Friday, October 03, 2008

A West Side Story

I'm not a west valley girl. There I've said it. It's out in the open. I've lived in the East Valley for almost 30 years. Everything that I've ever known and loved is East of Phoenix. Once decided we would plant a local church, then came the obvious questions of where. Over the years there have been hundreds of requests from people desiring a Sovereign Grace church to come to the west side. Four more came between May and Sept. So, I think it was pretty much decided in the Pastor's mind, including my husbands from the beginning as to where we'd go but he humored me by having discussions. I hate to say it but I threw out every place possible East of Phoenix and not one place west. They all got shot down and with good reason.

I still remember our very first scouting trip out west in May. He took me to Surprise AZ, which is about as far west as you can go and still be in civilization. My opinion only. I'd say it's over an hour from our current house if not more. I was struggling with leaving behind my family and friends and with each passing mile and minute I felt saddened and numb. It didn't help that Chris wasn't sure how to get there so unknowingly he took the most abandoned road. There were miles and miles of nothing but dirt during a monsoon storm. It felt like something out of an old western movie. I looked at him at one point and said something like, "You've got to be kidding me!" Any resistance I had going west was only increasing.

After leaving Surprise, which once we GOT there I'll admit was really nice, we headed east towards the Cardinals Stadium. A place I immediately fell in love with AND it's apart of the West Valley. We sat down to order and the manager came up and asked us if this was our first time at her restaurant? We told her it was and we were considering moving out to the west valley, did she have any suggestions as to where to live? The gal, I suspect was in her early thirties, unmarried, begins to tell us all that she loves about the West Valley. Where the best places were, among other things. I had reasons to suspect she did not know the Lord. She gave us the best places to drink & party. While she was talking I felt the Lord asking me, "Would you go West so you can share the gospel with her?" "Would you leave your family and friends and preferences behind so someone like her could know my love through the cross?" That was a life changing moment. I literally had to wipe tears away while she was talking to us my heart was that moved. At that moment the west valley was no longer a place to me but rather real people who are lost and need gospel centered, mission minded believers to come into their worlds and tell them about the Savior. Now that's not to say I haven't struggled since then but the "where" to go was settled in my mind. I have come to really enjoy our visits to Peoria. There is a lot to love.

So in repeating my husband's words from the Family Meeting, We are going West because:
1. There are lost people there who are going to hell and our heart beats for evangelism
2. There are believers who are choking on the pollution of legalism and condemnation and need to breathe the gospel of grace
3. The day of glory is fast approaching and God will reward those in Christ and condemn those who are not in Him

So although I may always be an East Valley girl deep down, the Lord has given me a heart for the West Valley and I know that in time it too will feel like home.


CarrieLovesKeith said...

Wow, Tara that is SO encouraging! What an amazing perspective, being broken for a lost people and being willing to completely uproot your life to share the gospel! Keith and I are so excited for you and Chris and encouraged yet again by your example of putting the gospel first! We have already seen it here in the East Valley, taking your kids to Life 101 and sacrificing your comfort in many ways, and now through this church plant! Thank you for the example that you are, and for sharing your story! Love you!

KC said...

This was absolutely beautiful Tara! Thank you for sharing your heart so openly and plainly. God is going to do AMAZING things in your life and in the lives of those you touch. How awesome to have such an intimate conversation with the Lord in a single moment that changed you forever. I can't wait to read about your adventures; the God moments that bless your faithfulness! AWESOME girlfriend!!

Amy said...

I am so excited for you for two reasons. One, this is an adventure that God has so clearly placed for a reason in your said it already - to reach those who are lost. I am also so excited because I know A LOT of people who live in that area since I went to ASU West. I can't wait to tell my believing friends about it and pray that many, many more are reached. Praise God! :)

PJC said...

Gday Tara. Thank you for sharing so honestly and vulnerably about the way the Lord has worked in your heart. I am so very encouraged by this. We will be praying for you and your family as you take this step of faith and obedience in serving the Lord. I'm sure the Lord will fill your cup to overflowing with many blessings as you follow Him wherever He leads.


Rebekah said...

It will feel like home in ways you can't even IMAGINE, I promise you. =)

Amberlee said...

what about Laveen? LOL :) We are so excited for you both, and have been so encouraged to see the work Hhas done in and through you. We will be praying!