These past few weeks have been very interesting.
At the beginning of this year Nicole and I got married, and I really started praying about what we were supposed to do this year. So much of me wanted to just continue on in what we have been doing: documentary, traveling, ministry, outreach, more traveling. But in the midst of all my eagerness I felt the Lord pull me aside for a second and chill me out,
“Dude you just got done staffing a DTS, planning a wedding, traveling with the documentary, and now you have a wife. I think it’s time to take a step or two back.”
These words were the last thing I wanted to hear, especially considering that there seems to be so much going on for us and so much we could potentially be doing this upcoming year. But what I really felt God was trying to communicate was the word foundations.
After more praying and processing I came away with this insight and wisdom.
Nicole and I have been 100% outwardly focused for the past 3 1/2 years we have been working in Central America. They have been the most incredible and challenging years of our entire lives. We have been pushed and stretched and torn in every which way, and have grown closer to our God because of it.
Now that we are married, we really feel like He is calling us back into a place of building. As I said before, the word I’m getting is foundations, and the picture I get when I think of these past 3 1/2 years is of a big party in our house. We have been out in the party, with people all around the house, in every which room, and we have been with the people, seeing amazing things, blessing others and being blessed.
And now I feel like God is calling us to leave the party for a little bit, to come back into the bedroom, shut the door. And just be alone.
It’s not that we feel like we aren’t supposed to be out doing stuff and be in the party, but to also be able to come back into a place where we can be together, just the two of us, and not have to worry about playing the “hosts”.
So, what does “foundations” mean?
It’s about Nicole and I starting this new journey together as one. We have never been married, and we don’t know what we’re doing, and we need some time to discover how being one works. If we really are going to be in full time ministry abroad the rest of our lives, then we better have some good foundations, starting with our relationship with God, and then our relationship as a couple.
This upcoming year is one in which we are going to be adjusting our focus more inwardly, and on building a strong foundation in our marriage. We want to be people who are not just great “missionaries” but people who truly live out their ministry in their marriage, and live out the full purposes that God has for us in it. I want to know my wife, and my wife to know me, intimately, every corner of my fears, insecurities, strengths, and dreams. For us to learn how to seek the will of the Father together, for both of us, and how to relate to Him now in this new triangle of a relationship.
I know that everything I’m saying is going to take a lifetime to discover and figure out, but I want to be able to look back and know that we took time to invest in our marriage from the beginning, and started a foundation that could sustain the future plans that God has for us. Like I said before, this is not an easy thing for us to do. It is not easy to go from an outward to inward focus. Especially when it has to do with investment, and not seeing immediate fruit. This next year may be one that isn’t full of a bunch of crazy travels, or stories of ministry. But may be one of the subtle revelations of what it means to share life with another human being.
So what does that look like in the context of YWAM or missions you may ask? Well, we are sort of still trying to figure that out, but of what God has spoken to us we will share with you.
One major thing that God spoke clearly to us was “don’t be the head leader of anything.” Not, don’t be a leader, but don’t be the pinpoint of any ministries. This may sound a bit counterproductive, but in reality I think it’s God’s way of protecting us. Being the head leader of a ministry or school or project means that the weight and responsibility of it all, at the end of the day, will fall on your shoulders. It means that if a student is sick throwing up and needing to go to the hospital at 3:00 am, you are the one who has to take them. It means that when the amp for the guitars go missing, you have to figure out a way to get a new one for worship on Monday.
It’s not that I am afraid of responsibility or having that burden on my shoulders, but it’s that when those things happen, you have to sacrifice. The greater the leadership, the greater the sacrifice. And most of the time the people who get impacted are the ones who are closest to you. If I am getting calls in the middle of the night, or having to “fix” unplanned problems on the weekend, the person that is going to be affected is my wife. What I really believe that God wants to protect us from this year is just that, sacrificing our relationship. To keep our time together somewhat protected, to allow us to build a firm foundation, so when those times do come in the future (and they surely will), we will have the foundation of our relationship to fall back on, and prevent us from falling apart at the seams.
All that being said, we are really excited to see what God has in store for us this year. The idea of pulling back and focusing inward scared me at first, but I have come to find it to be an undoubtedly fulfilling and worthy cause. My prayer is that we would not miss it. That we would treasure the preciousness of newlywed-dome , which we will never have again.
Thank you to all of you who have supported and been a part of our relationship, wedding, marriage, etc. We thank God for sending you into our lives to show us and be examples for us. We wouldn’t be who we are without you!
Stay tuned for the second part of this post which will go a little more into specifics of what we are going to be doing this year.