In my last post (click here) I told you about the emotional healing aspect of our story. We had much to overcome. Today, I will attempt to tell you about our spiritual healing journey.
As a child, I attended the following churches: Methodist, Wesleyan, Church of the Nazarene, Evangelical Covenant (x 2), and by the time I was a teenager, I was attending a Baptist school, and visiting Assemblies of God (where Christian attended with his family) and full gospel youth groups in the evenings. Because my dad and I performed (him on the guitar and me, singing) I also experienced Catholic, Lutheran, and other denominations. When we got married, we began at Assemblies and then found ourselves in Non-denominational churches. A frustrated pastor once called my parents church-hoppers. Ya think? :o)
Both of us had parents in ministry in different and close-up aspects providing us with a front row seat to LOTS of interesting angles of church-ness. We were doused in rules and religion and ideas and opinions and doctrines and drama — so much so that it is astounding that we remained in the faith as it was presented to us!
At one point in our lives, we found ourselves in the maelstrom of church drama when God called us as youth leaders (!!) in the middle of a bunch of division in our church body. This timing coincided EXACTLY when the family I was growing up with imploded in a huge way. God was teaching us to worship with our eyes only on Him even when things felt the worst. We worshiped and stepped into new worlds of leadership that we never asked for. While we were a part of a movement of the Holy Spirit in our community, our whole family (even our little 8 year old daughter with a microphone) was either leading worship or teaching from the pulpit. Hundreds of lives were changing. Folks were drawn in and we were letting God hold our arms up as we simultaneously grieved and focused on Him. As Christian was being groomed to take on a pastoral role, God asked us to do another crazy thing out of obedience and quit the whole thing and buy an ancient RV and leave town for an undetermined amount of time. We lost a lot of friends and family with our decisions, and it literally came down to about 4 people that got it and saw the obedience as we packed our family, quit church, and left town. I mean, what else do you do when God says, GO? (for more on this, click here).
Little did we know that we were being trained to listen well to our Daddy’s voice as it wouldn’t be long until we would be asked to do more and more. More on this later.
Fast-forward a few years. We moved far away from everything and everyone we knew and were not released to begin attending a church again. Culturally, the church environment is VERY different here from anything we’d seen before (which is remarkable when you keep in mind the scope of what we had already seen). But that wasn’t the reason why we didn’t attend. For the better part of ten years now, we have been asked to obediently not attend church. Please understand that to our family and friends, this is unheard of. In fact, as you read this, you may be having some feelings about this. We know. We’ve heard it all. I promise. We’ve heard from folks who want to tell us what they’re sure the Bible says about it. We’ve had church folks who simply cannot associate with us — as if it were catching! :o) We’ve had pastors openly say they are envious (!!). But what do you do when God tells you something and asks you to obey it? Do you quote the Bible back to Him? Probs not.
During this time, we have absolutely decompressed from our first 30 years of religion and been drawn into the barn*. My sweet man had a vision just before this happened and we’re just now understanding it. In it, There was a barn with a pasture around it. Lots of folks were outside the fence. Our Daddy pulled us close and asked us to remain there. Now before you get all wound up, this isn’t a commentary on anyone else and what they should do or who isn’t by the barn. It’s just where He brought us. Plain and simple. And while we’ve been close to the barn, we’ve gotten quite the view on what we knew and we’ve been taught and grown as we seek only His voice and no others. It has NOT been the easy path. I promise, Sunday mornings in a corporate setting were way easier — in most aspects. But the church that has happened for us where two or three of us have gathered whether it’s around our table or standing in a parking lot in Nebraska or on FaceTime with loved ones has been so appointed — so divine. It has required some serious dialing in. Essentially, I think we got homeschooled. :o) And now, lots of you get the whole homeschool concept way more than you did before 202o hit!
We’ve cultivated deep and profound knowledge of our God outside of the noise and we wouldn’t trade it for any position, any single thing we ever experienced before we parachuted outside of the box.
That’s all for now, friends. This is post three in my little sequence that gets us to the finish line. You are starting to understand us a little more, and you’ll need to for the finish. So hang in there with me. xxxooo