A few weeks ago, Rhett and I celebrated our two year anniversary of living in New Hampshire. Two years ago, we were excited and nervous in anticipation for our cross-country move. We had no idea what was in store for us. We knew we were being obedient to God, but I think fear and hope can, and often do, exist in the same hearts.
As we were trying to figure out what the heck we were going to do after graduation, I spent some time practicing breath prayers. Breath prayers are just simple, repetitive prayers we get to pray in tune with our breathing. One of my favorites is Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner. I pray that one a lot. During this season, I also prayed that He would do above and beyond all I can ask or imagine. My breath prayer came from Ephesians 3, where the apostle Paul prays that we might grasp the depth of God’s great love for us before saying “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen.”
I wasn’t sure what to pray for or what we even wanted, so I just asked God to do immeasurably more than what I could ask or imagine. Y’all, that is exactly what He has done! When we look back on these last two years, all I can think is WOW. And THANKS. Thank you Jesus for choosing us to be the ones ministering here, in this time.
These past few years have ushered so much growth into our lives. We’ve grown as people. We’re learning to be generous, to live with open hands and open hearts and to apologize often. We’ve grown as a couple; we confess and serve and ask questions and support one another in ways that we can understand. We’ve also grown as ministers. We have preached sermons, led worship, created and executed LOVE603 events, discipled teenagers and adults and walked with families through seasons of joy and suffering. These aren’t things we’ve done out of our own capacity, but through the abundant grace of a good God.
[Pausing for a minute here because I have to tell y’all WHAT JUST HAPPENED. So I’m sitting and typing this all on my laptop at Bonhoeffer’s, a local coffee shop, and I have earphones in because I’m simultaneously listening to a podcast. Basically, I’m here looking busy and preoccupied and I’m also waiting to meet a friend, a girl who’s in college, for coffee. I just came early to get some work done. So here I am looking all busy in a very not crowded coffee shop and a woman who I’ve never seen before comes over and asks to sit with me. I say “Sure” and take out my earphones. She asks if I’m in school around here and I say no and then she proceeds to tell me all about her college aged son who goes to the same school as the friends I’m waiting for and is really struggling to make friends. Apparently he’s super friendly but is from LONDON and hasn’t lived in New England very long and has been blown off by people multiple times. When my friend arrives, she continues telling us about him and gives my friend his number so she can reach out. [[Yes I know this sounds strange]] We tell her that we’ve met most of our friends through church and she’s like “I would love for him to be involved in a church!” We invite her and give her Movement’s info and we text her son to invite him to our small group. He had class but who knows where this could go! She said she just thought I looked friendly and she felt comfortable approaching me. Pray for Neil, y’all, and SEE WHAT I MEAN? This Spirit is moving here in wild ways.] And now, back to the rest of the blog:
We’ve met the most phenomenal people. Our friends Abby and CJ have shared countless meals, laughs and tough conversations with us. Our MovinGroup has prayed with us and helped us see Jesus more clearly. Our StaffTeam teaches us how to minister authentically and lead with wisdom. Brad has hosted us in his home; Mark and Amanda don’t mind that I drop by unexpectedly; Mackenzie was willing to come over and sit in bed with me even though I was sick and covered in tissues. Ben and Carson go get tacos with us, Kaleigh is one of my fave breakfast dates, Marissa’s example has deepened my prayer life and Charlotte shows me how to worship, even when despair threatens everything. These are seriously just a few of our people; there are too many more to name. Just know that we are blessed beyond measure with family here. Our sweet biological families may live miles away, but God has shown us over and over that we are not alone.
Maybe it sounds silly, but I feel like we’ve just been supporting characters in the wild story of these last two years. God is the one who is actually interesting and captivating and worth listening to here. He’s the Author. He’s the brilliant creator of the Kingdom that we get to help bring. We are so thankful for the part that you’ve played, too. Whether you’ve prayed for us, written us encouraging words or given of your finances, this story would not have been the same without you. Jesus used YOU to do more than we could ever ask or imagine and we praise Him for you.
As we look to the future, we again are excited and nervous! We’re staying on as staff members at Movement Christian Church with the plan to be part of a team that plants a church in New England in the next few years. While we’re no longer living on financial support, we do ask that you continue praying for us in this journey. We’re still venturing, every day! Please pray for us as we take steps in the direction of church planting. Pray that we might have wisdom, discernment, clarity and unity. Thank you!
If you have any questions or stories, we would love to hear from you. We love you deeply. Thank you for being with us for these past two years– we look forward to many more together.