Nearly fifteen years ago, I stood with trembling knees inside a church nestled among the flowing mountains of Franklin, North Carolina. I looked into the soft brown eyes of a girl who wanted to spend the rest of her life with me. When she spoke the words “I will”, my heart skipped several beats. It was the beginning of a journey that had been predestined before the very foundations of the earth were ever set into place.
A journey stocked full of ups and more than its share of downs, but one that has plodded steadily along. We’ve endured some immensely difficult times, as well as shared in some of the most joyous moments. Marriage isn’t a destination to seek after. It’s a lifetime of growing.
Recently, we experienced a life change like no other. For almost four years, we had immersed ourselves in a youth ministry based out of Charlotte, NC. It was a 24/7, 365, full throttle, non-stop, warp speed kind of lifestyle. We formed incredible relationships with both the youth and some amazing volunteers who were involved. As awesome as it was being a part of ministry in the depths of inner city Charlotte, our hearts began to feel troubled. While 100% of our time was focused on the youth and families of the ministry, what was happening with our own children? Our marriage. Our relationship with God. We didn’t feel God would bless us with a spouse and children, only to neglect them. A fifteen minute devotion at the end of each night was just not cutting it.
You can feed the poor, shelter the homeless, and take care of orphans and widows, but still not have an intimate relationship with Father God.
All of those are vital, much needed, and part of the Gospel, but if they are merely performed through works, and not by a leading of Holy Spirit from a love motivation, then it’s all worthless. I Corinthians 13 paints a clear picture of what true love is.
There seems to be a push in this generation for everyone to quit their jobs, sell all of their possessions, and move to some long forgotten country or into the hard-pressed areas of inner city USA. God is indeed calling people to do that. There is no question. He’s just not calling everyone.
We don’t need to join a church, ministry, or any religious organization in order to live out the Gospel. Our lives, each and every day, are a ministry to those around us. As long as we are truly born again and become love. We need to seek God first and foremost above everything else.
If our relationship with Him is not on point and rooted in complete denial of self and love for our Father, how can we possibly offer anything to a lost and dying world?
We can’t blindly follow leaders, preachers, and well-known men/women of God. We are commanded in the Bible to test everything. A couple examples are 1 John 4:1 and I Thessalonians 5:21. I feel that too often we get so wrapped up in the aura of our leaders, we forget they are not our ultimate authority. God has placed them in our lives for a reason, maybe even for a period of time, but He is our Father. He loves us like no one on this earth ever could. He doesn’t demand our loyalty in exchange for love. He is the One who breathed life into our dust-derived bodies. He already decided our value and worth when He sent Jesus to hang on a cross.
So here we are, once again nestled deep in the heart of the Smoky Mountains. This is where it all began for us. Where we met, got married, and had our first child. We are completely at peace knowing we are following the lead of our Heavenly Father, no matter what people may say or think about us. We look forward to the circumstances, encounters, and relationships that God will bring across our path. We will spend every moment in sync with the One who created us to live out the Gospel.
Even though we know our journey is far from over, we rest securely in the arms of Papa. We seek His face and desire to know more of His word. We drop to our knees in the secret place and join with Him in communion.
We follow Him one moment at a time.
He has brought us Full Circle.