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Church planting has been a season of highs and lows, but throughout Lauren and I have found that God continues to be faithful to our family during this season. Some of those moments have been expected and others seem to have blindsided us. But God has been teaching us to wade in the water of his presence. I have been reading through the book of Psalms lately, and if anyone knew these feelings it was David. Even in his childhood, he knew the feeling of standing directly in in the presence and favor of God, and the next moment feeling completely alone and isolated. As I read the Psalms, his faith in the Lord never fades: “I will praise you, O Lord, with all of my heart; I will tell of all your wonders (Psalm 9:1). Even in his doubt, he continues to trust the Lord. 

Let this be an encouragement to you this afternoon as it has to me. Trust in the Lord. There will be seasons where His presence is almost palpable like you couldn’t get any closer. But at other times He will seem completely distant, don’t believe the lies of the enemy-as Deuteronomy says “neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” I want to encourage you to lean into that promise today, wherever you are on the journey He is with you.

I leave you with this story (testimony). This last week was one of those weeks that felt like I was dwelling in the furnace, discouraged, depressed, and honestly feeling like giving up I continued to press on with my work. Since Anchor currently doesn’t have church offices most of my time is spent in coffee shops when I am not working at home (I try to get out of the house as much as possible not only for my sanity but to make connections with people), so I was at a local coffee shop for a meeting then I decided to stay to get some work done for the day. I was really trying to grind some stuff out this day so I had my headphones in, also considering the week I didn’t feel much like talking to people…It had been a couple hours of staring at the screen so I decided to get up walk around and get a glass of water, so I took the headphones out. As I sat back down the girl that had been sitting next to me for a couple hours spoke up and began talking to me. She had overheard my meeting a couple hours earlier, and had heard we were planting a church in the Toledo area. She began to share with me that she lived in one of the suburbs of the city, how she has been attending her parents church that she grew up in-but was looking for somewhere that she could grow more, and how her and her boyfriend have been praying for a faith community that they could connect with and grow together in. I took a few minutes to share about our church with her, invited her to keep an eye on our website for when we are having our next interest gathering, and we exchanged information. She packed up to leave and I put my headphones back in to continue my work, but I began to reflect on the completely random and unexpected conversation that just took place. The Lord spoke to me that Lauren and I are right where he had called us, that there is a hunger and a need in this city. Our call isn’t to dwell on the roadblocks that come our way, but to walk in faith and obedience. This small (but significant) conversation I feel was God’s way of encouraging us, He has us right where he would want, the work we are doing is important (although unseen) in building Anchor but more importantly building His church to advance the Gospel across Toledo. 

I share that story to encourage you this morning. Your job, school, or being a stay at home mom might seem insignificant. You might feel like the work you are doing isn’t important or might have voices of discouragement coming at you. Rest in His promises that He is with you, when we learn to walk in faith and obedience God will continue to bless the work that you are doing even when it goes unnoticed. If you're a stay at home mom that is grinding out the day to day with your children behind closed doors, you are not just a stay at home mom, but you are a torchbearer for the Lord-You have the opportunity to guide and pray for your children daily. If you are in school, you are not just in school but you are building the foundation for the ministry that God is calling you into, He is preparing you for His calling even in the mundane. Or if like us you are in a season of ministry where God has called you off the platform and most of your time is spent behind the scenes, God is with you-God daily is providing opportunities to advance the Kingdom around you. 

This has been a great reminder during this season, it seems like every day God opens up a door for our family. Just last night, I received a random voicemail from someone who got my number that wanted to connect about Anchor-they were interested in being a part of the church and wanted to help us make connections int he community. Just remember even when we don’t feel it God is faithful, and he is ALWAYS good!