As each of us is called and prepared to serve the King, we are being slowly enabled to be salt and light to a lost and dying world. This process is God’s plan for His people……
.…..But first we must come out of a world that uses chemical seasoning and artificial light.
Our family has been salted and seasoned and tanned by our Heavenly Father over the last few decades! I’m sure many of you know what I mean by that. We’ve been braised and simmered to perfection (well, not quite!) and we’re getting more and more ready to do the Father’s will! Let me give you a quick overview of that process.
Christianity came about 22 years ago for us, while we were living the ‘good life’ and enjoying our steady work and beautiful children. But then, God had different plans for us, so He brought several Christians into our life, making it nearly impossible for us to see any other path. He drew us in and caused us to see that there truly is a better way than the world would have us believe.
We made new friends, started our homeschool journey, and began living a more conservative life. But something was missing and we didn’t know it! We were loving this ‘new life’, and didn’t yet know that more was in store. We thought, I’m sorry to say, that we had arrived! Yikes, it’s hard to admit that, but it’s where we were.
And thank God, in His infinite wisdom, He had greater plans for us than to just let us bask in the sun; we were becoming like jerky without even knowing it! We were getting set in our ways, thinking that our ways were good enough. We were getting tough and inflexible.
Our Tennessee Adventure
God began to move, and as is His style, He got us way out of our comfort zone. For years He had allowed us to think we could create a better life for ourselves; then at the perfect time chose to move us into foreign territory – no, not a foreign country – but for us who lived in CA for 18 years, TN was definitely foreign! Little did we know that in such a simple move across country, He was growing us beyond what we could ever have thought possible.
Our Tennessee adventure was complete with:
- two miscarriages
- me entering into my menopausal years
- leaving my aging parents behind
- not knowing a single soul in our new state
- my husband beginning a business venture he knew nothing about
- our daughter’s first ‘courtship’
- plus lots more.
All this came along with not realizing how ‘innocent’ we really were in our Christian walk. I would consider that if a clinician were to assess me they would say I had a minor nervous breakdown, but I now know that God was simply breaking me, my will, and my flesh. It was painful, more painful than anything I’d ever known, but it was definitely for my good and for His glory.
And like God is known to do, He gave our family some wonderful blessings in and through our trial – like truly honest and patient friends and a church that loved us in spite of our lack. We still talk about that church today and how they showed us what the body of Christ truly looks like. God knew just what we needed!
With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether slave or free. Ephesians 6:7
Our Introduction To Ministry
We persevered for a time in TN, but we were like the animal in the leg trap trying to chew their limb off. We didn’t see the hand of God in our confusion, and so we left, hoping to find refuge by working in ministry. We were hoping that if we could serve others we might get our mind off of ourselves. That did work, and yet, if the heart is not truly in it, it will show eventually.
We did love working with others and for others, and yet, time with our children waned as we used up every spare minute serving and showing hospitality. Our young children’s hearts were disconnecting from us and it wasn’t a pretty picture. At the same time, our older children were involved in several courtships, which took even more of our attention from our younger ones.
But God, in His infinite Wisdom, knew what He was doing by offering us this experience and taste of serving others and showing love to those in need. But, we weren’t ‘done’ yet! We still had some marinating to do.
More Seasoning Required To Be Useful for the King!
It was time to leave the ministry and give our family our attention again, but we weren’t quite ready for adventure. We were worn out and empty. So we chose to move locally, settle in a comfortable home, and rest. Which is a good thing when you’re empty, but not a good thing when that rest goes on for five years!
It’s funny how easy retrospect is for all of us. How seeing the past, from the framework of the present, is so obvious. But in these recent years of knowing we were meant to do something, wanting it, but not discerning just what and just when, has been very frustrating. We’ve been so ready for a change.
Our Cabin Dream
For years, as a couple, we have been greatly blessed by private cabin getaways – times of retreat from the struggles, work, and decisions of life. These times have refreshed us as a team as we’ve run this race of raising children and living for God. During one of these getaways, four years ago, God showed us how we could serve Him and help couples like ourselves!
At this cabin, there were Christian books on marriage in various places in the cabin. We picked one up, The Flame, by Gary Smalley, and read it while we relaxed in the meadow, ate a candlelit dinner, or soaked in the tub. Having precious time to spare, we were able to read the whole book, uninterrupted, while being renewed and refreshed and gaining new perspective for our careworn marriage.
After this cabin getaway, we both realized that this was ‘the’ something we could do for others.
But remember, that was four years ago! In those four years, we’ve struggled with procrastination, frustration, feelings of insecurity (“what if we make another Tennessee mistake?”), and on. But God is constantly growing, maturing, and making us ready for His use. He was seasoning us to be ready for our next adventure!
Now enter into the present with me……..