Can I just say—I am so excited for what God has done, and what he is about to do. The story I’m about to tell you is one of God’s faithfulness, one I haven’t told anyone. But it’s also a story that needs to be told.
In October 2015, our pastor gave a sermon titled “Joshua’s Farewell Speech.” It was one that touched my heart and drove me to pray. In the application section of the commentary for the sermon (the commentary consists of extensive notes our pastor has been giving us as we have studied the Bible together in a multi-year series called God With Us), our pastor wrote:
If you are the head of a household, you must set the spiritual direction of the home. Create the environment for others to experience the one, true God. Lead the family in Bible reading and prayer; participate fully in the work, worship and life of the Church; set the example of what it looks like to have a real relationship with the living God. Don’t let your family drift spiritually. Be like Joshua: point the way to loving and serving God!
This note broke my heart. As the wife and mother, I knew the place of spiritual head of the household belonged to my husband (as much as I sometimes wish otherwise—I have a control problem. But that’s for another post). But I also knew, deep in my heart, that he was not ready for that place. He couldn’t set the spiritual direction described in this note, because he wasn’t there himself. In the margins of the commentary, I wrote out a prayer that I kept between God and myself until this day: Lord, I pray you turn my husband into this man. Until then, I pray that you will give me the ability to do this for my family. Thank you. I love you.
When we pray a sincere prayer like this, and continue praying it, God moves. And God moved, in the most incredible way. One that constantly reminded me of this prayer, tested my resolve to keep praying it, and glorified—and continues to glorify—God.
Shortly after I began to pray this prayer, my husband began to experience what was never officially diagnosed, but only can be described as, panic attacks. Anxiety. A lot of it. What I can write here will not ever fully capture what he and I both went through as he struggled through it (nor would he want me to be able to), but I remember trying to run on the treadmill and instead ending up on my knees, sobbing, singing in worship and praying my heart out to God and pleading for this to help him, to change him, pleading for help and strength to get through it because I just. Couldn’t. Do. It. And amazingly, miraculously, gloriously, the deepest aches and changes that my husband experienced were spiritual. He turned to God for help and has never looked back.
Since then, so many things have changed. My husband got a leadership position at work and that freed up our time to join small groups. I started to serve in the production team at church and he followed within months. He began to hunger and thirst for knowledge and understanding of God’s word, and began taking classes, listening to and watching sermons online, and is now being discipled by one of the pastors in our church who takes the time out of his schedule each week to meet with my husband and one other man for a Bible study. He talks to his friends at work about God, the Bible, and prayer more than I ever have—to me, his approach to this seems fearless. I won’t pretend that things are perfect—they aren’t—but the way God has moved in and changed my husband’s life, and our lives, is amazing.
And I am excited to see what God is about to do. So. Excited! Our church recently rolled out a financial campaign to fund renovations that will allow us, at both of our church campuses, to better serve our community. It involves building renovations that will invite people in during the week—a playscape, coffee shop, an auditorium the city can use, better parking—and involves going out to reach more communities, in church plants and/or additional campuses. And they were asking for a two-year financial commitment to help support the campaign, which they’ve put a lot of prayer into. Two years of giving above and beyond what is normal for each family.
From the beginning, I have felt the pull to be part of this, to be all in. Financially, but also with my abilities if only there is a place for me in God’s plan. So I’ve been praying about how to make this work financially, and I’ve been convicted about the fact that when I spend money, I’m spending God’s money, not my own. And I’ve been working on being wiser in my spending. But I wasn’t sure what my husband would do. He’s in charge of the money—he has always been better with it than I have been—and he has been increasing our giving over the past couple of years without my prompting. This time, I did say we should give to the campaign but left how much up to him. He’s been worrying about it, but I just reminded him we need to be wise and pray, but also trust God to provide.
He surprised me, and God did too. This weekend was the weekend for commitments—and my husband, home sick with the flu (the real flu, although we all got immunized), gave me a number to write down and turn in. A number above and beyond what I had been thinking, one that surprised me even more given that he’s now worried about running out of vacation days within the next few weeks since he’s been off for his mom, for snow days, and for illness—a real worry for the man who worked 364 twelve-hour days the first year that I met him, and would rather save up his five weeks’ vacation so he can get paid for them at the end of the year than take the time off to rest or travel.
God is going to do amazing things these next few years. He’s just proven it to me by working—again—in my own heart and my husband’s. I can’t wait to see the many ways he moves going forward, even just in terms of helping us rely on him to meet this commitment. I can’t wait to see what’s next.
I met my running goals for the week, and my friend and virtual running buddy worked on hers today, too! Get the latest running news through this week’s run-down and join my virtual running club by setting some goals of your own and being my virtual running buddy.
God’s blessings are too numerous to count, but that shouldn’t stop us from acknowledging them. You can read about the ones he’s brought to my attention this past week through the Daily Blessings Menu on the left.