Hope Found

It’s been a tough three years. Before we moved to Nashville, Jeff and I walked through a really rough time in our marriage. And then when we moved to Nashville, we walked into a school (Pioneer…see Does Jesus Care About a School? parts 1 and 2) that was in the process of a slow death and was so full of legalism that we felt like we’d been shot back in time about 10 years. Then, after all the good but difficult changes that Jeff made in the first year at Pioneer, we walked into the second year there, and because of the recession we didn’t have enough students. So every month, we didn’t know how the teachers and the bills were going to be paid. We tried many different ways to keep the school open and spent hours praying for a miracle. I found myself often putting my hope in some mystery person who was going to walk in and save the day and the school, and it didn’t happen. But in the middle of it all, Abba kept telling me that He is a God of hope, no matter what happened. And even though the school ended up closing, I began to really believe that He truly is my Hope no matter what happens with schools and situations and people.

But this summer I struggled with a lot of different things…I grieved about Pioneer closing. And I worried about what we would do about school for our children (we are currently home schooling) and then I worried about how we were going to be able to survive financially.

At one point, I became angry and fearful because I was hoping my life would be more secure…more comfortable…enough money to do what I wanted to do. I didn’t want to have to trust every day that He would provide. I didn’t want to have to even think about it. I just wanted to live my life the way I wanted to and not really depend on Abba moment by moment.

I remember hearing the story about George Mueller, who ran an orphanage, and how they would sit down to breakfast, and there would be nothing to eat, and they would pray and thank God for the food that He was going to provide, and then a milk truck would break down on the street in front of their door. This kind of crazy stuff happened a lot for them. They rarely seemed to have what they needed before they needed it. They always got enough right when the need arose. And that made me frustrated that we might have to live that way. I was fearful that my family might not have enough.

But in the middle of all this fear, Abba brought the verse to mind in I Timothy that says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” Fear always seems to push the other three out…the power, the love and the sound mind…they just seem to vanish because fear paralyzes us. No wonder “Do Not Fear” is the most often repeated command in the Bible.

I really wrestled with this. At one point, I’m not even really sure when, I threw up my hands and finally accepted whatever it was He had for me and my family. There are still fearful days, but I’m learning to hold my hands palms up and receive what comes from Him. I am learning to trust…not in my ability to be frugal, not in a job, not in my husband, not in a school, not in the church…just Him.

So here’s our modern day George Mueller story…a few months ago, one of the Nashville transit buses bumped into the back of our van while Jeff was sitting at a red light. Thankfully, Jeff wasn’t hurt at all. It messed up our bumper a little more than it already was (it already had a dent in it) but did very minimal damage. So, right when our need arose, we got a check in the mail with Jeff’s name on it. The Nashville transit bus just turned out to be one of our crazy milk trucks.

So, Jeff and I are in the middle of doing a church plant in North Nashville. Jeff has a pastor’s heart, but Jeff and I are not church planters…This is one of those weird God-things. The desire to unearth this community called North Hills Church is totally from Him. And then I ran across this a few weeks ago…

Go the lost and confused people right here in the neighborhood.
Tell them that the kingdom is here…Don’t think you have to put
on a fund-raising campaign before you start. You don’t need a
lot of equipment. You are the equipment, and all you need to
keep that going is three meals a day. Travel light. (Matthew 10)

Some days these verses feel totally overwhelming and insane. But Isaiah 43 says, “when you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you. When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down. When you’re between a rock and a hard place, it won’t be a dead end-”

Everything always comes back to Him…Jesus was sent so that we could have hope…not in money, not in jobs, not in situations, not in people, not in schools, not in churches…He came so that He could BE our Hope.


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