my story to tell.

my husband will probably not be happy that I posted this picture. he's lost about 30 lbs since this picture was taken.
But it makes me smile. We sat on these steps in the less than 10 degree cold and prayed for his ministry.
For our ministry. For the gospel to go forth. 

One night after the kids went to bed, I was laying on the bed watching Nick move around the room - putting up laundry and prepping his stuff for the week. The little wheels in my head were turning. 

"I think I'm starting to understand you, Nick. 
I knew when I met you that you were a church guy. Not just an attender, or a server - but a church guy. I knew you'd always want to give a little more and be a little more invested. 

But then the Lord called you to vocational ministry and that was interesting. I knew it meant a life of semi-set-apart. Probably making less money than some of our friends. But it was worth it. As long as he didn't call you to church planting. And I told you that, often. 

But then He did call you to church planting and I started to sweat a little. I don't like building things. I don't like pioneering. I'm so much more comfortable following than leading. I had grown so fond of the idea of being lost in a big church. Just one of the families. Just one of the pastor's wife. Church planting is all about getting your hands dirty. Opening your doors. That terrified me. 

On top of that, He ignited your heart for bi-vocational ministry. You fell in love with the idea of working in the world while working for the Lord. With relating to businessmen. With not being so heavenly minded that you're no earthly good. You didn't want to be the pastor who sat in Starbucks studying for your sermon all week and I could appreciate that. Even if it means double the work sometimes. 

And the cherry on top is that you let me enter into it with you. You don't just say 'this is my ministry. this is my work. this is my business.', you lovingly let me use my gifts and desires and passion to help build our business. You let me make the prints and write the words and have the conferences. While you send the prints and the emails and dream up the new websites and run the business. It's sometimes so messy - because nothing about our life is clear cut or normal or super easy for people to understand, but it's our life

And I love it. Even when it's messy. Even when it's hard. 
I love that you've led us here."

He let me process all that. And he smiled back at me. And said "Good."
And that was that. 

I remember four years ago, the Christmas that Nick sat me down and told me that the Lord was calling him to church planting. We were snowed in, in Seattle, and I was mad as fire. All I wanted was a normal life, and all I saw ahead of me was one of sacrifice. It took me five days of prayer and listening to him talk to me - tell me about the people who needed the gospel. Tell me why we had to go. At the end of those days, when I was being nicer to him, he said - "And Jess, I want you to blog it all. I want you to tell the story of us planting. Encourage other women who might feel like you do - women with husbands who need to do something because the Lord has called them to it and their wives are terrified. Write to them."

It's been four years and I think I've done that some and in some ways I haven't. 
I've written about how WE had to receive the gospel in some hard ways before we could minister to others. I've written about our moves and our family. But I've never found a healthy balance of talking about the church, his ministry, my role in it, our struggles, His victories. 
And yet -- it's this huge chunk of our life. 

And maybe this is just the beginning of the story. 
So I think I'll get back to telling it. 

This is where it starts. 
In so many ways, I miss that five years ago life. In a city we loved, with nights to ourselves and normal rhythms. Days where we didn't feel the weight of building - churches or businesses. Days where I knew my role so clearly and I could check all the things off my list and give myself a gold star for taking care of the house and kids. And do it all over the next day.

But I love looking at him and seeing the Lord work. 
I love watching him build all the things - with his hands and his mind and his gifts. 
I love writing the words and designing the prints. 
I love the kids and the house too. 
I love squishing in the office with all the girls on Wednesday night for prayer. 
I love this story He's writing. 

And I'm excited to keep telling it.