Lent: Day 18

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For Lent I committed to a practice of daily writing. This is my Lenten journal: a practice toward resurrection. 
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This morning I received a meaningful gift. An email containing a story; words offered as healing balm. A confession in the middle of Lent…leading toward resurrection. 

It’s impossible for me to think of March 1st without remembering. I am grateful the story continues to be told…to remind us, and our children, of the God who provides. 

Today I confess I needed to read these words. It was more than a gift to me. I needed to hear them. To know that the story is being told. To remember. 

I copied this email into my journal today. Thank you for the gift. 

As our guts churned, 09/01/12 the bank graciously gave us six months to figure out a solution to our decreasing reserves and allowed us to pay interest only on our multi-million dollar building loan. The clock was ticking while the daily news reported how many people were losing their homes while the real estate bubble that was supposedly too big to fail was failing and we were discussing trying to sell our building in an impossible market. I love how God loves the impossible. Our loan deadline was due 03/01/13. Our reserves were all but gone. Hours had been spent pouring over the books to keep our head above water, days were spent in prayer, cleaning teams labored to keep the building looking its best, days that turned into months were spent desperately seeking connections to find a potential buyers of the building located at 601 NW Libby Ln. 

Tomorrow we celebrate an anniversary of yet another one of God’s “impossible” miracles at new beginnings. I’m still not sure why we had a realtor, we joked that he owed Shane Ash at the minimum a steak dinner as he was the one who actually spent months finding and talking to prospective buyers, showing the building, carrying the emotional toll as our leader & shepherd and was instrumental in the actual sale of the building. On 03/01/13. THE day that our loan was to be called. God is seldom early, but never too late, His timing is amazing. Even today, it is overwhelming to grasp the magnitude of this miracle. This wonderful gift. The tangible realization of the forgiveness of debt. God is so good.

The next miracle occurred the very next day, the purchase of what is now Chipman Commons. A new day, a new beginning. Debt free, released of the burden and free to dream. Free to restore. Free to embrace our community. Love how it worked out that new beginnings ended up at the back of the facility and has two arms that seemingly reach out. Can almost envision hands extending out to Chipman Road at Post Coffee on one side and at NewFit on the other, welcoming, beckoning people to come in to be loved by us and by our partners in Chipman Commons. Ok, so NewFit’s hand is a karate chop and Post’s hand has a cup of coffee in it, but what a beautiful picture of what is and what is still yet to come. Put into motion by beautiful hearts that strategically put dreams into action.

Back before the “new” sanctuary was built at the Libby Ln location, there was a time that many of us gathered weekly to pray. It was during one of these prayer times that there was a waking vision given. In the vision there were people in a room, who then scattered and thinned out. They were then gathered and brought to the front of the room to the foot of the cross in unity and fellowship. The vision continued with the people at the foot of the cross, still together but no longer in that place, almost as if floating through time and space but still as one as the vision faded. On Shane’s first official Sunday with us, he gathered us at the front of the church at the foot of the cross. It was the vision but it was not complete. The vision is still with us as a people who still unite hand in hand, in love and fellowship almost every Sunday. So very grateful to God for that vision of hope, so grateful that He sent one to lovingly make it happen, grateful for the hope that it still gives.

Intimidated by one who is so gifted with words, but hope and pray that these words begin to convey this thankful heart. Thankful to God for sending us a leader, a visionary, a shepherd to lead, guide and direct these sheep through the fire and through the water. We were not burned, we did not drown, as a matter of fact, it feels like we flew on the wings of eagles. Beauty from Ashes mark this wonderful anniversary, and with a loving, grateful heart, I simply say “thank you”.

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