And we have been for nearly every day of our 15 year marriage.
I’d not planned to tell you that, but our streak of rental homes are indicative of a larger truth about us and the calling on our life:
The only thing that stays the same is change.
Some nights when I lie awake in bed long after my people have gone to sleep, I feel shame flush my cheeks. Owning a home is sort of a grown-up thing to do and we’ve piled our kids into rental home after rental home after rental home. Every time Jesus has asked us to move, we’ve simply walked away with half of our life on the street tagged with For Free signs. Honestly, the fact that we own nothing but a couple of cars and some seminary debt really yanks my chain in all the bad ways.
There is a constant tape playing in my head that responsible adults own a home, two cars, one dog, a perfectly manicured lawn, and a couple of kids who attend the Christian private school across town and on a hard day, when my world tilts crazy, the tape plays a little louder.
The fact that our life is so loosely rooted to this world by way of material possessions should be freeing. But if I let you into my whole heart, the freedom scares me a little. It’s hard not to want the American Dream, y’all. It’s really hard.
The only thing constant about our little family is that we all keep piling up together in rental homes and piling into the same old Suburban that grows cultures of our leftover peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
And Jesus. He’s pretty constant.
In 2011, the Man and I felt called to Rocky Mount, NC. We felt called to the city and because we know church, we did what any church knowing people would do:
We planted a church.
And we’ve probably re-planted this church a dozen or more times in the past three years. With the same group of people,mind you.
It’s been an epic adventure.
We’re nearly three years in and we’re still a hot mess, mainly because the Man and I are human beings and well, we’re human beings.
We’ve started and stopped at least twenty good things trying to find Jesus’ dream for this little church. We’ve moved from our home to the local YMCA and most recently to a local elementary school. We’ve done Grace Projects and passed out loaves of bread and packs of diapers. We’ve fed our neighbors and taught the bible in large and small groups. We’ve even done prayer walks and prayer circles and entire prayer services.
If you can name it, we’ve probably done it.
And you know what? It’s hard not to want the American church. It’s hard not to look at what we have and not feel shame creep up the back of our necks. It’s hard not to see the constant stream of change and wonder why we can’t seem to get it right like every other responsible church in town. It’s hard not to strive and do and build it so the illusive they will come.
It’s hard being so loosely rooted to our preferences and hopes and dreams that we let Jesus move us and change us as He sees fit.
It’s hard letting the only constant be Jesus.
But He’s proving Himself to be enough, y’all.
I am overwhelmed by the responses I am getting with each post in this series and I am quite behind in responding to all the emails and comments. I apologize. My desire is to respond to each one of you in a thoughtful manner! I’m loving all your thoughts and comments and bits of stories being shared. I love you guys and the way you think about Jesus and His church. You encourage my heart.