The Promise Inside

by Bethany

I’m going to let you in on a little secret, because I always want to be real with you: Our lives are not picture-perfect. It’s a shocker, I know.

Since we took the step to become “church planters,” (big, impressive voice) everything has fallen right into place…just not into the places we had in mind. 

We knew this would be an intense learning process, so it’s not like God went all Jehovah Sneaky on us. Growth was definitely on our agenda. But we are discovering that the training plan God knows is best doesn’t look quite like what we had pictured (does it ever?). It’s just the Potter’s wheel, carefully disguised as life.  

It’s moving in with your parents when you’ve been on your own for a couple of decades. 

It’s your Babywise one-year-old sleeping through the night four times in a month.

It’s flu the day before Thanksgiving, broken water heaters, and toppled Christmas trees.

It’s a full work day and a wallet that is not so full. 

It’s being humbled, and remembering that you don’t have it all together. 

It’s a time of spiritual rest and reprogramming. 

It’s realizing that you suffer from chronic wanting-to-meet-people’s-expectations, and that it can’t stay that way.

It’s more simplicity.

It’s unexpected words of encouragement from brothers and sisters.

It’s provision, just the same. 

And maybe best of all, it’s feeling your courage swell as you come alongside new friends who are believing God for more when it’s not easy.

So, there I was in church Sunday morning, with questions in the back of my mind like, “Are we doing it wrong?” and “Will these distant dreams really ever happen?” and “Why hasn’t God provided a job that will make ends meet?” And Pastor Eric began to talk about Mary. 

There she was, with her teenage hormones, in a podunk town, in a land oppressed by a foreign government. Nobody had heard from God in 400 years. An angel appears and tells Mary the grand plans — God is going to place something (Someone!) in her that will grow, and when He comes forth from her, He will change the world. 

When Mary submitted to God’s plan, she was filled with joy, but her life couldn’t have been easy from that point on. What soon began happening to her didn’t make sense to anybody. She tread in unknown territory. It must have been painful and exhausting. Her life plans were disrupted. Did she ever question if she had imagined the whole thing? When her neighbors gossiped as she walked by, I wonder if her faith faltered. Did she feel alone? Misunderstood? Afraid of what the future would bring? God was faithful to His promise, but it looked like Mary’s life was a mess. 

So, this walking-with-God thing…It’s not glamorous, and it doesn’t always make sense. Jesus Himself said that plainly. We may not know clearly what is ahead, but that doesn’t mean we are headed in the wrong direction.

I don’t pretend to know how Mary felt, and it seems a bit silly to compare our situations. I have a long, LONG way to go before I can say I really know what it means to sacrifice. But this I cannot deny — God has placed Someone in me Who fills me more and more, and, coming forth from me, He will change the world. He IS changing the world. 

God lived inside Mary for 9 months. God lives inside me for a lifetime. 

And in light of that truth, (do I dare believe it?) despite the mess, the obstacles, the questions…despite the mistakes I know we’ll look back and realize we made, God has planted someTHING in us — this dream, this vision, this passion — that He will grow in us, and, when He brings it forth, He will use it to change the world.

Thanks for joining us on this adventure!