My wife and I volunteered at the Helping Up Mission in Baltimore and were involved in a church plant in Meade Village before we were married. We knew what it was like to serve. There are a lot of people who really need to hear about Jesus. My wife, Linda, and I walk away from those experiences feeling so fulfilled and so happy that we got to meet these people. We know that we love to serve, but we haven't always felt that way.
We felt that we hit a plateau spiritually and just weren't really growing anymore. Preparing for our marriage brought up some things from my past that couldn't continue. Struggling with addiction and trying to keep that struggle to myself had created an uphill battle for us. That changed the day my mentor from our church planting experience looked at me in the eye and said, “Are you ready to deal with this?” and I responded with, “Yeah, what do I do?”
My wife and I recently bought a house and as we were fixing it the way we liked it, we talked about how sometimes God needs to rearrange things in your spiritual house. Sometimes those things are foundational. It feels like God is also doing that in our lives, needing to rip out some walls, put in a door, adjust our foundation.
How awesome is it that our God does that? Even though this “remodeling” hurts, He's making our foundation solid so that He can build on it something much better than what there was before.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain on the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” John 15:1-4
This passage in John perfectly describes the process God is bringing us through—the hard process of letting go of the things that God doesn’t want in our lives so we can become more like Him. Over the past two years, it has been scary and hurtful, but it has also been liberating. My understanding of God's grace, forgiveness, and love has grown exponentially because coming clean about my past has released me from what had been plaguing me.
As a result, God has been doing amazing work in our lives.
As our “spiritual house” was being remodeled by God, we decided that we needed a move.
I said, “Let's try out Severn Run,” and right away we felt that this was where we wanted to be. When we came here, the church had just begun emphasizing integral missions through the Be The Difference challenge, which was a major part of what we were looking to grow in. So that Sunday we stopped by the table in the atrium promoting ongoing missions, and that's where I first heard about the Transformation Center. We felt the challenge pushing us in the right direction. I'm the kind of person that sees stickers and says, “Sign me up!” Serving alongside other members was a great way for us to get to know people in the church.
God is leading us through a time of great personal growth. Now I feel like God is preparing us for...something. It looks like we are going to be in the preparing stage for a while because we have a lot to do. But we are excited! To be enjoying the process is a hard thing sometimes, but that is what we feel God is teaching us. The cool thing is, if God is preparing us for something it must be worth preparing for!