What I Feel and What is Real
When Zach first told me he wanted to plant a church, I sweetly and thoughtfully responded with, “Have fun with that.” Four years, two churches, one baby, and some maturation later, I find myself prepping for this monumental task, excited for what is to come. I know that God is gracious and good. What a privilege to be a part of his work in this way.
Yet, if I’m honest, I must admit that I don’t always feel it is a privilege. This venture is daunting and I’m scared. The statistics are not in our favor. The things which worried me four years ago are still legitimate concerns: What if no one comes? What if no one gives? How will this affect Judah? How will this affect our marriage? What if I just want to spend a Sunday morning at home? Even though I know this is the right move, I am hesitant to put our lives on display. Pastoring is lonely. I am not thrilled about my husband’s every decision, sermon, and word being open to critique. Although I know God is with us and for us, I still have doubts.
Bigger than these concerns, though, is the God of the universe who holds me in his hand and gently reassures: “I’ve got this. It’s not about your qualifications; it’s about your dependence on me in all things. You do not define ‘success’ in this. I have gone before you and I am walking beside you every step of the way. I live in you and you are mine.” And because I know him, because he has never failed me, because his life empowers me to accomplish his purposes, we move forward with hope and anticipation of all that is to come.
I recently read a blog about one family’s call to step out of comfort into something unfamiliar, this sentence of which has continued to resonate with me: “We knew we had to leave long before we felt peace about going.”1 Three years since we felt unity in this calling, I am still scared. But this is the truth: no matter what happens, whether the church “succeeds” or not, we will be okay. God is still in control, he is not surprised. We know it will be messy. We’re embracing uncertainty as he continues to teach us to let go of our expectations, our reputation, and our need to control. We are to lead with confidence that we are a part of something greater than ourselves, depending on him to use us as he will, and in this dependence we find joy, peace, freedom.
At Restore Austin, we know that our job is to present Christ, to love as he loves, and to tell the truth of the gospel. I know we will be far too liberal for some and far too conservative for others, people won’t like the venue or the music or the preaching, but we’re hoping to appeal to those who need some room to breathe, to question, to disagree without feeling unwelcome. You can be who you are and you can have doubts—we are not threatened by that. Whoever you are, you are welcome. God is God, despite any mistaken notions we may have of him, and he is at work. He does not change, he is not thwarted, and his desire is to restore all things unto himself.
I don’t know what the church will look like, who will attend, how fast it will grow, or where it will be located. There are so many variables, so many details over which to obsess and worry. But God is faithful. He is always faithful. And he is good! So I am trusting him to provide, to replace my doubt and worry with joy and peace and hope. He has already equipped us for what is to come; he is with us and for us. He is for Austin.