Building and Breaking

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When we are put in the midst of uncertain circumstances, surroundings, and future, real personal and spiritual growth will happen if you stay flexible.  Danielle and I were having breakfast with some amazing neighbors and friends this morning.   We were sharing stories of growing up, life as adults, and general conversation about all things family. Our friend who happens to be a talented artist, among other things, was explaining some of the process of painting with an oil medium.  The end result comes through sequences of building up  and breaking it down.  Through many iterations the end result is often not the vision you started with.  The story of my life…

We live in a world where we want continuous “building”, something I am completely guilty of.  We want consistent job promotions and salary raises.  We want to move from a small house, to medium house, to our large forever house.  We want a slow and steady growth into the promise land. Unfortunately, we have this utopian picture in our head of what life should give us and when we hit a breaking point, we have no idea what to do with it.  This life is not utopia, there are struggles, there is loss, and there is an incredible amount of breaking that occurs.  That may sound like bad news, but when your perspective shifts…it can be the most freeing and motivating experience of your life.

I am going to keep this simple.  We were made for a purpose; to shine our light and introduce the world to the love of Jesus.  That truly is our only job.  Now it looks different for each one of us; because, we all have different occupations and paths the Lord has led us down.  But one thing remains the same, we need to shine!  What would our witness look like if we all lived a perfect utopian life, with no challenges?  It would be worthless and ineffective.   Furthermore, what kind of knowledge would we have if all we ever did was win (build)?  One-dimensional and shallow.  So, we walk through life being built up and experiencing breaking points, but it makes us better, stronger, more relatable, and most importantly, more reliant on the Artist.  And just like the oil painting that was built up and broken down…all of the layers come together to form a beautiful masterpiece with dimension.  A masterpiece that was created for a purpose, a purpose greater and more significant than you will ever know.

So, we shift our perspective.  We embrace the broken state fully, knowing that God is building us up, layer upon layer, to eventually expose His perfectly imperfect masterpiece that has been made righteous through the ultimate sacrifice…Jesus. Embrace and enjoy the periods of building, but also embrace and rest in His peace through periods of breaking.  It is good; we are being equipped and we will come out on the other side shining bright with the love of Jesus.

building and breaking…building and breaking…building and breaking…we are God’s masterpiece.  In the end we will look back at the process, only to be amazed at the beautiful piece of priceless art which we have become.

Blessings through the building up and the breaking down,

Scott

My Plans and God’s Grace

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When Danielle and I were in the middle of praying through what the Lord had for our family in this season we felt like we had two options:  stay where we were and have a fruitful ministry or take the leap of faith and watch him amaze us through his goodness. Believe it or not this was not an easy decision, but ultimately we chose to jump off the cliff and fully trust him.  Once we jumped, God went to work on my heart and mind like I had never experienced before… and it has been painfully revealing.

I have discovered, as I alluded to in my last post, I have an issue with trying to control the process once I feel a transition.

My tendency, once I feel transition, is to quickly go to work on figuring out what is going on.  I love the beginnings of transition, but once I know transition is on the horizon I constantly seek out a plan that will restore everything back to a previously comfortable place.

But through the discovery of this weakness of mine, I have also gained a greater understanding of God’s grace.  When I have made mistakes and went into “plan and control” mode, God has come along and blessed us in the midst of it.  Perfect example. June of 2012, our family came into a season of transition.  I was emotionally tired and instead of taking the time to pray through things I simply planned out a path that would restore our family to a comfortable place.  I made some calls, we moved back to Michigan and we were back to a comfortable place for our family.

In the period of time that followed our move back to Michigan, God blessed us with a beautiful house, a great job, an amazing church, and we were surrounded by people who loved us and encouraged us.  He brought us back into an amazing church family (Daybreak) where we able to serve the church and an incredible running team (Hope Water International).  Through those experiences we built lifelong relationships with people who have stretched us and challenged us as individuals and as a family.  It has been a season of blessings, but make no mistake it has been a season of trial, error, and learning.  Out of my weaknesses he has brought blessing… It is only by God’s grace this is possible.

And now… He has brought us full circle back to this point of decision.  We are committed; we are moving forward; and I am not completely sure what is in store for our family. But I know one thing, it is going to be good.  How is it going to be good?  I have no idea and I really do not care, because we are simply doing our best to follow Him.  “And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)

Yeah Jesus!

Scott