Marrying someone with big vision can feel like that moment a plane takes off when you close your eyes for a moment, take a deep, calming breath, and work hard to not leave fingernail marks on the armrests.
I have had a few people ask about S.'s ventures with Big Oak and I see their concern. I know they think after eight years of crazy paced youth ministry it's probably not wise to jump into starting a new business. We've had some ask how his anxiety must be now with the financial pressures and other strains of building a new ministry.
To that I must say...it's the strangest thing. It's strange that in the season that should be the most stressful, we've experienced the most peace. I recently told someone, "I don't know how this is going to turn out for us financially. Some months it seems doable and others it's completely overwhelming. But I do know that if at some point it all comes down, if we have to walk away from it because we can't make it work, we're going to be just fine. It wouldn't devastate us because for the first time our marriage is healthy, we have the same vision and are excited about moving in the same direction, our kids are healthy and thriving... and we are on our knees in prayer and focused on the Lord every day."
I wouldn't have been able to say that about our little family previously. Honestly, if I had my way I would have had some recoup time of stability, a nest egg, and other practical measures before venturing out into a vast unknown. But no matter how we tried, the Lord kept bringing us back around to this.
I told my sister last week, "it's amazing to me that every time I feel doubtful and discouraged- S. has a surge of faith and confidence in what God is doing. Then the days he's ready to throw in the towel, I'm determined that we are where we are supposed to be." That's something.
December & January were full of encouragement and financial support. February has been hard (it's not over yet!). For those dear worriers who wonder how I hold up under it all- I don't always (hold up) but I do have to say that the only thing I don't like about my husband's job is the not-knowing finances. I love every other aspect.
There have been some amazing developments with creating software that can put our devotional material on mobile devices for students. The details would take a separate blog to describe (and truthfully I'm not smart about how it all works...I'm the nerd that wrote the whole devotional with a pen and college ruled paper. I know- I'm old school.)
S. is partnering with a local church who sent their youth pastor on a few month sabbatical. The youth pastor had a similar crash & burn experience to S. a few years ago. Now S. has an opportunity not only to walk with his pastor friend, but also partner with the church in leader training, vision casting, and mentoring while his friend takes a needed rest.
We've had camp opportunities in abundance. One well known local camp has hired S. not only for speaking but asked Big Oak to give the camp a boost with marketing and networking.
It's also looking like Big Oak will put on a camp next fall for leaders and students in the area from multiple churches. The details are awesome (and as usual- slightly unconventional) but will also wait for a future blog.
This past weekend S. spoke at a camp at Mt. Baker. 3 nights of building relationships with a few youth pastors from WA, speaking 6 times to a group of 100 high school students, and a day of skiing...seriously?! This is work?! The kids, my sister-in-law Megan, and I went up on Sunday during free time to sled, drink hot chocolate, and meet some students and leaders.
By God's grace we are doing all of this and yet living a maintainable pace, taking time to play and rest, having time to bless others and eat meals together. We all work hard but we also turn it off and get to apply those great ideals of "margin" and "boundaries".
The verse this week that speaks to me on so many levels is Isaiah 43:18,19 "Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert."