Truth be told, I don’t like to blog. You know those words that give you a bit of a gag reflex? Janelle hates the word “flesh”. Me – I hate the word “blog.” But I do think it’s important to keep our support team (and anyone else who takes notice) up to date on what we are doing throughout the residency at The Austin Stone, so every month I will be giving a sort of recap. I’ll also be doing some posts which focus entirely around books or journal articles that I’ve been reading.
I think my last post left you on a bit of a cliff-hanger, so let’s get right to it. As I explained in that last entry, Janelle and I had two weeks to find another $2100/month to be able to cover our living expenses. So here’s what happened, just as blunt and straight forward as possible:
God showed Himself faithful.
God called us here, and He provided for us. During those two weeks, we had another group of supporters come on, some supporters pledged to up their monthly giving amount, and Janelle found a job at the Center for Survivors of Torture as a part-time fundraiser, where she will have the opportunity to come on full-time in another three months. We’re not living a lavish life, by any means, but God has provided in a way that is so astounding that it’s hard to really even comprehend, to be honest with you.
Here’s the thing, just like I said in that other blog, if I had known that we would come down here and not be fully-funded and have an incredibly short amount of time to raise a large sum of money, I would not have come. I’m just being completely honest. I wouldn’t have come. In fact, I probably would have pointed to not being funded as a sign that God wasn’t leading us here.
“Oh, he’s just not opening doors up, so I think He’s calling us to wait.”
But that’s not true. He was calling us here all along, and even in all my pretense and words, I don’t know that I ever really trusted Him to provide during the time we were raising funds in Dallas before quitting our jobs, using up almost all of our savings to break leases and service contracts and move to Austin and pay brand-new deposits. And I say that because if I had known how painful it would be, I would not have come.
Matthew 7:7-11 gives a good picture of something I’ve been learning through this whole process.
You know those random things you remember from your childhood – some inconsequential afternoon riding your bike with friends, or a Sunday evening dinner with your family? One of those random stories I remember is driving to church with my parents. I asked them why I couldn’t have a Nintendo. I don’t remember what their exact answer to me was, but I do remember how stupid an answer it seemed.
“When I have kids, I’m going to give them everything they want,” I told them.
I didn’t really even grasp at the time how moronic that was. If my parents gave me everything I ever wanted, I would be dead. Let’s just be honest. Kids are stupid. Young boys are especially stupid. Can we agree on that? I spent a good portion of my holidays with family running around in a pasture with my cousins shooting BB guns at each other. I’ll call that Exhibit A.
Parents don’t give in to the every whim and wish of their children. Good parents don’t, anyway. But good parents give good gifts, and our Father God is so much more than just a “good parent”. He is the perfect Father, always present, never failing, never needing to apologize or make up for mistakes.
We asked God to provide for our needs in Austin, and he could have just let us win the lottery or something. He could have just let our Village Church home group made up of doctors and business men and women completely fund our time in Austin. But our Father is much, much better than that. Rather than let us go along, feigning faith in His provision, He took us to a place where we had no other option but to cry out “Lord, I need you to provide or we will be penniless and homeless.” Then He provided.
Now, here we are – fully funded, with an actual understanding of what it means to have a Heavenly Father who will provide for us and give us good gifts.