struggling…but God is faithful

anxietyThe past few weeks have been an exercise in truly trusting in God when I say that I am trusting in Him.  You would think after the past year I would totally rely on God’s promises to take care of me and my family.  I have seen Him provide for us as we sold our old home, moved to a new area, started a new ministry, helped my wife overcome breast cancer, provide the finances to cover all here medical expenses and so on.  It has truly been a year of one example of God’s faithfulness after another.  Yet, I sit here now knowing that Satan has been attacking me full force and making me worry and be anxious about God’s provision.

With the ministry that I work for, my family has to raise our own support to cover all our bills, living expenses, and ministry costs.  So, a big part of what I do is schedule meetings with churches, organizations, and individuals.  Currently, we are at about 82% of our needed support level and so I have been scheduling as many meetings as possible to try and get fully funded.  The great news is that I have been blessed with several meetings and people have seemed genuinely interested and concerned about our ministry.  The bad news is so far none of these meetings have led to new monthly and yearly support commitments.  Also, during this time we have had tons of trouble with our van and put money that we really needed for other financial issues into getting it fixed.  There are also some upcoming financial bills that I know will be here soon that just have led to me feeling totally overwhelmed.  There have also been some just struggles of loneliness and other issues that I really have felt have been hitting me hard during this time as well.

I am very much the type of person who likes a plan.  I like to know what needs to be done to get from point A to point B.  This struggling and sense of being overwhelmed this past month or so has really just began to take a toll, with anxiety, tightness in my chest, sleepless nights, and other issues derived from worry.  I have been so blessed with things that God is doing great in our ministry and opportunities to use sports to work with kids, but yet can’t help but feel Satan is using anxiety to rid me of the joy that I should be having.

The good though is that I know while I am nervous and anxious over the future my God is not.  He is in total control, even though I often feel alone.  In over 12 years of full time ministry and living on support, I have never had a need that God has not met.  And so I am retreating into His Word and promises.  From the time I accepted Christ as my Savior on October 14, 1984, my favorite verse has been Hebrews 13:5 which ways that God will never leave me nor forsake me.  That’s something I have to remind myself of overtime that I feel anxiety setting in.  Rather that wallowing in worry, I have to be diligent to call out to Him and not go to my automatic how do “I” fix this mode.

I know that deep down that if I trust God, He will always reveal Himself to be faithful.  That was evident this past weekend.  On Sunday after church, I was really struggling with anxiety and my chest was so tight that I was honestly scared.  I ran out to do some errands leaving my family at home and my anxiousness kept growing and I couldn’t shake it.  When I got home, though, as I shared in my last post, I had the opportunity to lead my 5 year old son to the Lord.  It was in that moment that God reminded me, “Andy, I got this.  I will take care of you and your family.”

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And I know that He will take care of us, I know that there is not a need that I have that He cannot meet, and I know that when I seek Him I will always find Him.  Pray with me that I will seek Him.  That I will look for God’s blessings and evidence of His faithfulness and not let Satan rob me of joy and thankfulness.  Pray with me that God will provide the needed support partners for our family to get to 100% and that I will have peace as we wait and be diligent to keep pursuing potential partners.  I hate being consumed by anxiety and worry, but once again am thankful that my God is not!

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making the storms go away…

my sweet little techies...

my sweet little techies…

Don’t worry I am not writing  a blog that says how to make storms of life, literally or figuratively, go away.  No, I am writing about one of my favorite subjects my children.  Last night our family returned home from church and we got the kiddos ready to go to bed.  Once everyone was in pi’s, teeth brushed, last potty stops, had a story, and prayed, my wife and I sat down for what we thought would be a good evening of relaxing and watching some television.  About 20 minutes into the show we were watching a bad storm came through and we quickly lost electric at our house.

When the power went out the storms grew louder and the rain pounding on our house and the noise of thunder and lightning frightened both of our children to the point of screams.  As they screamed and cried loudly Erin and I divided and conquered to spend time with the kiddos helping calm them.  Between getting some good cuddles and my son deciding he was safe and thus could pull on Dad’s beard, within an hour both kids were calm and felt safe because mom and dad were there.  Finally Judah went to sleep and after another snack and another prayer time Maeven decided it was time for her to sleep.

When I finally made it through the dark to my own bedroom, I had to smile at how just being with our kids brought them so much calm and peace in the midst of a scary night.  I was glad that we could be there for them and thanked God for those two sweet blessings.  I also had to spend some time just thanking God, that we too can cry out in the night of our scary times and that He is there to comfort us and help us make it through whatever storm life is throwing at us.  He has promised to never leave me nor forsake me and that brings me so much peace and contentment.  I am constantly amazed at how God uses my own children to show me more about how much he loves us.  I am truly blessed by my God!

my response…

Yesterday was an interesting day as I watched all the red profile pictures pop up across Facebook.  I saw all the arguments going about equality and the right to marry whoever you want and honestly I was surprised and the different people that I saw supporting the different sides of the argument.  First, let me say that I am not writing a blog post that deals with the Supreme Court and what they should decide on the issue of gay marriage.  What I found discouraging yesterday was the fact of how people reacted.  I saw many Christians who did come across as hateful,homophobic, and not having a Christ-like heart toward this community.  At the same time I saw, may people who support gay marriage (both gay and straight supporters) who were just as hateful at the idea that anyone would dare disagree with them.  They classified those opposed to gay marriage as hateful, homophobic, pro-slavery, narrow-minded, and much worse for just having a different opinion.  The judgmental spirit that the pro side was saying the other side had was exactly what they were displaying themselves.

Last night, I stayed up for a long time trying to wrap my head around all the things that I had read and seen yesterday, when I came across this quote from the pastor of Saddleback Church, Rick Warren.

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As you can probably guess, I fall on the side of the argument that Biblically disagrees with gay marriage.  Does this mean that I have hate in my heart or despise those that disagree with me no it does not.   I have many friends that disagree with me on this issue, but not matter what they believe or do with their lives, my God has called me to love them and be compassionate to them.  I may never change their stance on the issue of gay marriage and homosexuality.  But, that’s not what I am called to do, I am called to live a life that honors and reflects Christ and shows His love to others.

I struggled with whether or not to even comment on this issue with all the hate I saw spewing from both sides yesterday.  But this quote from Pastor Warren really encouraged me that it’s ok to share my convictions, but it must be tempered with compassion and love.  I just want to encourage all Christians everywhere to remember you don’t have to compromise your convictions, especially those that are Biblical, but remember love and compassion as well.  And to anyone who ever has someone disagree with you, disagreement doesn’t mean fear and hate.