Okay. This is surreal. I am sitting in Panera by myself. Stealing away a short time to finally put into words, as best I can, what I have wanted to share for two weeks! I enjoy writing, always have. I’m not a great writer. And if you are a member of the grammar police, whom I love and appreciate dearly, prepare to twitch your way through this post. I don’t write to be the best or to be something in someone’s eyes. I do it because I enjoy it and I love sharing about the goodness of God. I try to bring glory to God in it! The gift of time to write is sparse during this season of my life so the extra effort to get away and actually write is something I reserve for those times I feel compelled to write. THIS is one of those times. Lot’s of things have happened in the last two weeks (personal illness, ER visit for Salem who mistakenly ingested peanut butter and had a severe reaction, lack of sleep, a trip to Ohio to visit family for Easter, colds for the kids, an unfavorable run in with a solid wood chna cabinet resulting in a big black eye for Salem, sleepless night due to Aaron getting food poisoning and then a long drive back to North Carolina and right back into this busy season of life and work). So now….to actually be here putting into words what has been burning in my heart…I can hardly contain myself! People are probably looking at me like I am crazy as I sit here and type with a perma-grin face and fast typing fingers. Oh the hope that is within me – may it shine through as I pour out my thoughts to you today. And, may God be with Aaron as he takes on our very active toddlers solo this morning. 😉
Many of you reading this know Aaron and I well. You know our testimonies and how God saved us from ourselves. We lived lives very contrary to the way we live now. (If you want to hear more about that please contact us and we would love to share about the transforming power of God to take a heart and make it new…redirecting our course in eternity.) Well, because there are consequences to sin even in the forgiveness of them, we still have challenges in life from time to time because of our previous life. This is just a reality we have come to accept as we have seen God work through those consequences. We are in a unique place because of those things to see the providence, power and provision of God and know that it is all of Him.
So, let me tell you what God has done.
Two weeks ago today Aaron was at work and received a text message from a member of our current church that said, “Aaron, my dad is one of the top real estate agents in Louisville. I’ve told him your story and he wants to meet you. Says he may be able to find you someplace in Louisville to live. He’s in town this weekend. Would you all be available tomorrow after church to meet him?”
As many of you know, obtaining rental housing is one of those “consequence” areas that will be with us forever. Because Aaron is a convicted felon we are automatically disqualified from renting from large property management organizations. To protect themselves from discrimination lawsuits, these companies do not make exceptions for felons. They do not consider the type of crime, length of time out of prison and out of trouble, credit score, or recommendations from upstanding citizens in the community. They can’t because they open themselves up to civil litigation. I remember one of the apartment facilities in Charlotte told us that an 80 year old widowed man applied for an apartment once and they turned him down because of a marijuana charge he received in college. So certainly if they don’t bend for a sweet elderly man…they aren’t going to bend for us. We were really hoping that Kentucky laws were different and that property management companies could make those decisions more freely but we quickly found out that they do not. This was one of the many areas that we really had to consider and pray about before we made the final decision to move forward in applying for the Pastors College and a life of church planting. I struggled through my fears of not finding housing. I constantly had to remind myself that God was bigger than this hurtle and that He could use it for His glory. And so we stepped out in faith. We asked God to help us trust Him with this particular issue. We moved forward.
As you can imagine, that text message Aaron received blessed my socks off. That someone reached out to us and wanted to help us was so encouraging to me. The crazy thing is we did not know this church member/friend had family in Louisville and that his dad was a realtor when we sent him our first newsletter but we did pray about who we should send letters to! There’s more…just wait!
So, that Sunday Aaron had two free hours in his day because it was our Easter Musical weekend so he worked all weekend. We met over at our friend’s house during that break. We met Mr. P and his wife. We shared our testimonies with them and what God was currently doing in our lives. We learned some things about them, including that they had a heart for prison ministry. Mr. P actually serves in the prisons in Louisville and many, many years ago was incarcerated. As you can imagine, he connected with Aaron and understood himself how God can change a man’s ways and affections. They wanted to help us find housing. What was said next though was nothing short of a gift from God. They went on to tell us that the week before their planned trip to Charlotte one of their clients was selling her home. She didn’t want to take the furniture she had with her and offered it to Mr. and Mrs. P. This was a blessing to them because they had a heart to open up their own home for the sake of the gospel and this meant they could furnish their basement and begin opening up there home to missionaries and such. At that point, they knew nothing of us. Soon after that is when they came to Charlotte to visit their son and his family and when God laid it on the heart of our friends to share with them about us and how God is moving us into ministry and that our first step involves a move to Louisville. That’s when Aaron got a text and our visit was set in motion.
About midway through our time together Aaron and I were left speechless at the offer to come and live with Mr. and Mrs. P!!! We could come and live with them for free and once we got settled in they would help us find a place of our own in whatever timing it took. Wow. Just wow. God is so amazing. So cool. So big. So generous. So loving. So much more than my inadequate words can convey. And God’s people….our family in Christ – a reflection of Him. Taking seriously Galatians 6:10 which says, “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” I believe they truly understand that “the earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it” (Psalm 24:1). Through their generosity, hospitality and love and through the thoughtfulness of our friends to speak on our behalf for the sake of the gospel and for all your prayers that carried us to this point….we praise God. We stand amazed.
And GOD is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 2 Corinthians 9:8
The Lord is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you, he will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed. Deuteronomy 31:8
Cast all your anxiety on Him; because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7
Your eyes saw me before I was put together. And all the days of my life were written in your book before any of them came to be. Psalm 139:16
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him , and He shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6
The Lord works out everything for his own ends. Proverbs 16:4
Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to HIM be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21
And now, back to my family and getting our home ready to put on the market!
- We had a yard sale March 12 and it was a great success. Who knew that selling all the random stuff in your garage for a dollar would add up so quickly! Who knew I had so much random stuff in the garage! It was a blessed day. The weather was perfect. Sweet friends showed up to help…thank you dear ones! And we made a profit to invest into preparing for missions/ministry! A great day indeed!
- We are little behind schedule in preparing our house for listing but meet with our realtor this week to begin everything and plan to list around April 22. Please continue to pray for the preparation the sale of our house, for God’s perfect timing and for the right offer as it is a large part of the means to move forward with the pastors college and church planting.
- We also want to praise God for those who have mentioned to us that they would like to invest in the kingdom by financially partnering with us in the work of the Lord. And for our first monthly partner!!! It is a blessing to see God confirming this call with the encouragement and support of the body of Christ. If you would like more information on how to partner with us in taking the gospel into a community that is in great need click here.
- We also wanted to thank all of you who have contacted Aaron for miscellaneous jobs (pressure washing, painting, yard work, odd jobs). This is a blessing and helps us as we are working towards our move to Louisville and tuition for the Pastors College.