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.”

great-is-thy-faithfulness

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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this week’s basketball update…

basketball11This week has been another interesting and exciting week of coaching middle school basketball.  Our 7th grade team is on a roll winning 3 straight games!  The boys have really came together and are playing hard.   Our last three games have not only been wins but have also been blow out wins.  Last night we had one of the most exciting games of the season for our 8th grade team.  This game was a loss, but when you think of what happened it was truly an exciting game.  Our team got off to a slow start with only three points in the first half and none of those coming in the 2nd quarter.  At the end of the 3rd quarter we were down almost 30 points.  In the 4th quarter  the guys turned on their energy and came all the way back to tie the game.  SMS scored with only 8 seconds left and we got off a good shot to try and tie or win the game, but it just didn’t fall.  Even though it was a loss we were so very proud of the effort the boys finally put forth!

We have one home game and one away game left on our schedule this Monday and Tuesday night.  Please pray for safety as we travel, but also for Scott and I as we have just a few more opportunities to share the love of Christ with our students this season.  We want to be good stewards of the time God has given to us to reach our team.  So please pray hard as many of the students need Christ!

day camps and puppies…

This week has been a wild, but good week for us.  That is partly why my posting has been down this week and why I wanted to do a bit of a catch up with you all tonight.

Camp Rock Solid – Day Campers

At the Rec Center this week we were blessed to have a missions team from Texas that put together a Day Camp VBS called Camp Rock Solid.  We have had some really good day camps in the past, but typically the numbers of students who attend have been low with about 10 kids at the start of the week and topping out at about 30 kids by the end of the week.   This week, we broke our typical day camp norms at the Rec Center.  Our first day we had 35 students attend and almost 70 the second day!  The last three days of camp we averaged over 50 students a day.  The kids were taught songs, Bible stories, bowled, crafts, and various other activities throughout the week.  And today the camp ended with a carnival where students got to enjoy games and prizes.  The best part of the camp was that several students made the decision to accept Jesus as their personal savior!

As I said earlier, we were truly blessed by our team from Texas that put on the camp.   Everything was well run and organized.  You could really tell that both the adults and teens who ran the camp were excited to be there and had a great heart for our kids.  The group also was a huge help to us at the Rec Center with cleaning and getting things back to normal after each day of camp.

Over the summer things have been tight at the Rec Center with lower league numbers, less parties, and the hot weather playing havoc on our turn out.   So this week was filled with much needed surprises for us in the form of surprise bowling parties.  On Tuesday we had an unexpected group of 60 people come for a 2 hour bowling party and on Thursday night another group of 40 people come.  To top all that off we also had the Sunshine Campers from Youth Haven Bible Camp’s special needs camp come and bowl!  It was great to see so many happy bowlers and get some much needed income.

Nixie and her 6 schnoodle puppies…

For the past week we have been waiting every day for the arrival of our schnoodle puppies at the Casa de Owens.  Several times this week my wife called me to announce that she thought out dog Nixie was in labor, only to find out…not so.  Thursday night she finally went into actual labor with puppy #1 coming at about 9:45 pm and the final puppy, puppy #6 coming around 1:15 or so on Friday morning.  Both puppies and Nixie are doing well. We hope to have pictures and prices of the puppies up on http://www.bluegrasssuperdogs very soon!

It’s been a whirlwind as I said this week, but God has been great as we have seen his provision this week and several kids accept Him as personal savior!  God is good and God is great!

late nights with Judah…

Shortly after Maeven was born I wrote a blog about how blessed I was to spend time putting her in her cradle at night and to pray for her.  For the past few nights Erin and I have been taking shifts with Judah.  I will stay up the first part of the night doing feedings and changings and then half way through the night we switch with Erin taking the early morning shift.

With Erin and Maeven sleeping soundly usually it’s me and Judah in the living room waiting on those three hour feedings and as needed diaper change times to arrive.  Much like that alone time with Maeven, I have really enjoyed my time with Judah as an early time to bond with him, but more importantly to spend time in prayer.  A time to pray about Judah’s life and the directions that God is going to take him.  To pray about safety and guidance for Judah.  And most importantly praying that Judah will come to know Christ as his Savior at a an early age and go on to do great things for God.

As I look at the lives of students that we have worked with or are working with and see all those areas that they are struggling with.  The temptations, struggles, and sins that seem to overwhelm them at such a young age.  When I think of those things are issues that both Maeven and Judah will one day have to face, it scares me to death.   Yet, I know my God is all powerful and can protect them from whatever this world throws at them.   And knowing this makes my late night times of prayer with Judah and the times of prayer with Maeven all the more important.  Nothing is more important than seeing them accept Christ as Lord and Savior.   Until that day comes I will treasure every opportunity late or early in the day to pray for them!

finishing well @ FCA…

Today we had our weekly FCA huddle at Lee County High School.  For the next few weeks as we wrap up the school year I am really wanting to encourage the students to finish well and not let their relationship with God get pushed to the side.  Today our lesson was on hearing God say, “Well done my good and faithful servant,” or something else.  As I spoke with our students it struck me as how little we often think about that time when we will one day have to stand in front of the Creator of everything and give an account for our lives.   And when we look at our lives in light of what God’s Word says a relationship with Christ should look like, do we honestly think we are living a life that is well done?

It’s so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life we forget to be thankful for our lives and to live a life that reflects our relationship with our Savior to the World.  As I spoke with our students today I encouraged them especially in this incredibly busy and complicated season of their lives not to shrink their relationship or put it aside, but to grow and be bolder than ever.   And that’s also the challenge for myself as well.  Live a life that is having and impact for Christ and is worthy of being called “well done!”