Oct
24

running with the Lord ~ part 4

Today is the last post in a series sharing what the Lord has been doing in our family over the last year.  It’s been quite a journey!  If you haven’t had a chance to read the first three posts, you can find them here, here, and here.  I’ll warn you, grab a cup of coffee and get comfy!  You may be sitting for a bit :)  Here’s the recap:

 Branden and I have been married for a little over 12 years!  In that time, we’ve lived a pretty normal life, working and serving, having kids and moving a few times, nothing really out of the ordinary.  But for as long as we’ve been together, we’ve also prayed about starting a company, a ministry that would provide live children’s programming for schools, libraries, churches, and whoever else would have us!  Over the years, we’ve prayed and talked, written things down, made plans, we would dream really, but with no idea how or if it would ever become anything real.

Last December, Branden lost his job.  A difficult and stressful situation with the job he had had, now came to an end, and left us full of anxiety about the future.  By May, it had been six months of job hunting and dead ends.  Reluctantly, Branden filled out paperwork and started receiving benefits from unemployment.  At about that same time, the Lord began to speak to us about actually taking steps towards this company we’d been praying for so long about!  He gave us shows to write, scripts and characters and sets, and an urgency to move forward.  He would remind me daily of things He had spoken to us over the years, including this verse, 1 Corinthians 1:27 which says, “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.”

That is what we were, what we are.  We had come to the end of ourselves.  Every effort we had made to make things happen or even secure employment had proven unfruitful.  It had been a long, painful season of choosing to trust the Lord when it felt like maybe He had forgotten us.  The Lord had brought us to a place of complete dependence, and now, in our humility, He would begin to stir us up for something new.

When I left you last, it was the middle of September and Branden had just made a decisive move to wholeheartedly pursue this ministry the Lord was speaking to us about.  Up until then, he had gone back and forth between the stability of getting a normal job and starting this company, which would mean truly trusting the Lord to take care our needs.  It had been a roller coaster ride of discouragement and excitement, difficult conversations and lots of prayer.  Now, finally, it  looked like we had turned a corner.  Branden had turned down a job offer and jumped with both feet into whatever the Lord would call us to!  We had already begun to work on a show, but now we were both motivated and excited!  We were making progress and we were on the same page.  It seemed crazy that all we’d been praying about for so long, could actually happen!

Two weeks after Branden turned down the job, he received an audit letter from the unemployment office.  They were requesting information for every job he’d applied to over the course of 4 weeks.  Branden filled out the information completely and put it in the mail.  Then, we braced ourselves.  For several months, his unemployment benefit had been helping to pay our bills and provided us a sort of safety net as we teetered back and forth on following the Lord wholeheartedly with this company.  Now we had finally said “Yes!” to Jesus, and there was a chance that safety net would disappear.

That weekend, at church, we studied Nehemiah 11:1-2 which says, “Now the leaders of the people settled in Jerusalem, and the rest of the people cast lots to bring one out of every ten to live in Jerusalem, the holy city, while the remaining nine were to stay in their own towns.  The people commended all the men who volunteered to live in Jerusalem.”

We’d been studying the book of Nehemiah and the life of this man who heard the Lord’s call and left everything to follow God’s heart.  He fought and worked alongside his fellow citizens to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem which had been left in ruin.  Now the walls were built, the gates were hung, and it was time to decide who would occupy the city.  Jerusalem, unlike it’s newly renovated walls, was still in pieces.  The inside of the city had been destroyed, and it would be up to these new residents to rebuild it.  What a challenging task!  No wonder the people drew lots and commended any volunteers!

Our pastor spoke about hearing the Lord’s call, counting the cost, and following Him.  I remember taking Branden’s hand as our pastor would reiterate that obeying Jesus requires much, that God doesn’t hide the cost, but calls us to evaluate it thoroughly before agreeing to the task.  In the margin of my Bible I wrote, “Count the cost; follow the Lord.”

Early that Monday morning, Branden received a call.  It was a man named Ernesto from the unemployment office (interesting :)  Branden took the phone call upstairs as I was doing school with our boys in the dining room.  I could hear his muffled voice behind our bedroom door, my anxious heart awaiting the verdict.  Finally, he came down.  “They’re suspending my benefit,” he said, trying to force a smile.

“Until when?”

“At least six weeks, but up to twenty.”

We talked a little more about what Ernesto had said, which wasn’t much.  This was it.  This is what counting the cost looked like.  Would we trust the Lord and go forward with what He was calling us to, even with no safety net, no security of our own making?

The week that followed was hard.  Branden and I would go back and forth.  He would have these moments of overwhelming anxiousness and I would remind Him of all the ways God had given us direction.  Then there were days where I would just cry, for no other reason but this heaviness, the weight of where we were.  It felt like we were in the furnace once again, the Lord in His wisdom looking to purify us from any trust we have in ourselves.  What a painful process!  We would sit together and pray.  There was nothing else we could do.

The Lord would speak to me that week, not soft words of comfort or concern, but of urgency, to move forward, to do the work!  There was no time for sitting in discouragement or pity.  He was clear – it was time to focus, there was something He was calling us to do!  And He was right.  There were so many things we were in the middle of now – graphics and creating a website, set and puppet building, songs we were writing, scripts and object lessons; there was no time to sulk!  The Lord would remind me – this is His work!  He had been going before us, connecting us with people, opening doors, and whether we fully realized it or not, it was Him who had been taking care of us all along!  He had proven himself again and again.  Would we not trust Him now?

On October 14th (yes, that was less than two weeks ago!) we got word that a school had agreed to have us do an assembly!  This show we’d been building was almost finished and now we had a deadline.  It was time to get things done!  Branden and I resumed our work, maybe with more motivation than ever before.  I finished writing skits and he continued to build.  Day by day we made progress and got things ready.

I’m excited to say that that school assembly is actually tomorrow!  Friday, October 25th, our company will do it’s first official show :)  Part of me is nervous, but most of me is excited and ready to take this step forward with the Lord!  I wish I could say that I knew what was next, that we’ll be doing fifteen shows a month by January or even that this is what we’ll be doing for forever, but in my experience, the Lord doesn’t usually share the “big picture” with us.  He calls us to faith, to seeking and finding Him, obeying day by day, hour by hour.  He is our only security!  I have seen His faithfulness, His goodness and His provision.  I have seen His Shepherd heart, proving His trustworthiness in the depths of my doubt.  We do not know His plan, but we know Him, and that where He leads, He himself will go with us.  We are running into the unknown, but we are running with the Lord, and He is enough.

…..

Before I end this post, I wanted to share a few things about our new company :)  Inspired by 1 Corinthians 1:27, the verse the Lord would give us again and again, we decided to call the company Wit & Folly Productions!  “Wit” meaning clever, smart and amusing; “Folly” meaning foolishness or silliness.  We pray that the Lord would use puppets and storytelling, simple songs and skits, things that seem like foolishness to the world, to share His message of pursuing love and redemption, to make Himself known!

We are in the process of finishing up our website (exciting!!) and will launch it within the next couple of weeks (I’ll definitely post it here, once it’s up!)  In the meantime, you can follow us on Facebook here!  We’ll post updates and news and try to keep you in the loop.  Any liking and sharing is greatly appreciated :)  Also, as things get rolling, we’ll be putting together a newsletter that will go out every couple of months.  If you’d like to sign up to receive it, please send an email to info@witandfolly.com with the word “Newsletter” in the title.  And if you are somehow connected with a school or library or church that might be interested in hosting Wit & Folly for a show, please please please let me know!

Also, even though you won’t be able to come to our school assembly tomorrow, you can see us at Calvary Chapel Aurora’s Harvest Festival on the 31st!  The event is from 5-9pm with free games and candy for everyone!  Branden and I will be doing three shows in the Agape Room.  The address for the church is 18900 E. Hampden Avenue, Aurora, CO 80013.  Stop by and say hello!

The only other thing I would ask you for, is prayer.  Pray that we continue to know the Lord’s voice, that we would be faithful to all He calls us to, and that we would be hidden in Christ, making the most of every opportunity He places in front of us.  If He will use us, we want to be found faithful!

I lied, there’s one more thing I want to ask you.

I was reminded the other day of Ephesians 2:8-9 which says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.  For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

It may not feel like it, but God has a plan for you.  Life can be impossibly hard.  Why would a God who loves me allow such pain? you might ask.  God didn’t create the difficult circumstances in our lives, but He did allow them.  The result was that we turned to Him and we grew to know and trust Him!  His plan for you is grace, and it’s life in Jesus, a life of relationship with Him and of peace.  Not the temporary high that comes from submerging ourselves in activity or substance or even relationships, but a real peace that comes from knowing that there is a God whose love compelled Him to give all he had for the chance to be with you.  And if He would do that, He will not forsake you now.  His desire is to walk with you day by day, making your heartache bearable and your darkest seasons a testimony of His faithfulness.

If you are in a place of recognizing your need for Him, God is not far away.  The Bible says that, “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”  That’s all it takes :)  That we would realize our need, accept His grace and forgiveness for our sins, and trust in Him.  If you call on Him right now, He promises to hear you.  If you want more information or just need someone to talk, you can call Calvary Chapel Aurora at (303) 628-7200.  There are people there ready to pray and talk with you.  You can also email Branden and I at info@witandfolly.com.  We’d love to talk with you and get you connected with resources in your area that will help you in your walk with the Lord.

And if the Lord has been speaking to you about something, if He’s been calling you to trust Him more or step forward in a direction, go!  He is good and His love for you is immeasurable!  I am confident that those who trust in Him will not be put to shame.  He is for you not against you, and His heart is to run with His people!

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