Sunday, September 2, 2012

Renewed Vision

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Depressed.

Discouraged.

Frustrated.

Floundering.

These are all words that could be used to describe my husband and myself over the past few months.  We seem to be in a very stagnant place in our lives.  Our church hasn't grown.  We are tight financially.  We've been asking ourselves the hard questions.  Is it time to move on to a new church?  Do we stay in the ministry? Does Dan get a secular job? 

Some of the problem came from the fact that this summer Dan worked 40 hours per week on top of trying to pastor.  You really can't do both well.  Not because it's impossible, but because he is distracted.  How can you pray and visit and prepare sermons and focus on people when every ounce of energy during the day is taken up with work?  And not just any work. 

All summer he was the supervisor of a program for teens and young adults with disabilities.  He was responsible for 5-15 people, depending on the day.  People who have disabilities ranging from developmental disabilities to Down's Syndrome to autism.  He would leave the house at 8:30 in the morning and come home mentally spent around 6:30 in the evening.

His program ended last Friday and he has been off for the past week.  On Tuesday, he begins his regular job with the same agency that will be less hours (30) and on the school schedule.  This past week has been spent praying, visiting, working on a new sermon series, and reflecting on his life and his future.  One thing we both know is that God showed up this week.

He has affirmed His call on Dan's life.  He has given us both renewed vision to reach this community for Christ.  To show people that God loves them.  That He died for them.  That He wants a relationship with them.

One of the things we are praying about is the possibility of Dan leaving his full-time job and refocusing on being a full-time pastor.  That is a huge scary step.  It would leave us trying to figure out an alternative for medical benefits since our church can't afford them.  It would also require making up the difference in income. 

Because I homeschool Emily and I need to also be available for Nathan and God has also specifically called me to work alongside my husband in the ministry, working full-time is not an option.  So we have been praying that God would show us what we should do.  We are praying and fasting about this over the next month or so and would love it if you would pray with us about this as well. 

Unbeknownst to me, Dan had asked for very specific signs that God is working here and that He will provide for us.  God showed us exactly that this week!

This week I'm so very thankful for blessings #1,166-1186.

♥ Dan being able to pray with two dear women in our church.
♥ God providing some extra income with an airport run.
♥ Someone calling and asking Dan to do a baby dedication for them.
♥ 6 ladies signing up for a Bible study.

♥ Beautiful flowers & butterflies.
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♥ A beautiful email from a friend.
♥ The gift of an unexpected outing for my daughter.
♥ Selling an apron and some tea totes.

♥ Purple bounty.
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♥ Saving $240 per month on car insurance by making a phone call.
♥ Seeing my husband's discouragement lift and the excitement back.
♥ A gift of tomatoes and eggs.

♥ Kitten hugs.
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♥ A very unexpected gift to help us through the next week with no income.
♥ An awesome first week of college for Stephen.
♥ A productive week for me.

♥ A daughter who is always willing to help.
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♥ An uplifting worship service.
♥ Time to work through these things.
♥ God's love for the world.
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and finally...

♥ Renewed vision.