Now, more than ever, I am motivated and moved.
When I first moved to Texas, it was difficult leaving home, but more than anything I was excited for a fresh start. Excited to make new friends, create new memories and find a home. Growing up, I had gone to one church for the majority of my life. During my teenage years, my church became my second home - I was there at least every day and most days I wished I didn't have to leave. I loved the people, the space and the memories that it held. So when I moved away for college, I wasn't sure if I could find a place that could fill such a big space in my heart. I looked and visited several churches in the area - all of them special in their own way, but none that felt like home to me. I finally settled on one because I felt the most comfortable there. Unfortunately, it was so large that I sort of faded into the background. You know those kinds of churches? I didn't make a single friend while I was there; not for lack of trying. I felt like I was a round peg in a square hole. I continued trying to make myself fit for about two years. By that time Elisha had made his way back to the heart of Texas and we began a search yet again, but now for a place that would appeal to both of us. We have different "preferences" so I knew this was going to be a challenge.
He had made friends in earlier years that he had heard were planting a church. They invited us to a meeting where they were discussing the future of their church - basically laying the groundwork. We went because it intrigued us, but I must admit I kept my expectations low. I can still remember being in that room with about thirty other people - trying to imagine myself as apart of them. And you know what? I felt more at home in that hour, sitting with a bunch of strangers, then I ever had at my other church in two years. It was this special moment I had with God where I felt His reassuring voice reminding me that He had not forgotten me, and there was a place for me to belong. Immediately I felt nervous, scared, worried that Elisha hadn't experienced what I had. What was I going to do if this felt so right, but it didn't sit well with him? We got in the car and I felt blood rushing to my face and I blurted, so what did you think? And he said he loved it, and I admitted that I loved it too, and we decided then and there that it was our home.
It was a strange circumstance because Elisha was a youth pastor - it was his trade so to speak. However, this church already had a youth pastor. hmmm, God. We both were certain though that this was where we belonged, so we stuck with it. Later we would come to find out that the youth pastor was leaving, and a short while later, Elisha was asked to fill the position. It was so... God. Like you know those situations that you simply cannot explain, so the only answer is... God. This was one of those times. We knew now, even more, that this was exactly where we were supposed to be.
That was three years ago. I still can't believe it's been that long. I love our Church. I love our Church because it loves people - like genuinely, in a very real way, loves people. We constantly serve our community through volunteering and helping with outreaches. We love our city. I love sharing this story because I didn't just find a church, I found a family. I found a home away from home. I found something that I believe in and fuels my passion for Christ. I found a place that I want everyone to visit. A place I know will make friends that I bring, feel comfortable and welcome. I love that. I love that so much.
This coming year we're being faced with a new challenge. For the last three years we've been holding our weekly services at a wedding venue. It's beautiful and while it's presented it's challenges at times, it has been exactly what we've needed to grow our little family into two full services. It's been an incredible journey and it's only getting better. We've been given 6 months in this facility, before we need to find a new place. Whether it's building a church of our own or buying an exisiting building - something has to happen soon. God has brought us so far in just these last three years that we have full confidence that There's More. I absolutely cannot wait for what this next year will hold. We've launched a vision campaign as we seek God in our next steps. As a Church we've been asked to individually challenge ourselves by giving above our tithe. With Elisha being on staff, we were asked to give a number that we felt God was leading us to, so that we could share what we, as a staff, were going to do. Elisha and I prayed and both arrived at one number, $5000. Now, don't get me wrong, that is not an easy number to say. I work a simple job with a simple salary and Elisha is a youth pastor. We knew this was a going to be (more than) a challenge, but we trusted God.
Elisha took our number to his weekly staff meeting and we continued to pray. The following day he came over to have dinner with me (pre marriage) and after he left he called me on his way home. He said, you're never going to believe this - he sounded really freaked out so I was nervous - he said he looked in his account and there was $2400 deposited that day. It was labeled IRS - so apparently it was a delayed tax return from nearly three years ago! Even as I write this I am crying, because God is just so faithful! Some people can call this a coincidence, but I know that this was God reminding us that if we would have the faith, that He would do the impossible. So that's exactly what we're doing.
Now, this is me just being totally transparant. I understand that God is in control and He is going to provide, but I don't for one minute believe that that means I should do nothing. I think He can use me and Elisha to complete the impossible. So, Elisha and I both have decided to live a little more frugally these next few months - no starbucks, less eating out and even taking on additional jobs. While this might seem like a drag to some, it's actually been one of the most exciting times in our lives! I don't know if I've ever been so moved and motivated towards a cause. I believe in this church and I know that the money we invest, is going towards not only our future, but the future of our someday children and to those who don't even know Him yet. And that excites me greatly!
Now, for the next six months all proceeds from the Pie N' the Sky shop will be going towards our gift. I want you to know that if you decide to purchase a piece of jewelry, you're buying so much more than a necklace or ring, you're investing in something so much bigger. So thank you. Thank you for helping me do what I love and for making a bigger difference then you know! To show my gratitude, I would love to offer 15% off your next order when you use the code "THERESMORE"
Here's the video we shared with our church; I thought you might enjoy seeing it!