We don’t know all the answers and that’s ok

We have arrived home. We love you Brisbane!

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We’re so excited to be home and in a familiar environment. We are looking forward to some rest and taking some time to digest what we have experienced and learnt in the last seven months.

Some answers … for people wondering.

Firstly, we don’t feel disappointed or like we’re letting anyone down by being back in Australia earlier than we had originally planned. We’re not embarrassed or uncertain, but glad we followed God’s leading.

We don’t know the purpose behind our whole trip. That’s ok.

We don’t know what we’ll be doing in the short or long-term future. That’s ok.

We actually feel that we are still on our ‘adventure’ and that this is the next step in the journey. That’s ok.

These unanswered questions are ok because we know that God is well aware and we know how proud He is of us. He asked us to ‘step out of the boat’ and we will continue to say yes.

We have grown in many areas this year but by far the biggest lesson we have learnt (and will continue to learn) is…

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God asked us on many occasions to trust Him, no matter what. He didn’t ask us to know how everything would work or figure out all the moves, He just asked us to trust. It’s definitely easier said than done and it seems like the more we learn to trust the more trust we have to learn.

Our scripture for this year spoke to us many times and kept us going:

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NLT) – Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.

While we were in Thailand at the start of August, we arrived at a point where we had four days of plans locked in and then after that nothing; no flights, no destinations, no plans. It was in this moment God said ‘Do you trust me?’ We said yes (with some trepidation) and then as things fell into place we continued to move forward.

This same scenario occurred three more times. Our plans would run out, we would wait and seek and with only days out we would book tickets and accommodation, pack up our things and keep moving. With each of these transitions we were taken to places and people who God had lined up.

There were many other things that kept our hearts strong along the way.

This song was played many times for encouragement –

This song was also played MANY times for confidence –

This beautiful picture was painted by Dana Jensen. It’s called ‘Walk on the water with me’ and looking at it repeatedly brought hope and strength.

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As we ‘walked on the water’ with Jesus just as Peter did, we read and reflected on this story many times for inspiration.

Matthew 14:28-34 (NLT) – Jesus Walks on Water

28 Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.” 29 “Yes, come,” Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted. 31 Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?”

God was ever-present and always gracious when we would begin to doubt at any time. Right when we needed it, we would receive e-mails or messages from home as well as have conversations with people we met. We are so grateful for the love and support people have shown us along the way.

We’re excited to be home and excited about the future; we don’t have to know all the answers.

We will continue to trust the one who asks us to step out of the boat.

Tim, Jess & Amy

Half a Loaf by Jess

Luke 9:12-17

Late in the afternoon the twelve disciples came to him and said, “Send the crowds away to the nearby villages and farms, so they can find food and lodging for the night. There is nothing to eat here in this remote place.”

But Jesus said, “You feed them.”

“But we have only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered. “Or are you expecting us to go and buy enough food for this whole crowd?” For there were about 5,000 men there.

Jesus replied, “Tell them to sit down in groups of about fifty each.” So the people all sat down.  

Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, looked up toward heaven, and blessed them. Then, breaking the loaves into pieces, he kept giving the bread and fish to the disciples so they could distribute it to the people. They all ate as much as they wanted, and afterward, the disciples picked up twelve baskets of leftovers!

A few observations

  • Jesus asked them to do something they really couldn’t do. The need was far too great for the resources they had.
  • They gave him what they had even while they questioned his logic. Did He really just ask them to feed 5,000 men (plus women and children)?
  • Jesus’ answer was not the same as theirs. They thought they were going to buy bread, but what happened was for more amazing.
  • When Jesus took what they had and multiplied it, He not only met the need, but went beyond that so there was essentially a basket left over for each disciple.

Most of the time, I feel like those loaves and fish, not enough to meet the need. Honestly, sometimes all I have is half a loaf without the fish. When I read this story, I feel like it reaches out of the depths of time and meets me where I’m at.

There are many days when all I have for my daughter, my marriage or for other people is half a loaf. I feel exhausted, wishing I were more. I wish I were like other people who seem to have endless energy and mental capacity; that folks, is not who I am. Most of the time, I’m actually pretty ok with being me. Nevertheless, I have my days when I don’t have a whole lot and I wonder if I’m a disappointment.

What fills me with hope from this testimony in Luke is that there is so much left over from the little that they had in the beginning. Not only does God multiply what we offer Him, He provides more. He doesn’t leave us high and dry with nothing left. He doesn’t take every scrap and leave us starving… I think we often do that to ourselves.

I recently penned these words while discussing this very problem with God…

“I may feel like I don’t have much, but I’ll give you what I have. Ha, ha… you’ll seriously have to do the rest.”

So chin-up, He does a heck of a lot with a little.

Love Jess

God is…. So good by Tim

An incredible thing happened about a week ago. This…

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This photo, this moment, this confirmation is pretty amazing. Let me tell you about something that happened, one year ago. (Que fanciful music)

I was standing in a worship set at Hangar7 Church in Indaiatuba, Brazil on Wednesday the 20th of March 2013. This was part of a Global Awakening ministry trip. I was lost in the love and grace of God when all of a sudden I had a very vivid and real image/vision flash into my mind. It was a picture of Jess, Amy and I standing on the stage at our church Nexus, saying goodbye. It was scary, exciting and overwhelming all at the same time. I started to cry. Tears of release, tears of joy, tears of a son who was hearing from his heavenly Father. I knew God was showing me a moment that was going to be in my future. I didn’t know what it meant or when it would be, but I knew it was real.

I saw the same picture during times of worship three more times that week. Each time I would cry. Each time I felt a separation from the season I was in and God preparing my heart for a new season, a shift, a transition, an adventure.

So, this is what happened last week, Sunday the 2nd of March 2014. Almost one year to the day, the vision became a reality. Myself, Jess and Amy stood on the stage at Nexus Church and we said goodbye to our wider family.

Tim, Jess & Amy Prayer

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God works in mysterious ways. He’s fun, He’s true, He’s good. So we’re off on an adventure in three weeks, but God was nice enough to show us little pieces along the way. What a ride!

Tim

Sweet Confessions by Jess

Confession time, I really love hymns. I know, it’s not exactly eyebrow raising stuff, but stay with me. Sometimes when my emotions are going all over the place, I stop, put on some hymns and all is well… queue singing ‘It is well’. There is a particular version of ‘Tis so sweet by Leah Mari that I love and yes, I sing it a lot at the moment.

Louisa M. R. Stead penned the lyrics to this powerful song and although not much is known about her, it is believed she wrote these words after seeing her husband drown and then endured extreme poverty with her daughter. Wow, what a heart in love with Jesus.

’Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
And to take Him at His Word;
Just to rest upon His promise,
And to know, “Thus says the Lord!”

Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
O for grace to trust Him more!

For me, sometimes trusting God can be difficult, so I sing these words to remind myself of all He is to me and all he has done for me. As I think about various parts of our little trip – well lets face it, it’s really almost every part – nothing has been finalised and that can be unnerving at times. Nevertheless, I will not let fear take a hold as I look to the future with my unanswered questions.

I would hate people to read this and think that singing a song is all I need to get me through or (on the other hand) that I am doubting what God is saying to us. The reality is that I do not like being uncertain and I would much prefer to feel safe and secure. However, by saying yes to God, I am saying that I am safe and secure in Him, not in my own strength, abilities or plans. We can make plans, but He is Lord (Proverbs 16:9).

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Many times I find it easy to trust Him, but other times it is a choice. Right now, I sing this song and I choose to trust Him and of course I pray for grace to trust Him more. So I guess my confession is that I don’t like the unknown, but I know someone who knows it all and I’m continually learning to trust Him more. In my books, that’s pretty sweet.

Love Jess xxoo

P.S – I’m not actually sure who reads these little posts apart from our mums, but if you’re not a hymn lover or even a Christian you can listen to Leah’s version of the whole song here.

Clear the stage by Tim

Anything I put before my God is an idol
Anything I want with all my heart is an idol
And anything I can’t stop thinking of is an idol
And anything that I give all my love is an idol
– Jimmy Needham

Jess and I know all too well that it can be easy to make our gifts, possessions and the people that are close to us our sole focus. These things can become our idols and God is pretty clear that He wants all of our hearts and not second best (see Exodus 20:3-4).

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Early on, we made a conscious decision that we weren’t going to make this trip an idol. How sad would it be if we did this trip, but held onto it so tightly that if God asked us to let it go we wouldn’t? What if we did all this stuff for God, but not with God? What if it became about us and our talents? This means that we are seeking the one who is leading us on this trip more than thinking about the trip itself. This is something that we constantly remind ourselves of to keep our eyes on God.

A song that has inspired us is Clear the Stage by Jimmy Needham. It is a great reminder that it all comes back to our relationship with our heavenly Father and He must be first. In everything.

TG

Daily bread – A testimony by Jess

Give us today our daily bread.   Matthew 6 v 11

When we told our family about our trip, I mentioned that we didn’t know how we’d pay for it. My brother responded by saying that God would provide whatever we would need, but maybe it would be just enough… like in Matthew 6 v 11. In my experience from our other trips, this is usually the case.

Here is a daily bread testimony from the last few days:

~ Yesterday someone anonymously gave us $500.

~ Today we decided it was time to book our flights to the USA, so Tim got an updated quote from our travel agent. The total came to about $3500.

~ We had someone come around to help us process our tax. The estimated return was $3200 (I paid a lot of tax while I was on maternity leave).

~ Tim got the final quote from the travel agent including travel insurance, which came to $3,565.

~ We’ll book the flights on Friday.

Thank you Lord for our daily bread!

Love Jess xxoo