Category Archives: Moving in Faith

We’re Moving

Hello, Friends!

A few months ago WordPress blocked me from uploading pictures since I have uploaded the maximum amount of images allowed for a free WordPress blog.  (Whaaaaat?! I  know.)

So…we’re moving to a new website very soon!  I’ve been working on getting things set up, and I’ll be back soon to give you directions to our new home on the web.

Until then, love to all~

Christy

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Extreme Giving

So you guys, in my last post I talked about giving sacrificially.  Well, THIS is an inspiring model of giving radically. A story of someone who is giving when logic would say he should be saving every penny he can.  This is an example of someone living in obedience when it is risky, of  trusting that God is good–that He can be trusted even when we humans can’t see a happy next chapter just yet.   (Read more by clicking:  HERE.) Scroll to the bottom for the story

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Did you follow the link? Well, please take two minutes to read the story.  It’s short and worth the read.

This story is extra special special, too, because it’s related to our next step here in Atlanta.  A couple, Dwight and Zonya Gingerich have agreed to move to Atlanta to serve with Steve and I in our community and to start a church together.

Two weeks ago they found a charming house that is such a great fit for their family and is located within walking distance of our house. They were ready to make an offer, but there were a few logistical complications with the loan process. Some just-for-fun brainstorming online and lots of unexpected support led to the hatching of plan unlike anything we’ve seen before.

Um, what? Well, Dwight and Zonya are getting their loan by the collaborative effort of an incredibly generous network of friends, acquaintances and fellow believers.  That’s right, people are currently pledging a loan amount of their choice (currently ranging in amounts from $75-$5,000). Their goal is $80,000 and in just a few days they have raised nearly half of that amount which certainly speaks of their reputable character.

They could use your help. If you are interested in being a part of the body of Christ coming together to support each other through financial giving in an admittedly unconventional way, read Dwight’s blog post (HERE) where he describes in detail the story, the plan, and the legal considerations.

Here’s the Cliffs Christy’s Notes version:  Pledge to loan any amount. ($250 and $500 are two popular amounts.)  After at least 60K has been pledged, you will receive information for where to send a check. Dwight and Zonya will then make an offer on the house and will repay the lenders the amount loaned + 10% interest at random within 15 years. If you would choose to loan them, say $300, sometime within fifteen years you will have the fun of receiving a surprise $330 in your mailbox.

As you can imagine, they are on a faith journey as they wait for God to provide funding for the house. Even if you aren’t able to pledge a gift or loan, please pray that God would give them peace and courage as they wait and that He would provide for their housing needs.  We have confidence in Him.

 

Learning to See God’s Goodness in Pain

Life is a mixture of joy and sorrow. Sometimes they come at different times but so often we aren’t given the space to feel first one than the other–we’re grieving loss and enjoying beauty all at once.  We’re rich; we’re impoverished.

I’ve felt this intertwining of deep emotions so much the last few years.  There have been so many answered prayers, so many touches from God, so many times when His provision became unmistakable.  We’ve also lived with financial insecurity like never before, wrestled the demons of distrust and depression and faced significant health problems. That is only a part of all that was hard, and there were days I didn’t know if I could keep living–or if I wanted to.

These trials have the power to crush and break us. They could turn us into dark, bitter people who grumble constantly about life.  They can also push us in the most healing, redemptive ways when God’s grace is poured over the shattering of our hearts–when we recognize His goodness even in the middle of pain.

I have been broken. My world has been turned upside down. My life has been shattered in the past few years.15 June-4792-2

Yet, in a period of darkness, God has ministered to me in ways I can’t even describe with words. It is only His grace that gave me enough courage to keep walking because everything inside of me was done.

Little by little I’ve been learning that God is a safe place to run to. Of course I’ve been taught this my whole life. I’ve known that He is good. But learning to KNOW this truth from deep inside my heart has given me a deep peace to hold me during the hard times we face.

In our time here in Atlanta  I’ve felt a desperate need to lean on Him like never before.  It is because of this that I see God’s goodness in the pain.  I look back and can list one thing after another that has made life so hard, but because of the incredible grace of God I could can see the beauty in those trials.

What has surprised me most is the way phrases I’ve heard so often [and passed off as somewhat cliche] turned into keen reality. Statements like,

We feel your prayers.

God is providing for us.

We appreciate your support.

He is enough.

I knew they were true, but I’ve never before felt them so clearly.  Now instead of seeming glib or cliché they seem like a pathetic effort in expressing immense gratitude. Sometimes there simply are not enough words to describe the depths of our feelings.  I find myself saying these phrases to people and wonder if they could have any idea how much I mean those words.

I want to tell you some of the stories because God has answered so many prayers of mine, and I want Him to receive more of the glory He deserves.

And, yes, I’m totally aware that I often start a series, but only write the first one or two parts. This life changing belief, though, can’t be kept to myself, and I do hope I can tell you some of the ways God has shown me that He sees and cares about me. That He is good. That He is safe. That He is not silent.

Mostly I really want Him to receive glory. He deserves praise and honor. I also hope the new life He’s bringing to me can encourage you to trust Him more, too.

On Giving What You’ve Got

I did a photo shoot for COR the other day which was pretty exciting.  Since we first moved here I knew I’d love to have this chance someday.  I think photography is really important, but depending the direction you go with it can feel kind of like fluff.  Using it instead to expose issues or to bring beauty to someone who has suffered a lot of loss could be powerful and life changing.

When the development director first contacted me about taking pictures of COR’s programs, I was ecstatic.

The morning of the shoot I woke up feeling grim and just thinking getting dressed felt like a big deal. Work all day when I could be enjoying Steve’s day off with my family, lugging equipment, and working with difficult lighting situations didn’t sound very glamorous.

Worse, yet, I was filled with insecurity and wanted to do nothing besides burrow under the covers.  Why did I agree to do this? Now I’m feeling rough…how will I make it through the day? I don’t know if I have the skills. What if I don’t get the shots they need?  I don’t think I’m qualified for this.

There are many days when I am weak and timid and self-doubting, but God is strong and confident and secure. I want to learn to exchange my thoughts for His thoughts about me.

That morning I prayed that God would give me strength, got dressed and headed to the mission.  I got there a few minutes early and my brain was still racing with reasons that I was not cut out for this job. Mostly I was so afraid that I’d send in pictures that were sub-par.

Asking God to please give me a word, I reached for my Bible lying beside me and flipped it open. The story in front of me was the parable of the talents ending with the verse telling us that if we use the talents we have been given we’ll be given more talents, but if we don’t use what we’ve been given they will be taken away.

Doesn’t it just blow you away when God speaks so specifically to what you needed right in a moment??!  It gave me such a rush and  a feeling of protection to know that God knew how insecure I was feeling and gave me the encouragement I needed to hear.

I was praying as I walked inside that I would be faithful with the gifts He has given me and could find JOY in them.  Maybe I felt like I only had a little strength…but I would use that little bit of strength today as long as it lasted.  Maybe I felt I only had a little bit of skill…but I would use that little bit of skill for His glory.

It helped me remember that He would walk with me all day, that He would give me strength, that He was the one who had given me a creative eye and a mind for details and wanted me to do well.

The day went well.  It was hard work, but I was stronger than I expected I’d be. I had an assistant who helped me carry gear and set up lighting and who supported me in lots of ways.  There were situations that required flexibility and creativity, but God gave me ideas for how to work with them. Several people were angry with me for taking pictures, but God gave me peace (after some initial shakiness and more prayer) and I was able to keep moving forward.

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Last evening I put together a small collection of photos to give to the development director and for the first time I realized that the pictures were solid.  What’s really great, is how  these pictures now feel like a gift from God.  They aren’t about my abilities, but the fact that He will use us and give abundance when we’re willing to use the small gifts we have been given.