Sunday, July 21, 2013

Talks that confirmed our journey...

This morning at our church, Summitview Community Church, the message was on Caleb's journey into the land promised to God's people. It was another great confirmation for us in so many ways. Parts that spoke to me were the fact that Caleb was bold and absolutely not afraid to do what others thought was crazy and "not the norm". I felt like it would really help everyone see some of God's very obvious messages that spoke to us as He confirmed this move....

First while Aaron was in San Diego he was waiting to hang out with his close friend Cisco and searching for a message to watch on his phone by Francis Chan...and the only one his phone would allow was this one...enjoy....

 
Another major confirmation was a blessing to us here at church. Our church had taken a two week break from teaching on Joshua and doing a talk on From Where you Sit? We not only wept through every single song Travis lead us in worship but the message brought us to tears...amazing...
 
 
This is the first message...Part 1
 
 
And that is Part 2...
 
We are and have been so blessed by our church here and every message really literally spoke to us and challenged us deeply. We are so grateful that our pastors and leaders seek to teach God' Word with no shame and such boldness for the Truth. I think we will probably watch messages online so we can keep being challenged...
 
 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Moving to California, our Journey from 2 viewpoints.

     So we are moving to San Diego California!  We are going to be attending a Christian Discipleship school called IMPACT 195 (i195.org).  The goal of this school is to grow people in their relationship with Jesus Christ so that they can impact the world for God's kingdom during these 12 months and afterwards for the rest of their lives.  Please go online and check it out if you are interested in seeing what we are going to be up to!
     Since we have made the decision to go to San Diego, time has gone by so quickly, so here is the back story from Aaron's perspective.  I have worked now for Furniture Row for almost 10 years!  I have also been married for 10 years!  So needless to say, I started with Furniture Row 3 months after we got married back in 2003.  As most of you know, we have moved from Colorado to Montana to Indiana to Michigan and then back to Colorado!  It has gone by quickly and we have had 4 amazing kids in the process.  Last year as Malachi started school full time, my heart ached to spend time with him, however due to my work schedule I would only see him around 15-20 hrs/week.  This began to make us wonder how long I would stay in my position at Furniture Row knowing fully that as my son grows, he needs a great role model.  He not only needs a father who he can admire, but one he can also have quality time with, and quantity.  So we began praying and talking about where my career path would take us and what that would look like for our marriage and our relationship with our kids.
     Another thing  that God pointed out to me was my fixation on the love of money.  Back in March of this year I had taken 1 week of vacation.  When I returned I found out that many of my employees were looking for new jobs and were not happy working with me.  I also learned that some of them felt like I was self centered, selfish and mean.  This broke my heart as I have put all of myself into my job and for Furniture Row over the past 10 years.  After seeking the Lord and asking Him what he was trying to teach me during this time, I came to the conclusion that I was focused on the love of money and not on loving God and others.  The Bible says you can serve God or Money, but not both.  I felt like God was telling me I had lost my love for Him first and others next and had replaced it with chasing the realm of success, achievements and security.
     During this time I had also been reading various books, "Not a Fan" "Radical" "Follow Me" and "Gods at War" by Kyle Idleman and David Platt.  The premise in most of these is that the God of the universe created us for a purpose, and that purpose is to live for eternal things, namely, proclaiming to others the gospel of His Son and seeing lives changed to radically follow Christ.  He doesn't want fans that sit on sidelines but followers that are active in loving Him and loving others!  I really felt cut to the heart on this one knowing that in the 10 years I have been working for Furniture Row, I have not made one disciple to follow Christ.  I had not focused on eternal things, only temporary things, namely money and providing for my family (which are not bad things, really when it comes down to it, but I had been lifting those things above my love for God and my desire for what He has for my family).  I thought to myself, if what I believe is true, and I believe what I believe, then a lot of people I know are going to hell when they die and I am saying nothing about it to anyone!  It would be like me having the cure for cancer and keeping it all to myself!  That would be ludicrous!
So Andrea and I began praying and talking about moving into the warehouse position or moving into Corporate.  The warehouse position did not open up and we came to the conclusion that going into corporate would mean a better schedule for our family (weekends off!) however the desire God has put in us would still be left unfulfilled. 
     So I had a yearly managers meeting in San Diego around 3 weeks ago.  I was only planning on visiting my dear friend from college, Cisco who has been at IMPACT for 3 years (helping start the school).  Wednesday night we spoke about what God had been teaching me and he told me how the school was doing a friend day and open house for visitors and it 'just happened' to be this Friday.  My plane ticket was flying out Thursday night.  So I spoke w/ Andrea and asked her if she thought I should stay one more day, she unwaveringly said yes.  So we changed the ticket the day of, asking for God to make it be $100 or less and it was only $88 to change flights!  We also prayed that the guy I drove down would find a ride back and he said that Wednesday night he was talking with his wife, and she was already going to be in Denver, so he had a ride!  It seemed like God was lining things up already for me to stay.  So I stayed and listened to a teaching Thursday night and 2 teachings Friday during open house.  All 3 teachings were from 3 different teachers and they all spoke about surrendering our possessions for the sake of following Christ.  God was showing me that I could die at any moment in my life (life is short) and when I die, I cannot take my house, my cars, my career, my money, my 401k with me to heaven.  When I die I will stand before the creator of the Universe and realize that what I am living for right now is merely temporary things.  The true things that I can take with me when I die are the relationships that I have helped changed to trust in Christ for their salvation and to follow Him.  Those things are eternal.  So God used a ton of other things to confirm this decision, too many to write down here.  On my way back flying home I was able to speak with a young girl named Anna and to tell her about the love of Christ. We prayed together and she downloaded a Bible App on her phone.  It was an amazing time to witness, we literally talked non-stop for 2 hours!  Afterwards, I realized this is what God made me for and this is what brings true fulfillment in my life! 
     So Andrea and I talked when I got home and we prayed.  We have decided to follow Jesus.  We are under contract with selling our house (6 days on the market), I have given my resignation at work (3 weeks left), we are selling a lot of furniture and going to have 2 garage sales since we are downsizing to a rental from a home.  We are pulling our kids out of an amazing charter school and going to homeschool for 1 year.  We are surrendering all of the money that we have put aside over the past years with my company and using it to provide for the next year of living expenses (because Cali is not cheap!).  We are excited, nervous, scared, anxious, humbled, pretty much a ball of emotions right now.  We don't know where we will live, how we will get insurance for our family (may have to work part time), nervous about homeschooling our oldest 2 while going to school ourselves.  There are a ton of details that need to be worked out!  We are confident that if the God of the Universe has made it clear to us to do this, that He will work out these details for us.  We know also that God is calling us to more than living a morally 'good' life and living in a nice 'comfortable' home in suburbia.  Surely Jesus Christ did not endure a grueling death only for us to go about our lives not ever mentioning His story so others can come to know Him and have eternal life. 
     This sounds pretty crazy, I know, believe me, I know!  Just last night I was thinking to myself, "Is this really a smart and wise thing to do?"  I mean, really, I want to follow God, but to be unemployed possibly for a year and move and do all this?  God has called me to look after my family too, am I completely crazy for doing this and worrying about how I will provide for my wife and 4 kids? 
     Here's my conclusion:
     #1 - He is worth it!
     #2 - Our God is a whole lot of crazy!  I'm sure when Joshua told his troops to march around this huge city for 7 days and then just yell at the walls and the walls will fall down, that sounds outright insane!  What General in the military would tell his troops, "okay guys, let's yell at these bricks and stone walls, and poof, they will crumble!"  Could you imagine following Joshua if he told you this....sure, God will just magically make the walls fall down!  sure Joshua, and Santa Claus is real!  It also sounded pretty crazy when Jesus told a young rich ruler to "sell everything he had, to give it all to the poor and to follow Him and he would have treasure in heaven!"  That's an outright crazy statement.  I'm sure when God told Moses to lift his staff and the waters in the red sea would just spread wide open so that thousands and thousands of Israelites could walk straight through on dry land, people thought that was crazy.  Our God is in the business of crazy.
     So that's our story from my side.  God wants us to love Him radically and love others radically.  I thank you for hearing me and reading my heart!  I'm sorry for being so long-winded!  I don't know what we'll do after school ends or where we'll go, and so I truly appreciate your prayers.  If in the next year God uses Andrea and I to save one soul, just one person to reach for His kingdom to have eternal life when they die, then this journey will have been worth it all!  I can say on that day that I meet my Savior, "Lord, I have given you all I have, I give because you first gave to me, I love you and others because you first loved me, I have finished my race, I have kept the faith."

And..on to Andrea's side of the story...Long long long ago in a far away land called Michigan...just kidding. Really Aaron has poured his heart out and prayerfully we hope that you see God's hand in all of this and His will is what we seek. For me, as a follower of Christ first and wife second I have stood beside Aaron in support of him through all his choices. Yet, I will tell you I knew when I married him we, as a couple, were made for more than selling furniture. For me the desire to follow God solely started as a single woman and of course I know that having children and then moving and getting a house brought along other distractions...some(raising our kids) are worthwhile and totally for the Lord while others I know I allowed to pull me away from what I'm made for. When we moved to Fort Collins(our 4th move) we were probably in our worst place in our marriage. The pit. We were absolutely not in agreement on anything and it was very apparent to me that things needed to change. I think that we both tried to figure out what that change needed to be over the next five years. One was Aaron realizing he found comfort in eating...and it thus put on 50lbs and so he amazingly did weight watchers and lost it all...super amazing and felt much better. Something always lingered for me though. We had been in great churches wherever we moved and jumped right into Bible studies for couples and parents and every one of them soon fell apart...where were we trying to find our security?
As a wife I have so much to learn about serving Aaron in a godly way and lifting him up daily. One thing I do believe is that the awareness of a woman and how we see things differently than men can be such a benefit...plus I believe the Lord laid a desire on my heart to pray for Aaron to find out what he is made for but most of all BELIEVE IT! After we left our last discipleship team at church we were in a rut. We loved the people in that group and loved our awesome church, Summitview, here...but still Aaron didn't want to jump into another group. We both found excuses to just fade away. And about two years ago I began to really struggle with feeling completely alone. Aside from my relationship with my sister, Rachel, here I felt that I had absolutely no one to grow with as a mom and woman. Ugh...not a happy woman.
Well...Aaron's dad had given him and his brother, Jason, the book "Not a Fan" a while back and to my surprise after Aaron had gotten back from a business trip he had read the WHOLE book. I was amazed. It then started a slow burn in Aaron to check where our giving was at and if we gave our largest sum to GOD knowing all we have is His. Then last summer we went to a great friends wedding where Aaron's old friend, Cisco, was in the wedding. Cisco and I have always spoken secretly for the past 5 years about our belief in Aaron and I always knew I could ask Cisco to pray for him and he would. He told me at the wedding he was sending a book for Aaron...I had 50% hope he would read it since he actually read "Not a Fan". Well..about a month later "Radical" came and God started really moving in his heart. Not only did he see his need to be present more as a father but as a husband and that money and things had become way too important to him. It was good...and started this excitement in me. After that I got invited by a sweet friend, Shanole, to try her discipleship team because of the book the women were reading called "Desperate" about mom's being beat down. And that lead them to invite our family in...I was nervous that Aaron would just absolutely say "NO"...but he agreed to go meet with the men hesitantly...and he came back LOVING IT! These were men who not only cared deeply for each other but for serving others and the gospel. PRAISE JESUS!
So then I faced one of my struggles to audition again to play violin for worship at church. I had been burned by the last three churches in this area and felt unworthy to play...and God just blessed it. It has spoken to me so much every time I get to worship through my violin the music Travis is lead to play those weeks have been speaking of our lives! It's been awesome!
We were blessed to take our 10 year anniversary to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico four weeks ago and that time was so precious. Not only were we refreshed without the distractions at home but God opened doors right and left for us as a couple to share the gospel and His Word with workers we met at our resort!! It was AMAZING. The day after we got home Aaron flew to San Diego on business...
 
For me, when Aaron called me from San Diego and asked if he could stay I knew we were moving. I knew it. And in fear and excitement I prayed for us.
Let me say to all of you who have known us these past 11 years of our relationship and 10 years of marriage...we finally are praying together. We had set our Savior to the side in so many ways. Yes, we put Him in the front of raising our children and kept some convictions...but we had just become great fans on the sidelines cheering Him on and hoping for those who were doing His work. Man...how sad for me to say this but it is so true. We are so excited to be back on this path and daily we are able to see and use the moments God's created to share His Word. Every time someone asks why we are moving to San Diego God's truth is spoken to them and boy does it feel AMAZING!
Yes, to many this sounds CRAZY! We will take our four children and live a life that is just not normal to the world. It's ok. What a thrill to finally show our children what we've been teaching them and trying to tell them they should be doing!!! LEAD BY EXAMPLE. And as Aaron has said and I agree if only one person comes to know their Savior Jesus through this ...HE IS WORTH IT.
Please follow us on this blog and pray for us. God is moving mightily and we really really really appreciate your prayers!