Friday, October 25, 2013

Faith or Freaks?

Well, I thought I'd mosey on over and write a bit. I haven't blogged in a while, ok, 7 months, but it's time I get back to it.

The last year has by far been the craziest year of our lives. If you have a moment, I'll just take you back to the beginning...

On the morning of August 27th, 2012, my phone rang and it was Matthew. He was on his way to work and he told me that he was thinking about quitting his job, and asked my thoughts. I would like to point out that this wasn't out of the blue, it's something that we had discussed and prayed about for quite some time. You're probably thinking, "Oh, so he was resigning because he had a better job lined up?" Nope. Here's where you'll think us crazy! It's ok, you are not alone.

How often do we say, "We’re stepping out in faith," but really, we have a backup plan in case God doesn't show up? That's what we have done in the past, but that's not faith. We could've easily waited until we saved up six months’ worth of income before resigning, and to be honest, that's what we had planned to do, but Matthew had a peace about stepping out in faith, REAL faith, and as my spiritual leader, I had to trust him.

Stepping out in faith doesn't mean that we see far down the road, many times, you can only see a step or two in front of you, but you have to keep walking. Years ago, Matthew sat down with our friend, Dr. Steve Cloud, a brilliant dreamer and vision igniter, and together they mapped out what Matthew wanted his career to look like. Matthew's passions are Jesus and athletics, so naturally his dream job would be sharing the love of Jesus through athletics. For months after he finally resigned, Matthew felt like he would work for a friend, Mike Moye, who is by far the smartest agent in the Sports Agency business. To us, it just made sense, Matthew would be able to work directly with athletes, build personal relationships, and then share Jesus through it all. Matthew kept pursuing and pursuing but the door kept slamming in his face every time.  Obviously, God was trying to tell him to be still and wait. Waiting isn’t very fun and it's often very scary when you're having to provide for your family, but when God tells you to be still and wait, just be still and wait. Although the times of being still and waiting are frightening, they can be such sweet times...this is when God has you where he wants you to let you know the next few steps that he planned for you. During this time, Matthew realized that he was chasing something that wasn't supposed to be, and began having a real passion for starting his own business.

If you know me, you know that I am not a risk taker, starting a business is quite possibly the scariest thing to me, but when I saw the look on Matthew's face and heard his vision for what this company would look like, I couldn't help but get on board! Many nights, he gets so excited that he stays up all night working on his business plan. That vision quickly turned in to a plan of action and then became, Anchor Bats, a wood baseball bat company. Matthew and his dad have thrown the idea around for years, but it just took some time for them to realize that NOW is the time! Rick Warren recently quoted, “Every frustration is an opportunity for innovation. Great ministries and companies arise out of unmet needs.”  Thank God for unmet needs.

I would love to be able to tell you that it's been smooth sailing, but realistically, we've been through some storms. At times, it's been excruciatingly scary, but God is so faithful and He shows up mightily to carry us through every step of the way. I could tell you story after story of how God has provided for us) this year and is continuing to do so. It hasn't been easy, to provide our cost of living, we have made drastic changes. We sold our very unnecessary Mercedes, and became a one car family. If you ever need a lesson in patience and self-control, share a car with your spouse. Instead of eating out every week, we eat at home and then we eat this very rare meal later called, “leftovers!” Who knew you could actually save food in your refrigerator and eat it again? We’ve practically sold everything, our furniture, d├ęcor, jewelry, you name it we’ve sold it! Another big change has been side jobs, Matthew has been everything from carpenter, hardwood floor installer, to painter, lawn care maintenance man, to pool boy, and so much more, but we thank God every time he provides another side job to pay bills so that we can continue to get this business up and running.

Are you wondering what the holdup is? Well, it takes quite a bit of money to start your own company. Months ago, we came to the conclusion that we couldn’t do this alone, we needed the support of an investor. Have you ever asked someone for $400,000? Let me tell you, it ain't easy! People don’t just get giddy and say, “Pass me my checkbook!” Although we’ve had a, “yes” or two, things just haven’t really panned out…YET. Finding the money doesn’t happen overnight, so we just keep praying that God gives us wisdom and discernment in the days ahead.

My question to you is, do you believe in stepping out in faith or do you think we are radically crazy for the decisions we’ve made? Why don't we, as Christians, suffer persecution more than we do? (1 Peter 4:12-19) We believe it’s because too often we look like “the world.” If there isn’t anything setting us apart from the world, we won’t be a huge target for persecution. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t wake up every morning thinking, “I really hope to be ridiculed today,” but we are called to be different and different is what I want to be! When we feel led by God, we often aren't obedient because of how "the world" (non-Christians and Christians alike) will look at us. We've been looked down upon so many times throughout the year by many "followers". What we're doing isn't anything "radical,” we are just trying to be led by God regardless of what others may think. Do you think this is easy? I don’t, I despise being looked as a weirdo, but I honestly believe it’s what God has called us to do and I pray that we continue to be obedient to His call.

This journey has been long, hard, difficult, many times embarrassing, humbling, frustrating, confusing, sometimes lonely, but we don't want to have an Esau moment and sell out to everything that God has in store for us (for His Glory) because of our desire to feed an appetite that is our own pride, fleshly desires, and worldly things. Genesis 25:19-34

Ultimately, this post/life update is about bringing Glory to God. I hope you’ll be encouraged that whether your marriage is falling apart or it's over, your kids are rebelling against God, you’re holding on the "American dream,” TAKE HEART because it's inevitable that trouble, trials, and tribulation will come but rest in the beauty that CHRIST HAS OVERCOME THE WORLD! John 16:29-33