Thursday, October 22, 2009

Confessions of A Church Planters Wife

Church planting is thrilling, it's exciting, it's scary and sometimes it can try your faith. Ok, so sometimes it can try my faith. I think recently it's become more "real" that we've moved. I am thankful that I can visit my parents and friends without buying a plane ticket. But I've found that finding 2 1/2 hours of driving time in a day can also be hard to do. Especially in the midst of the demands of schooling and building new relationships here in the west valley, which is what I'm really called to be doing. So suddenly the thought, it's only a 1hr away, doesn't change the fact that Gilbert is no longer my home and well, there are days I still wish it was.

It's been about a year since the announcement of our church plant was made at our home church in Gilbert! Hard to believe. Since that time I've found fear and anxiety slowly creeping in. Suddenly I don't feel so secure. Even though the God I worship hasn't changed certainly something I had misplaced faith in did. And now I fear God would suddenly stop being God! "What if the church plant didn't succeed what would happen to us? We have three kids, a house payment!" What if, what if...

"Be Still and know that I am God"

I read recently that "Be Still" translates into "Be quiet". So I have fought to quiet my thoughts and dig deeper into finding my security and joy in Jesus alone. It's a fight some days I feel like I'm just beginning.

"if you have thrown your lot in with Jesus, everything he has is yours even the Kingdom itself. It would be impossible to ask for more!" Running Scared; Edward Welch

I think the number one question we get asked is "Are you growing?" This was brought to light again at our West Pastor's Retreat last week. It's a normal question. The very nature of church planting is adding to your number. We weren't a terribly big team to start with, so clearly for pure financial reasons we need to grow. But it doesn't help that this very question can reveal where I'm placing my hope. More people do not equal security. Each week I walk onto stage with the band and we begin our first song. Pretty much each week the fight in my head begins.

"Where are all the people? What happened to last weeks visitors, I thought they said they loved it and were coming back? No seriously... we have like 10 people here."

I worship and look at the hundreds of people outside of the Rio Vista Park and think how can we get all of them out there, in here?! Not so we can be a cool, happening, place, although I'm sure there's some of that in my heart but I know that God is a God who saves and I want to see his saving power displayed in our church! It's a battle and it's my battle. I've come to anticipate it, making it easier to fight but some weeks I'm weary of the fight and long for it to just go away. I know it's God's kindness that he won't let it "just go away".

"If your hope disappoints you, it is the wrong kind of hope. You see, hope in God never disappoints, precisely because it is hope in God. This means that hope placed in any other thing will always end up disappointing. When I place my hope in something, I am attaching my sense of well-being, identity, meaning and purpose to that thing in some way. In this way I "need" my hopes to become realities because I have connected my life to them" Quest For More; Tripp

"If your life is defined by how many of your little kingdom purposes you can realize, you will tend to be stressed, controlling, anxious, disappointed and fearful. You have defined your life by what you cannot control and by what God has not promised!"

"Bad things certainly can and will happen but there is a resurrection ending. So your task is not to transform into a superficial sunny optimist. It is to grow to be an optimist by faith. The kingdom is advancing, God's reign is spreading, there will be justice and when we belong to Christ, it will end with joy!" Welch

The result of my fighting looks like this. I want to see God glorified in my life and in His church, the bride of Christ. If God sees it best to glorify himself by building Grace Church in the west side then so be it. If not he will make his plan clear when the time comes. Whatever his will is will be good and His best for my life. In the meantime I want to come alongside my husband and faithfully serve. I do not live for Grace Church, my joy is not found in Grace Church and my life as a Christian will not be defined by the success of Grace Church. At the end of the day I can only live for God's kingdom that will come. I am an imperfect person, going on an imperfect church plant with more imperfect people BUT I have the promises of God from His word that he WILL perfect his bride (the church) on the last day. I praise God for these truths. His love and acceptance of me is not based on my performance. It is a love that was and is secured in the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

"Big kingdom hope is about entrusting my past, present and future, my identity, meaning and purpose, and my motivation for daily functioning to God and resting unafraid in him. Sure I will still face the disappointments of life in this fallen world. But, I will not panic, I will not run, and I will not quit, because my God is present even in my disappointment, and he will never change!" A Quest For More; Tripp

I will post a "real" update on Grace Church soon as there are many exciting ways in which the Lord is at work among us!


Kelly Langner Sauer said...

We moved to a new area about a year ago, and putting down the roots has been so slow; I understand your God-questions, and how He grows this faith. Thanks for the reality.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your fears and your fighting!

Jon said...

Keep your eyes on Him He promises to build His church and we are called to be faithful, I have to reimind myself of of this truth often even coming up to 10 years after being a church planters wife! Praying for you and Chris and your church.