Wednesday, August 8, 2012
If you would have asked me a year or two ago if I felt like God was ever going to say "yes" to our family ever again, I would have said "No way."
It was just 6 months ago, as I watched my father slip away from this world, his body riddled with fast growing cancer, that I wondered why tragedy struck our family once again. I questioned God's faithfulness us, and wondered why such awful things kept happening. I begged Him for a season of rest.
It's been a long few years of closed doors, no's, grief, and anxiety. It's been a long few years of waiting, often times impatiently, for His promises to become reality.
I felt a little bit like the how Israelites must have felt, wandering in the wilderness for 40 years, waiting for the Promised Land. Trial after trail. Waiting and waiting and waiting some more. Moaning and begging for God to end the suffering, and trying to keep focused on His promises.
Did you know that we named Joshua after Joshua 1:9?
It says, "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."
In Joshua chapter 1, God commissions Joshua to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land. After 40 years of wandering the wilderness, Moses, the leader of the Israelites died, and Joshua was chosen by God to take His people into the the land that was promised for them.
God promised that He would always be with Joshua and his people. He would never forsake them, as long as they obeyed His commands and didn't turn away from God. This command to be courageous was given to Joshua just as he was getting ready to assume command of the Israelites to lead them into the promised land- a job that no one would really want because of the hardships and responsibility.
When we found out that I was carrying a very sick baby in my belly, Shane and I thoughtfully and carefully considered his name. We wanted something that would have meaning. Something that meant strength and faithfulness.
We felt like God placed the name Joshua on our hearts. We heard Him say to us, over and over, trust me and I will bring you to the Promised Land. So, we named him Joshua, knowing that we would struggle and wander in the desert for a while, but also trusting and believing that God's promises were true and that He would bring us peace. We felt, deep down in our souls, that God was going to use Joshua in some way, to bring Glory to Himself in a mighty way. We had no idea how hot, dry, and miserable our desert would be, but we humbly accepted His will for us and tried to remain as faithful as we could.
Even though we have not struggled and wandered for 40 years, we have been in a desert. Our lives have been dry- longing for spiritual nourishment. We have been wandering blindly through, what has felt like, a dark room, grasping at anything that felt like a switch to bring light to the dark and terrifying lives. We have been waiting for God to lead us and provide us with a very clear and tangible YES.
We have received our yes. We tried our hardest to not turn from His ways while we were wandering and waiting for Him, and He fulfilled His promise to our family.
He has brought us to a new church home.
Havest Bible Chapel Fort Wayne is a brand new church plant in Fort Wayne. A friend of mine sent me a message on Facebook telling me that they were opening a new Harvest Church in Fort Wayne, and she encouraged us to check it out. I'm so thankful for her willingness to follow The Spirit's leading and tell us about it. We immediately contacted the pastor and started attending. We knew after just one service that this was where we were supposed to be.
If you have followed our journey for any length of time, you know how much I have struggled with church. It has felt cheap, fake, and just plain wrong since Joshua died. Worship has become extremely hard and deeply personal, and corporate worship has made it so hard for me to feel connected with God.
Harvest has been a good fit. It's like a do- over, it's been a way for us to meet new people who knew nothing of us and start completely fresh. It's given us a chance to be real and open about our struggles and be surrounded with people who don't have answers but are willing to come along side us and support us. It's given us a chance to listen to other people's struggles and come alongside them and support them. It's a place that will challenge us to grow and serve. It's a place that we have decided to call home.
We are right on the verge of our Promised Land. God is leading us and we can tangibly and finally SEE His work displayed in our lives. We have come out of the season of no, into a beautiful season of yes.