Cheers to the Lord! (Don’t worry. It’s sparkling grape juice.)
I wanted to let you in on the generosity of God through His people and to announce that every bit of that $8000 I needed to go through the training has been raised! The Lord has been so kind to me through this process of learning to walk forward in faith (even when it doesn’t seem to make sense).
I’d like to share with you a snapshot of the journey, but for more details, check out this post.
Back in May of last year, I first heard about Parakaleo, the program which provides intentional training for planting wives. I sent them a message explaining that I’d love to get involved, but that the money and distance would be huge blocks for me. We chatted back and forth for a few months, but the idea never left my mind. As autumn approached, I was encouraged to check out a pilot network available online, leaning wholly on the Lord’s provision for the $600 fee. When I again pointed to finances as an obstacle, the founder of Parakaleo asked me, “Can you pay $50 for registration and then walk together with your virtual group believing that money will come and taking steps of faith that they might encourage you to take?” If she was willing to chance not getting that extra $550 from me, I could chance seeing what God would do.
And oh, did He do.
Riley was enthusiastically for it. So we started researching, took a trip to Philadelphia to check out the overall program at an event they hosted, and decided to go all in. This would be an $8000 adventure in trusting and following, and it was so public. My family and friends, our church, the Facebook world: everyone knew, everyone would have a front-row seat to observe my failure if things didn’t work out with the fundraising. And trust me, for a girl who deeply longs for respect, that was terrifying. But when you feel God pulling your heart to something, good luck trying to shake it. (See Jonah for more details.)
Now, not even close to a year later, I’m singing the praises of a God—the only God—who provides. And not just minimally, but immeasurably more than all I could ask or imagine. I even have extra (which will be spent pampering the local church planters’ wives on their birthdays/ anniversaries)!
The online network group has just wound down, and although it’s only the first piece of a five-part program, I’ve already learned so much. Riley and I were chatting over dinner last month about how much I’ve grown in the past year. He mentioned that he really thinks Parakaleo is the best thing that’s ever happened to me apart from Jesus. I know that sounds dramatic, but guys, it’s true. This ministry has been a massive gift from God.
The biggest change that’s come about is a bigger cross in my life; I’ve learned that the gospel expands as a Christian matures. My identity has become more solid and robust, while fear begins to lose its grip. I’m figuring out how to expose pride and unbelief in the middle of my everyday situations. There’s a muchness to Christ that I didn’t see before. As I learn, I teach. I communicate these concepts (imperfectly) to other planters’ wives and to Riley, who can then use them as sermon illustrations or counseling helps. They also find their way into my posts, so you’ve (hopefully) been impacted by this program, too.
I’ll be heading out to Charlotte early tomorrow morning for part 2 of the program: what they call “basic training.” I’m so excited—a little nervous, but I know God has good things planned.
Because of God’s grace and His people’s willingness to say yes, my marriage is healthier. My relationship with the Lord is sturdier. My work with other church planters’ wives has direction. This is an inside-out process that starts with my heart and then expands to those around me, and then to their worlds and ministries, and then to the world at large, on and on through the generations until Jesus comes. This is just my story. How are you asking God to provide for you?
Won’t you lift a glass to the One who will supply every need of ours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus?