Some of God’s greatest gifts are….

It’s May 30th (I’ll spare the year to forgo how old I am now).  Seventeen year old Josh is praying while blowing out his birthday candles and he prays:

God my girlfriend, please let’s stay together.  In fact God I pray right now before eating this birthday cake, ice cream, and pink lemonade [my staple birthday spread], that you let me stay with my girlfriend. In fact God I’ll say this.  Let us get married.

Seventeen year old Josh….idiot.  God clearly answered the very next day.  NO.  NOPE.  NOT THIS ONE.  Seventeen year old Josh cried snot bubble tears, tried to “win her back” by taking swing dance lessons and all in all embarrassed the mess out of himself. It was ugly.  That time God’s gift was a clear answered prayer.  NOPE!

Ever heard that Garth Brooks Song “Unanswered Prayer”?

In the example above there was a clear answer.  “Nope, sorry Josh.  Answer is No” 17 year old Josh didn’t understand that the NO answer God gave then, led to the next girlfriend, the next girlfriend to an organization in college and that organization in college led to meeting Amy.  God’s gift at that time was a no! And I ended up married to Amy. #Winning

When we were in Belize, we prayed and prayed and prayed for community.  Y’all prayed and prayed and prayed for community.  And it seemed that God was silent on this.  Unanswered prayer.

Lord here’s the deal. Whether we are or are not, we feel alone.  Amy feels alone.  We feel boxed in, different.  We need community.  Bible study, something / anything.  Lord please bring us community.  People to do life together.

Each night the tears would flow.  The “discussions” (I thought they were fights but discussions sounds better) would occur. More tears.  And no community.  Unanswered Prayer.

God why aren’t you answering me on this?

Eventually we feel the call, prompting, impetus to move back.  For reasons that clearly don’t make any sense to our family at the time, we feel Winston Salem on our heart and we move.   What we thought at the time….Unanswered prayer.

The Lord provides a house, furniture, a set of strangers (church family) to care for our house while we move and we relocate in Winston-Salem.

We pray and feel God lead us to start an rGroup (church language = community group / life group) at our house and immediately it’s us and 2 other couples…..for a LONG TIME.  I’m a shell of myself.  Depressed, desiring for community but unable to invest in anything, my family, this new community, people around me, anything.  But people keep praying, keep loving, keep persisting.

Amy begins to thrive immediately when we are back in the States.  She immediately plugs into to a couple of mom’s communities.  Our kids adjust comfortably and here I am still praying.

$@)*(@# God I prayed for community.  Where is it?  I prayed for you to do this? And you haven’t!  What the…

Hurt, broken, lonely.  Depressed.  For me I felt a prayer was left answered for Amy and Unanswered for me.

But…People kept loving. People kept persisting.  Another (about) year passed and I stopped travelling so much.  I wasn’t here and there. Do you have any idea how hard it is to have community in one place when you are in and out?  It’s near impossible!  But I stopped travelling so much.  I wasn’t in Belize for a week, Nicaragua for two weeks, then home for a week, then repeat.  

I spent from August to January and didn’t travel 1 day outside of our house and my heart began to heal.  I was spending so much time from place to place to place that I longed to be where I was not.  When I was in Nicaragua I wanted to be home.  When I was home I wanted to be in Belize.  When I was in Belize I wanted to be in Nicaragua.  I can’t do this anymore.  So Amy and I made that decision and we (really I because Amy had already taken root), took root.

I started to notice all the people around us loving our family, loving me.

  • Our staff team at church that welcomed me so graciously, lifted weights with me, encouraged and loved a completely jacked-up missionary.
  • Our rGroup family that sat through some of the worst teaching time ever as I was totally checked out from what was going on.  They faithfully came and endured some really horrible leading, believing that God had something greater in mind.  They loved our family so so well.
  •  Our extended church family and volunteer teams that just encouraged the mess out of me as I started to serve more regularly, with the limited travel.

I started to notice that prayer for community in Belize.  The prayer that we felt God was telling us NO.  That prayer was really Unanswered.  Because He had something better for us.  God knew what was best.  He knew and knows that He is orchestrating a GREATER plan and life for us.  And here we are walking that out day by day / step by step.  In some of the greatest community of our lives.  We are so…. FULL.

Sometimes God’s greatest gifts really are…Unanswered Prayers.

 

Prayer Requests

  • Foster Care Update – Our last post…our license was approved.  We have been called a couple of times about a placement but God had alternative plans for those children.  We got a call on Friday for another sibling group.  WE FIND OUT ABOUT THIS TODAY! Pray for us that we simply trust and follow God’s plan.  Pray for the BEST situation for all the kids involved!
  • Preaching – I have an awesome opportunity to preach one Sunday in May.  Pray for God to speak to me through the Scriptures, for my nerves (sweaty feet and palms) and for God to communicate His message through me.  Pray for open and soft hearts.
  • Evangelism – Our family, kids included, have had some cool personal evangelism opportunities.  I spent 45 minutes explaining how to share Jesus to Madeline yesterday so she can share at school.  Pray that we are able to continue to proclaim the Good News and hearts are soften to receive it.
  • New Opportunities – Our family has been presented with some exciting and cool opportunities (more to come later).  Pray for us as we run into them!  We are so excited about all God is doing!
  • rGroup – Continue to pray for our rGroup.  God is doing some crazy stuff in it.  We have grown from 3 families to … well more than 3 families. I think last week we had almost 30 people!  Praise God for growth. Pray for Amy and I that we lead well and can shepherd those the Lord has placed before us!
  • Two friends with health situations.  I have two dear friends: Jon and Tony.  They are facing some health situations that are relatively serious.  Please be in prayer for both Tony and Jon and their wives and children.  We are proclaiming in the Name of Jesus healing over both of their bodies!

Friends God is on the move in our family.  We are overwhelmed and overjoyed.  Thanks for travelling on this adventure with us.  If we can be praying for any of y’all in any way.  Please please let us know!

We had to move our community group from upstairs to downstairs. Seating is varied on Tuesday nights for sure! If you’re local and not doing anything on Tuesdays come on by and check it out!

Crazy Hair day at school during Spirit Week

Friday lunch date – every Friday with this beauty.

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