Have you ever had one of those moments where God completely knocks your socks off? A moment where He completely blows you away?
We have had a few of those lately. I often stop and wonder, sometimes, why we continue to be shocked and surprised. God is bigger than anything we can imagine, so it should come as no surprise when He shows up in a big way, or when things coincide in a way they never could have without His hand at work. But as a sweet friend mentioned lately, “I hope He never stops surprising me.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.
So let’s talk about one of those moments, shall we?
At the end of December, Justin and I started planning our anniversary trip for sometime in March (5 years!!). We decided to take an extended weekend and go to a Rend Collective concert in Maryland. Little did we know at the time, God would open a door on that trip that we never expected for a voyage we didn’t even know we were on (that voyage begins here).
Fast forward to March. We now realize God is calling us to “young” adult ministry (think age 20-40) – specifically those outside the church. But February and March were extremely difficult months for us for a few different reasons. Our trip was April 1st and we couldn’t wait to get away. As parents of a toddler, we were desperate for a few nights of uninterrupted sleep and the ability to sleep in. Anybody else out there a living example of The Walking Dead?? Ha!
The weekend, from start to finish, was pretty fantastic – not much of a schedule, the ability to sleep in, being able to get out the door without packing the diaper bag, strapping an octopus into a car seat, realizing you forgot the sippy cup, going back in, returning to the car, noticing said octopus is missing a shoe, retracing steps…. Yeah. We just walked out the hotel door. No problem. 😉
The concert was Sunday night and we had VIP tickets for the Q&A with the band beforehand. Because who doesn’t enjoy listening to a bunch of Irishmen (and a woman) conversate?!?
During that Q&A we had a chance to learn about the history of the band. Get this – they started as a gathering for young adults because there was a missing age gap in the church. I kept looking at Justin – “are you hearing this?” I’m not sure if he understood all of that through my wide eyes and gaping jaw. But I was floored. Seriously?? What a resource. So, like a die-hard fan (because, let’s be honest, I am) – I raised my hand to ask a question. But instead of the cheesy questions I had thought through on the road-trip there, I asked one thing, “How did you make that work?” Because that is the question we were left with. We had a calling but no clue as to how to move forward. And, unbeknownst to us, our favorite band potentially held the answers.
With limited time, Gareth and Chris gave us a brief explanation but promised that there would be a little bit more detail during the concert because they had started a ministry for this exact purpose. Um, what? Again, I look to Justin, bulging eye balls and gaping jaw. Is he getting this? Can he tell that I am freaking out excited? Or do I just look like a lunatic? I don’t care. God is awesome. The Q&A ends and we have almost an hour before the concert starts. Justin did interpret all of my craziness because I didn’t even have to say a word before he jumped in and said everything I had been holding in. At this point, all I wanted to do was find the band and sit down and have a friendly chat – no longer because I was a fan, but because I desperately craved their ministry insight.
In the midst of a beautiful worship experience, the route pastor, Dustin, came out and talked about “As Family We Go” – basically a movement to mentor intentional communities with a mission to grow in faith and love with Jesus Christ. We knew we had to talk with these people. So we did. And the conversation went something like this – “This is what we’re called to do but we have no idea what that looks like. We are stuck.” After some brief discussion, we discovered that Dustin and his wife only lived a couple hours away from us (definitely not as far as Ireland). AND, the tour was going to be stopping in Pittsburgh just two days later for their off day. They offered to meet up with us and we knew that it had been God ordained.
I remember calling my dad the next day and saying, “You are never going to believe what happened…”
Though it was entirely out of our comfort zone to drive an hour to meet with two perfect strangers, we made the arrangements to meet them and I am so glad we did. That short meeting in a college Starbucks left us reeling. So much information, so much to process, so much encouragement. And the best part? The knowledge that our “family” had grown ten fold in just a few days.
But really, the family had been there all along. Faith is thicker than blood, folks. And God allowed us to meet some of our “extended family” and form a bond this side of eternity, a blessing we will never take for granted.
For now, it is as family we go. Into the great unknown….
The voyage continues here.