April 2015 archive

Oh did I leave you hanging?

Well thank you all for your encouragement from my last post about the journey of our city house on the market. It seemed to strike a chord with many of you that ruthless trust in the uncertainties of life is not only vital to building our faith in the Lord but it’s mandatory and unavoidable.

I know you are eager to hear the outcome and I wish I had some awesome grand announcement that we are days away from closing but alas, the contract fell through 100% a few days after my post. There was no counter offer or addendum, just pulled the plug. It’s hard when something is final like that and you know you are back at square one. I will be honest, that was a dark day for me. A very dark day filled with ugly cries and a lot of staring out a window like a Cymbalta commercial.

Sometimes I let myself unpack my feelings further than I normally would because the days don’t allow for long drawn out periods of pondering. I gave myself permission to dwell on my sorrow that day knowing I would be riding a potentially dangerous line of self-pity (not helpful) versus self-actualization (helpful).

There has been a LONG 12 month battle of opposing emotional forces going on in my mind and heart. Last April marks the start of this battle.

My best friends family and another family we share deep community with moved halfway around the world to serve the Lord. Clearly, I was 110% behind this but my heart and my life had a gapping, gushing, ugly hallow wound. This was an unimaginable personal loss for every person in my family. In many ways I’m still trying to learn to live life without these 10 people.

Two weeks later I was in the emergency room with extreme pain in my abdomen. I ain’t no wimp, I don’t go to doctors for nothin’ but I couldn’t handle this. I had no idea that I actually just tipped the first domino in a four month long wild goose chase to figure out what was wrong with me. Cue endless doctor appointments, blood and stool testing (yeah for sexy fun!) a colonoscopy (more sexy fun), an endoscopy, natural health appts, trying new supplements, and in the end changing my entire diet going gluten free. (This was a radical change from my highly processed life). There was a mourning process of food, yes I had to mourn it. I earned my filled out jeans for a reason. I had to accept that I have gluten intolerance and leaky gut, not to be trendy, but because of the trauma of a parasite and salmonella poisoning 14 years ago my intestines have never properly healed. I could not believe I was so sick again.

After the ER bill came in at $2000 (oh Hi fat deductible…I hate your face) it also marked a year long financial strain and loss I can’t even begin to divulge here. It has been brutal between my health stuff and of course carrying two mortgages for six months. There is no end in site to this area of loss and yet…if you read the last post…God has miraculously sustained us. Heck, for the first time in eight years we are getting a tax return! Hallelujah!!! He steps in at the seemingly last and yet perfect moment and provides what we need.

So you can see why that Sunday afternoon call from our realtor came in like a sucker punch to the gut.

I didn’t realize how sure I felt that this offer was going to stick until my chest started to tighten and the tears began without ceasing. I was tired of being sad and yet I was sad again…very sad. I had to let go of the “idea” that the trial of this house was not ending.

Poor Ryan. It’s hard when you can’t articulate your sorrow to your spouse. I just needed to be alone and sort it all out.

I let myself revisit the sorrows of the last 12 months. These are very real loses and not one of them has changed. I’m still sick, I’m still without these two families, and our finances are still ground zero. BUT I know that I am not without hope or joy because that is the exact other force that keeps pushing against and nudging out my sorrow.

Guys..I can’t stop with the GIFS…they make me laugh. Last one I promise. Think of JOY as the dark car and the white car as SORROW trying to cut it’s nasty way into my joy lane like a punk. NOT GONNA HAPPEN!!!!

In case you don’t follow me on FB or Instagram then you might not know that the most exciting announcement came out of the gates on April 7, 2015. It’s no wonder satan really poured on the awful the two weeks leading up to our launch. There was full force spiritual warfare happening and getting the news about the contract falling through was just one fiery dart we had to extract lest the poison of discouragement take root.

Last May a relationship began in our life with an amazing couple in our church that is on staff with REACH Global (our church’s denomination sending agency). They were missionaries to the Ukraine for 15 years but now serve in a director position with the SERVEurope team. They just happen to move to our area a few years ago and were introduced to us by our friends that moved overseas with the disclaimer “You MUST spend time with them and you MUST share your vision for ministry.” And so we sought out this couple not knowing anything about them and boy we had no idea what that relationship would yield in our hearts and lives.

You know when you meet people that connect to the deepest desires of your heart in a way you only experience with a few people? Yeah, that was this couple for us. A few decades older, well seasoned in missions, and completely FREE in the spirit. These two are salt of the earth and so gifted in prayer and encouragement. We started meeting together once a month to talk and pray. Only a small group of people knew about this vision.

Month after month ticked by and the Lord helped us finally get our vision into a tangible format. It has a name now. It has a website thanks to my husband. It has a voice thanks to Ryan’s brother, Joe Portnoy, producing a video for us.

Guys, the other set of tears that flow often and hard from my face this last year are because I CAN’T HANDLE the joy of this vision finally being launched. For the last 12 months this ball has been in motion and it is beyond what we could ever dared dream for our lives. It’s a grand invitation into the work of the kingdom and it is scary and awesome and WAY bigger than just Ryan and myself. It involves you too! Please take four minutes to watch:

Yup! Right? Can you even? The Good Storyis out there! I would love for you to go over to the site and click around. There is SO much more than the video could cover. (Ryan is just that tall he doesn’t fit on my screen shot)

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I want you to hear about our incredible trips we are taking with REACH this summer which will determine SO MUCH about the future of The Good Story.

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There are two ways to get involved. The first is becoming part of our prayer and financial support team. I know, I know…tis the season for mission trips. This is so much more than a missions trip! These trips will set the trajectory for the future of our ministry. We get to work with a REAL agency with REAL missionaries with REAL communication needs that REACH Global believes The Good Story can help change! Are you with us?

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There is also a pretty low commitment support route and that is to click over to The Good Story Shop and purchase an instant download made by friends of TGS. 100% of your purchase goes towards our REACH Global trips! We will be adding more art each month.

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Lastly, and most importantly, the VERY heartbeat of what The Good Story is about is found in our Ambassador program. There is no way on this planet this ministry will thrive or survive from the efforts of two people. No, we are not foolish enough to think we can change the face of missions alone. Nay, Nay…it will take an army of creatives and technology to do that! We are finishing up what will be the application process and taking inquiries for people to join us as Ambassadors for TGS.

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The Ambassador Creed is as follows:

We believe creatives and technology are a very underutilized commodity in the body of Christ.

We believe God gives all individuals specific talents and abilities on earth that are meant to bring Him glory and advance the kingdom of God.

We believe creatives in arts and technology have a difficult time giving or donating their talents and abilities when there is no personal gain or payment involved. This prevalent attitude needs to change.

We believe we can be the generation that ushers in the second coming of Christ by being on the forefront of the Great Commission.

We believe missionaries could cut their pre-field support raising time in half if they were properly undergirded through the creative arts community to communicate their passions and initiatives with visually excellent and compelling materials. (i.e.-photos, support cards, printed materials, websites, video storytelling, written expression)

We believe missionaries need proper technology training in order to establish a means of communication while they are raising support as well as on the field

We believe if we work together we can gather and engage technology and creative individuals to BE AVAILABLE, BE PROACTIVE to seek out opportunities to serve and finally to GIVE GENEROUSLY and LAVISHLY of their abilities to missionaries.

CREATIVES ARE THE GAP in the Great Commission advancing quicker but they are also the BRIDGE IN WHICH MISSIONARIES CAN FIND SUPPORT, STABILITY, TRAINING and MEANS TO COMMUNICATE EFFECTIVELY in an age of technology that demands visual impact in order to understand and commit to a cause.

So if any of this has peeked your interest we strongly urge you to go to the website and poke around and join our newsletter team, join our support team, or please for the LOVE OF GOD and the DESIRE FOR ALL TO KNOW HIM…fill out an Ambassador inquiry form if you are in the creative or technology field. This is a slow but deliberate bullet moving to the heart of the Great Commission target.

Keep praying for us. Do you know how audacious our prayers are right now? SELL THIS HOUSE LORD! HELP US PAY OUR BILLS LORD! BRING US A MIGHTY PRAYER AND FINANCIAL SUPPORT TEAM JESUS! RALLY AN ARMY OF CREATIVES AND TECHNOLOGY TO JOIN THIS MOVEMENT TO CHANGE THE FACE OF MISSIONS FATHER!

Guess what, He delights in these requests and He WILL do a beautiful and complete work for HIS glory in HIS timing and it’s going to be AWESOME!

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