Here's the deal.
Starting a church from the ground up is hard.
I knew it would be.
But most of the time I go into preservation mode and pretend it's not.
I don't write about it much because I don't want to sound like I'm complaining.
Because I love our church.
I really do.
I would never want anyone to think otherwise.
But there is not a day that goes by that I do not feel inadequate, weary or fearful.
I'm not doing enough.
I'm doing too much.
I'm not focusing on the right things.
I'm not pointing people to Jesus enough.
I'm not praying enough.
Jesus can't fix them.
Jesus can't fix me.
We will burn out before we have a building.
I married a paramedic.
What are we doing??
This season has been challenging.
Three families left over the course of two months.
One moved out of the area.
Two did not.
The two that did not were part of our core plant team.
And it was hard.
And it still stings.
But I am reminded to hold people loosely.
I am reminded that church is not a party and I am not the hostess.
It's not my job to keep everyone happy.
Certain people thrive in different seasons at different places.
And that's ok.
We send them off well and do our best to maintain relationships.
But when people leave those feelings of doubt, inadequacy and discouragement are amplified.
My skin gets thicker.
And I learn.
And while learning hurts.
It is essential for growth.
Dave and I have many late night conversations.
Ministry pep talks, if you will.
I cherish them.
And God is so good.
When I am doubting, Dave is not.
When Dave is doubting, I am not.
Or I pretend I am not.
I'm sure he probably pretends sometimes, too.
We share our fears.
And at that time it's as if God whispers in my ear.
We first met Carol in a wheelchair and on hospice care.
She was very sick.
Her daughter, Pam and family attend Hope.
Last year, Pam flew across country to remove Carol from an unhealthy living situation in Tennessee.
And brought her home to stay.
And brought her to church.
I remember seeing her wheeled through the door the first time and thinking Dave would have to use more paramedic skills than preaching skills that Sunday.
She was incoherent, in pain and so very frail.
I was worried for her.
But she came every Sunday.
And over the course of months, Carol changed.
She started making eye contact.
God was healing her.
And saving her.
She is now off hospice and thriving.
And she has been introduced to Jesus.
And two weeks ago she was baptized.
And I am reminded why we do church.
To introduce people to the Man who split time.
To teach His words.
Not to please everyone so they won't leave.
Not to preach politics or advocate family choices or theological positions.
We do church to share Christ.
And to equip others to live in such a way that they can do the same.
We pray, serve and care for people like they will stay forever.
But live in the reality that they could leave tomorrow.
And all the pain and hurt and struggle is so very worth it.
When God removes a heart of stone and replaces it with a heart of flesh.
When a woman once on the brink of death now smiles and calls Jesus her Savior.
So when those doubts creep in and I'm overwhelmed.
I stop talking.
And listen as God whispers.