On June 28, 2012 Daniel and I celebrated exactly one year since we quit our jobs, sold our stuff, and moved back home to Pampa, Tx. Why you ask? Well, that’s a loaded question, but the quick answer and really the only one that suffices is that God called us home and we answered.
Pretty bizarre right? I know, it sounds pretty crazy but as I look back on this crazy year I realize that God had been planning our steps long before he placed a burden in our hearts to move back home.
You see, my husband is a pastor. Yep, ripped, mohawk-ed, tattooed, and pierced. Regardless of all that (which is pretty stinkin cool to me) before we even got together he knew he was called to the ministry. I know many of you think this of your significant other or spouse but my husband is gifted. Not just in fitness and nutrition, but in his words and voice. Even his professors in college told him that his voice had the right kind of inflection and note that would capture attention and authority. Which is also strange because if you know my husband, he is a total goof! He however, has this insane SPIRITUAL GIFT that I prayed one day I could possess.
When watching him teach a client form, preach at Sunday school, or give a message at church I was totally captivated by the WAY and MANNER he said things. His TONE was calm, inviting, and knowing without force or fear. I would always joke that he had the “batline” to God. He always said what I and others needed to hear, but above all I could see JESUS in the way he acted, the way he spoke, and the way he simply was. My husband restored my relationship to God, but alas that story is a whole ‘nother blog in itself ;
For the last 3 years in Austin, Daniel looked constantly for a ministry position. He was denied at every chance, and even discouraged by our current pastor. We both were stuck in this rut of fast paced Austin, that wasn’t feeding us what we needed. Sure we had great jobs, lived close to family, and had great success in the fitness industry. There was always something missing and it was what truly makes us all happy–serving others.
A year prior to the Facebook post that changed everything, we would talk and joke about Pampa. One thing we both said is that we felt like “our heart was in Pampa, and we were apart from our heart.” We talked about how amazing it would be if we could move back home–HOME. Not just a physical place where you live but a FEELING that you are where you need to be. We knew that Austin was not the place we needed to be, but we had no way to leave the life we made there.
Little did we realize was that God had us in Austin for a PURPOSE and a TIME. A desert time to learn the skills we would need to be in Pampa and serve the people here.
When we saw that Cj Frazier and his brother were planting a church in Pampa, we were shocked and excited. God had opened a door, but he wasn’t going to make it easy for us. He was giving us an opportunity to jump out of the boat, head first, and without life jackets. Quit our perfectly great jobs? Move back to P-town? Not get paid? How will we survive? Where will we live?
All these thoughts and more raced through my mind, but Daniel was undeterred. One of the many qualities I admire about him is his ability to trust God completely. I constantly struggle with doubt instead of putting my fears aside and letting God handle the best and the worst outcome.
To recap the year would take an eternity! Suffice it to say, Daniel and I began with less than five clients and are now at over 40 at our gym. We started with 500 square feet of training space and now have over a thousand. We lived with my brother and sister-in-law, as well as their children for over 9 months, and now we have our own apartment. We have been a part of every Project Red, and have raised money through seminars to help serve the people of Pampa. Despite the long hours of driving back and forth to Canyon to finish my degree, still cooking healthy meals, getting homework done, hit my training for myself, and training others at the gym I have never felt more at ease at the sometimes chaos state my life is in. It is BUSY, STRESSFUL, but FULL. Full of what God has changed in me to help do what I and you were called to do above anything else. God did above and beyond what I prayed for; he exceeded every expectation and opened every door.
The only take away I can give you is that we have to LISTEN and RESPOND to God’s call. Whatever way that may be or look like, we have to first seek him out and ask yourself the hard questions. Are you supposed to be learning something in this season? Are there opportunities present that you are stalling on making a decision because of fear or doubt at what the risk would be? If you are desperate for change, have you first PRAYED and sought out God’s final word on it? Sometimes we don’t like the answer, because He will either ask us to be patient and WAIT, or risk it all and GO FOR IT.
I can tell you I spent most of my life shying away from the potential God had for me. I am ashamed and disappointed that I not only let him down, but I let his people down. God changed my heart, and there is NO WAY I can go back to life as usual. The burden I have now for this city and these people is what makes me wake up every day with a smile and a thankful heart.
God can and does change people. We have to be willing to lay down what we know with our human understanding, and trust God to do impossible things. We can’t ask him to magically make our lives better–he calls us to be transformed, to be his disciples, and to do things we are uncomfortable with. Like quit our jobs, sell all our stuff, and move far away from family and friends. You will NOT find comfort in the things of this world–money, possessions, fame. Sure it is nice for a while! It seems pretty but when you look closely it is just a mask for the pain we have in our hearts.
In closing I first want to thank God: my provider, my healer, my peace, and my father. You have created in me a true understanding of your love. I’m sorry that I wasted so much time trying to band-aid my wounds with things and people. Thank you for giving me life again–for never EVER giving up on me. You spoke everyday, and I refused to listen because I thought I had all the answers. I am THANKFUL I don’t have the answers. In fact, I pray that every day be a surprise–whether good or bad, mountain top or valley one thing I KNOW with certainty is that my purpose is completed in you. There is absolutely no better feeling that showing the people in this city your love, now that I accept it and live with it everyday.
Thank you father, for the people reading this blog today. I pray that you begin to tear down the walls that this world has put up to block you out. I ask that you HEAL the hearts of your children. Help them to fully comprehend your love and begin to live in your FREEDOM! I ask that you give them courage to step out of the boat and receive the blessings you have in store for them.
Till next time, and 2 years later.
Romans 8:37-39 “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”