What If…

What about the kids? 

 Since we’ve began to share the news of our decision to build a retreat ministry in NC, there has been a consistent worry folks have, including us, leading to ask this question.

We get it, from the outside it is all sorts of crazy: we have great jobs here, family and amazing friends. This is the only place they’ve ever known. It’s the middle of the school year. You can imagine the shock hearing that our oldest is a senior, and we are not waiting for graduation to move, or leaving him here to finish the year at his current school. I even had a lady say to me, “Wow. I used to look up to you as parents, but this is really selfish.” Ouch. That one hurt.

As a recovering people pleaser, I prepared myself for the questioning, and worked out some fear of my own when we said yes to this calling. We often quote that “God’s ways are not our ways,” and that “God”s timing is perfect”, but how do we respond when His ways are really nothing like our ways and His timing appears to be way off? How do we respond then, in our own lives and in the lives of others?

We have worked hard over the last 17 years to create a safe and secure atmosphere for our children. Intentionally being hosts of hurt, not shutting down the process. We have messed several things up in our parenting journey, but this is one thing we feel pretty confident in: There is no better place to struggle, question, and mess up than in this house. Grace is our pace and if we can’t work through the toughest of issues in these four walls than we aren’t doing our job.

As the Father asked us to trust him fully in this, we asked Him as any child does who feels safe, “are you sure?” We would be lying if we said we haven’t asked God “am I going to screw up my kids?” I recalled this feeling, remembering myself as this little girl with strep throat looking to my mother holding the tube full of bubblegum pink amoxicillin, “Are you SURE that’s going to fix this?” doubting that liquid could tackle the wretchedness I felt. I questioned it, yet took it, because I knew I was safe to do both.

Safe to doubt…

So, one by one, we would sit with our children, no feeling off limits, no question unanswered, asking how they really felt about this. I will also admit that in these private conversations I probably reflected more doubt than confidence, with my own questions swirling in my head. Here is how the Father spoke through them to us:

“Let’s do it.”

“If it’s from Him, I want it too.”

“He’s created us for this, it’s what we have been waiting for.”

“So I have this idea of how to serve the guests, would it be ok if I helped too?”

My 13 year old daughter said this week, “the more time we waste doubting if this is the right time the more time we loose fulfilling our purpose.”  Talk about confirmation out of the mouths of babes.

My week has been one of the hardest spiritual battles I’ve ever encountered. I felt a deep sense of defeat and depression before my feet hit the ground. My children, the very ones we are all so worried about in this move, laid hands on me and began to pray for me. The darkness lifted and I felt the doubt and worry lift off my chest, as my teenagers prayed. They prayed for their parents the way we have trained them to pray.

As mom and dad- we work so hard to establish firm foundations and Godly courage in our children, but then doubt our own investment in their lives when we fear God’s plans ourselves. Things get real when you have to live out what you’ve taught them.

What if the very act of our obedience is their greatest gift? What if our trust and rest in the Lord’s plans proves that actions of faith speak louder than words? 

A job offer we can’t turn down…

God has shown us in His Word time and time again that the obedience of one generation produces the promises for the next.  That is still true today.

Waiting to begin the work, resulting in disobeying God’s call could be far more detrimental to their lives than moving in the middle of a school year.

What our kids need more than anything is parents who walk in obedience. During prayer last week, Adam felt God speaking to his heart in the way he needed to hear. “You’ve got the job. You have the job offer. Are you going to accept it or wait?” As someone who has earned their paycheck their entire life, and would only leave one job if a better offer was presented, this revelation shifted his entire perspective.

Up to this point we felt it was best to have a large amount funded before we began to sow into the ministry in NC, so we continue to work traditional jobs until the Lord brings the funding. We knew this could takes weeks to months or years, so our obedience essentially was in the hands of others promoting us, vs doing the work because it pleased the Lord. We felt the burden with every letter we addressed. Every fold sown in fear, as we subconsciously prepared a resume disguised as a support letter. We were sowing in to thorny soil, just as Jesus taught in the parables of Matthew 13:22 “but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word making it unfruitful.”

What if it’s our soil?

In the traditional work setting, you would not wait for your new employer to give you 6 months advance pay before you accept the job. Yet here we were waiting on God to prove His time and His ways. He has answered prayers that we’ve asked for years, he’s flung doors wide open, and confirmed through uniting our family, speaking through scripture and providing Godly leaders and partners. He hand delivered the most beautiful job offer, where Adam and I can work side by side, doing what we are created to do: restoration.

Our children prayed over us as we printed and tossed hundreds of letters, feeling defeat and resistance in our souls. It just didn’t feel right, and it wasn’t. When it came to timing and funding, we switched back into our gears of bidding/ applying for jobs, vs walking in our calling. We confessed this to our kids, and said, “We have to redo this. It’s time to go all in and stop living in fear.” As they thanked God for answering our prayers, they praised Him for sending us for such a time as this. Adam and I wept at the kitchen table as our teenagers prayed with the faith we instilled in them, now receiving the very fruit of seeds we had sown. What are waiting for?

The timing was perfect. God is right on time. 

What if it all lined up the way we need it to?

If everything lined up perfectly, we had a fully funded account, kids were on summer break, we owned two vehicles, if the property was just a few hours away, if all the people were cheering our choices, it would require very little, if no faith. It would be like riding an escalator to the 4th floor. 

Our faith was created from years of battle, welded by the fire of our fervent prayer, built on the foundation of our marriage’s grace and redemption, and our desire for the gospel to come alive in our family. This faith has climbed those stairs, because this came from our suffering, produced perseverance, our character, and hope.

My oldest came to us several weeks ago, as he’s looking at colleges, and praying for a baseball scholarships. He said something that my soul is clinging to when my people pleasing addiction wants to well back up, “why would God give only a few of us opportunity? If he has something for you, he will have something for me.” 

What if God IS really good?

We sit together as a family and dream now, and hunger for the day to get out there and work. We are preparing our hearts for the difficulties that will certainly come. Grief that will accompany this move as well, but God shows us comfort not dread.  Adam and I, and our daughter will head out to NC after thanksgiving, utilizing the time with school still in session to prayerfully find schools for our kids. The boys will finish their semester, and join us after their finals. If needed, we will find jobs, but our belief is that the Lord will provide through others so that we can work on site full time.

Mailing the letters this week after God rebooted our faith.

We re-wrote those letters, Spirit filled, releasing the vision of The Reserve, vs listing the ways we hoped others would find us worthy of giving. We ditched that thinking, and sowed our seed into the good soil of Matthew 13:23, KNOWING that someone who hears will be abundantly blessed as resources flow through them on to this ministry. We prayed over every letter we sent out, asking God to hand pick the people he is going to use to sow into good soil with us. We are so excited now to see who God uses to flip the devils “what ifs” on their head!

Our “what if’s” no longer speak into fear. No more “what if we fail?” “What if we don’t make friends?” “What if money is tight?” “What if this screws up our kids?”

What if..

What if we see many families restored?

What if we get to be living testimonies to couples on the brink of divorce and tell them God is able?

What if we get to make the bed for the next great evangelist of our time?

What if we get to prepare dinner for a staff who will go back to stir the hearts of their city?

What if we are undercover soldiers, preparing the battle field for the Lord’s victory while others meet for counsel and worship? 

What if every painted surface of this property sparked conversation of Revelation 21:5, revealing God’s promises to make all things new? What if we build more than farm tables and aesthetically pleasing rooms? What if our family sees blessings beyond measure because we trusted our God’s perfect ways and timing?

What if. 

If you are one that God is calling to send us, and partnering with the work of restoration, click here.

Published by abbemichelle

Writer and artist, believer of all things being made new. Wife and Mother, founder of 21:5 Ministries, and Doll Design Co.

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