I usually experience a great deal of unrest, deep down in my spirit, that eventually erupts into torrents of tears and waves of exhaustion that is more emotional and spiritual than physical, right before God moves or begins a new work in my life.
And then, just when I feel like He’s breaking me into a million little pieces, never to be put back together, He begins to speak to me.
Usually, in threes.
It may be a letter in the mail or a phone call. It may be a conversation with a friend.
And I often don’t catch the first word or truth as being from God, but I do find that I hang onto it and tuck it away because there is something quite striking about it. Something that I may turn over in my mind, over and over again.
It may be weeks before I hear Him speak again, but when I do, I recall the first word, the one I’ve tucked away, and I let them both simmer, together, for the two often go hand in hand.
And then I begin to wait for number three.
I find that it’s in the waiting, the time between numbers two and three, that I begin to experience this great deal of unrest, the steady stream of tears and inability to snatch enough hours of sleep.
I’ve been in this waiting all summer, until two weeks ago. And in two weeks, God delivered number 3 plus 3 more.
He’s spoken six times in the last few months and so I sit on the other side of His speaking, trying to make space to do what He’s asking me to do and I give you this,
The State of My Life, My Family, This Ministry, and The Blog.
Let us begin…
My Life and Family
Today, is the first day of September. We’ll begin schooling on September 9th and I’ll have 5 around the dining room table, from Kindergarten to Sixth. I’ll spend the next week, working on lesson plans and hole punching worksheets and making binders. I’ll probably scream and holler and people will cry and we’ll all apologize to one another and the Harris family will keep on churning out average students into this world who are street smart and steeped in so much grace that no one cares what they know.
In hearing God speak this Summer, I will begin being more intentional with my time. I am listening and responding and will begin taking an evening a week, to simply sit, get quiet, and gird myself in Truth. And I’ll write.
I will also begin to sincerely pray for God’s leading when it comes to how I give my time away. I will be more intentional in relationships and choose to disciple the whosoever wills…and not spend time trying to convince the whosoever want-tos to become whosoever wills. I’m considering the cost of my pearls and I’m going to be more careful with how I give them away.
The Man and I are also feeling an overwhelming responsibility to take back the patch of earth where our house sits. This summer has taught us that we can’t just live on Avent street. We have to put on armor and do battle every day in our neighborhood. And so do our children. Our neighborhood is shifting and the traffic and the constant police activity is a reminder that God didn’t call us here to plant a pretty little church full of privileged white folks who don’t even live in the city limits.
So we’re suiting up and as we do, we knowingly invite an extra measure of warfare.
We invite you to pray for us, particularly for our children.
I will also continue to provide child care for 3 other children during the week. It’s the manner in which God has chosen to meet our needs and so I’ll keep doing it until He provides otherwise. And no, it does not kill me. And no, I am not Superwoman. I just do what I have to do, for as long as necessary and trust God to pick up my slack in other areas.
And now for our marriage…The Man and I are probably a typical church planting couple, but since we don’t really know anyone in our shoes, we have no one with whom to compare notes. I will be honest and tell you this: We are stretched thin. Really thin. Our home is not often a haven from the rest of the world because the world loves our porch swing and his hammock. Our cell phones ring with calls from people who can’t pay rent or buy groceries or just want to let us know that they’ve called the police on their live-in. We love each other, but our relationship is more like partners in ministry and less like Soloman and his Shulammite bride.
Most days, I’d give anything to just be his bride.
As most of you know, the Man and I are in the thick of planting a church here in Rocky Mount, NC. We’ve been an organized church since March of 2012. We spent the first year meeting in our home, and in January 2013, we moved into the YMCA, where we hold services on Sunday evenings. We are about 12 -13 families strong, and God seems to be growing our church by way of new babies. We’ve had 3 babies born this year, with 1 more due to arrive in a few short weeks.
I struggle with my words here because truly, I have nothing more to say.
We’re just keeping on, keeping on.
Doing the next thing.
We have no 5 year plan, no huge vision, no building plans, no Awana, no women’s ministry, no cool band.
We’re just us. And I’m learning to be OK with that.
I think the Man would concur.
In March of last year, I wrote my first blog post. Ever.
I also read my first blog post. Ever. I read Ann Voskamp, only because I was reading One Thousand Gifts and I was curious to know more about her, the person, not just the author. Google directed me to her blog and her blog opened my eyes into a world that I did not even know existed: The Blogosphere.
I never set out to be a blogger. I simply wanted to write to a specific audience, our home church in Dallas, to keep them up to date with our doings here in NC. I simply wrote to inform others of what we were doing here, how God was moving, and how they could pray.
But within a few months, I began to really be honest about the struggles I was having in assimilating back into my new/old life.
This place quickly became a haven for me, and my readership began to grow with it.
I also began to be affirmed in my writing.
For the last few months, I’ve really been wrestling with this thing called blogging. I love to write blog posts and I love to read them. I love the online community that I’ve found here. I love being able to connect with other people who are living our same life in different parts of the world and I love that God uses their patches of internet space to encourage me.
I also love that God has seen fit to nudge me into this process of writing, in a realm of the world, that until 2 years ago, was foreign to me.
But I have to be quite honest for a bit and tell you that I struggle with keeping my blinders on and not looking to the left and to the right. I struggle with being small in a world that screams to be bigger and louder and more effective. I struggle with feeling inadequate because I have no drive in me to promote self or promote others or tweet my every thought or instagram my life. Because truly, I’m learning to relish the smallness of me and the mundane of my life and it’s hard to reconcile blogging with being small and quiet.
And one more thing, I feel really awkward about the whole commenting idea that is evidently a vital part of blogging. You guys are so kind to me. I love the encouragement you provide and the ways that you pray for me and my family and my place. I love that you want to share the love, but friends, I am uncomfortable with the praise. Sometimes to the point of cringing.
I’m a worm and you’re a worm and we only get to be glow worms if Christ lives in us, so please stop glorifying the worm.
Really. Or I’m going to delete the comment field. Feel free to comment- I love to hear your heart and your struggles and of course, your encouragement- but please, no praise.
Thank you for helping me to stay small so that Christ is always more.
I tell you all of this to simply give you a peak into my heart and my mind and so that you can bear with me while I prayerfully enter this season of changing. For now, I don’t feel led to shut down my little corner in cyberspace, but I am open to whatever God has in store and if He asks me to give this place up, I’m willing.
I absolutely feel led to write, but I’m keenly aware that the story is shifting and so is the home in which I write.
Over the nest few weeks, I will be writing less, as I gear up to write for 31 days straight during the month of October. I will be joining a thousand other writers for our annual 31 days of writing and I will be inviting you to join me in 31 Days to Change Your World. I’m excited and hope you are too.
I love you guys and I love that you let me write here. You guys fill me up and I am so very thankful for the many ways you are Jesus to me.
If you would like to know the rest of the story, the ways in which God spoke to me and what I’m going to do about it, you can read about it here.