our focus this summer, not on a cross-country move, but on the outworking of his plan for our lives here. For now, we are staying put and trusting fully in the purposes of our God.
Dwell in the Land…
There are so many little circumstances in all of this where God has shown his mercy and favor. The fact that we have insurance here and are able to address these issues with no financial burden is an incredible blessing that has shown us God’s hand at work. The fact is not lost on us that God has somehow spared us even further heart break when so many close to us have suffered through the loss of children, whether miscarriage or otherwise. The openness of our sending organization to patience and their willingness to adapt and flex has encouraged us with a sense of God’s grace and purpose. Through everything, we are so thankful for God’s perfect timing and how he is using this period of our life to shape us further into the image of Jesus.
We don’t know exactly what this means as far as timing for our church planting work with the Berean Fellowship. Our desire and conviction is that God is calling us to plant churches, and to do so in Boulder, whether that means this summer or next year or beyond. We just don’t know. We do know that while there may be a delay in us getting there, God has called us to “dwell in the land, and cultivate faithfulness.” Our task as followers of Jesus is to reflect the beauty of Christ while inviting others into the journey of a lifetime pursuing him. We will do that no matter where we are or what we face, because we know God is at work in bringing redemption to his people.