Days 5-8

The last few days have been filled with unexpected adventure! We have had some amazing conversations with people in Dallas and are falling in love with the city. One of the greatest places here is Watermark Community Church. Watermark Site We have been able to experience a new class every day, all of them filled with incredible and inspiring messages.
Sunday’s message was given by a pastor clearly gifted in speaking and communicating.

He started in Galatians and asked us if we served men or God? Do we serve ourselves and fall claim to pride? Do we serve idols like alcohol or money? Or do we choose to serve God and ignore the earthly ways of those around us? He challenged us to live by this statement:

“I’m going to live according to the faith I say I have.”

If faith is such a good thing, then why are so many afraid to use it? Why do we hide it away for another day? I find that I often try to organize my life in a way so that I don’t need to use my faith. That’s silly. It’s illegal to worship in 52 countries. I live in a place where I can worship any time I want. So why don’t I do it more often?
He finished the message with the story in Daniel. Three men were being challenged in their faith and were thrown into a fire. Do you know these three men? They leaned into God, trusting that they would walk away untouched by the flames. And they did. Their faith was real. And they used it.
Monday we got to attend a ministry called regeneration- "re:generation recovery puts Christ at the center of all healing and relies solely on God’s word as its authority and counsel. We are an authentic community of Christ-followers, relentless in helping each other experience intimacy with the LORD, and are committed to glorifying our LORD through regenerated lives. At some level, we all experience brokenness. At re:generation, we believe that people can experience growth and new life by working through the healing path God has given us in the Bible. The mission of this biblically-based 12-step program is to call all people to be fully devoted followers of Christ. Our experience and prayer is that you will find healing."

There were many in the room that were suffering from circumstances far greater than my own, it was encouraging to worship together. The message was focused on #11 of the Believer’s 12 Steps. They spoke of how so many want to really feel God, and one of the best ways to do that is to suffer for Him. Not to choose to suffer, but in suffering, glorify Him. One of my favorite parts of the message was this:
God doesn’t save us from trouble. He sees us through it and uses it.
The next evening we went to The Porch, a young adults ministry led by Pastor JP, the same man who gave the message on Sunday. I was so excited to spend another night learning from him! He shared a story of a member wanting to start a ministry. The pastor asked him if he was currently living with his girlfriend, and when he responded yes, the pastor asked him to spend some more time in his Word before asking to start a ministry. I was blown away by his boldness, and I loved it. I want a pastor like that. A pastor that isn’t afraid to enforce guidelines given to us in the Bible. His story opened my eyes to my own circumstance. I am overflowing with ideas of how to serve the people around me. Kenny and I have recently been talking about some major life changes that would allow us to start a few ministries in our own home. But just because it is the desire of our hearts to do these things (adoption, foster care, missions) doesn’t mean that God is going to open those doors right now. He may need us to work on some things first. And that is a very difficult thing to admit! So…we turn our timing over to Him and commit to these 3 things while we wait:
1) Spend time in his Word- daily quiet time is great but the most important thing is learning the stories in the Bible. There is an amazing year long camp that helps you do this that we are praying about. What an incredible experience that would be!

2) Start your day in prayer and end your day in prayer- A dear friend gave us the book "How to Develop a Powerful Prayer Life" by Dr. Gregory Frizzell before leaving on this trip. It has been a wonderful resource and I highly recommend it.

3) Form close relationships with other believers- We are both going to seek out specific accountability partners as well as a mentor to help us grow and start dealing with the sin in our lives.

The last few days have been exactly what we needed. Tough conversations with each other, honesty and teachable moments with our children, and intentional time with godly people who have been willing to walk in this journey with us. My heart is heavy with desire for the life God has planned for our family, and I am so excited to see all of the dots connecting here in Texas. It’s going to take some difficult and humbling work, but we will get there, and we will have unspeakable joy!