This week I celebrated my 48th birthday!
L’chaim is a Hebrew word meaning – “to life” and is used as a toast for many occasions but often celebrating the Jewish New Year and at weddings or times of new beginnings.
This birthday was unique because on September 1, 2010 I not only celebrated another year of my life but it was the first day of a new season and a new beginning of life for me. For the past three years I have faithfully served in the position of Director of Development for Jim Elliot Christian High School…
- a school that we founded through God’s divine direction
- a ministry that I am passionate about
- a position where I could effectively use my God-given gifts and talents while helping to put food on the table and still be a Mom and the number one influencer to my children
In the spring I was informed by our school board that JECHS would be taking a new direction for development thus eliminating my current position. It was greatly emphasized that this was in no way a commentary on my job performance or effectiveness which was highly successful and appreciated, just simply a change of direction.
While this took me by surprise, I know that the Lord has a plan for the school as well as for my family and me and that His plan is ALWAYS good! I trust that the Lord uses leadership to move ministries in the direction He desires. Although, I will greatly miss being involved in the daily life of the school, communicating regularly with the Jim Elliot family and sharing my passion for the school in a public forum, my heart and commitment to this ministry is solid & unwavering! (plus with three girls currently attending, four more kiddos coming up through the ranks, with the youngest graduating in 2027 & a husband who “lives” and breathes this amazing school…I will likely be ever-present.)
So all summer long I knew that the special day that God chose to bring me into this world…September 1…was also the day that I would wake up facing a new season of life. Dan and I have spent much time in prayer and conversation both together and with a small group of trusted friends & family members seeking wisdom and direction for our future.
We have been here before – early in our marriage when we chose to both leave full-time youth ministry to have Dan pursue his college degree and then again when he graduated and we decided to work in Christian education instead of the church ministry that we thought would be our direction. In 1997 we took a major leap of faith when we set out to start a Christian high school from scratch with no personal income and no major financial investors or donors. Then three years ago when we felt led to redirect the use of my gifts and talents away from business pursuits to bring our school to a new level of excellence.
And now we are here…another crossroads in life, another time of change and challenges, another opportunity to step out in faith and see our BIG God – do BIG things!
Here are our Financial Facts
- On paper Dan’s Christian school salary along with a small income from my CM business pays for all of our financial obligations (what we have committed funds to – not food & daily living) with a shortfall of $111.
- We live a very simple life with little extra’s – no fancy phones, no cable, no new clothes, camping vacation, old vehicles, small home, few home repairs completed, lots of beans & rice – etc…
- Of all of our financial obligations the only extra’s we could cut are Netflix(done!), school fees by pulling the girls out of school which we do not feel is God’s will and do not plan to do(while we do not pay tuition as a benefit of Dan’s employment we do pay the fees which with 3 enrolled this year it is a monthly bill that could save us money) and we could re-negotiate with our orthodontist for a lower monthly payment which we will pursue. These things would help alleviate the shortfall.
- Some would argue that we could cut out our extra giving (World Vision, Compassion International, Missionary support) but this does not sit well with our spirit so unless God spoke directly for us to do that we will not.
- Our mortgage is less than almost anywhere we would rent so “downsizing” is not really an option to save money (We live in a 1400 square foot home)
- What we “on paper” do not have money for and what my compensation took care of is – food, household & personal supplies, gas, saving for yearly bills like car registrations, property taxes, homeowners fees, and all the “little” things that come up, when essential things break down or homeschool expenses.
- My income also paid for our “extras” of life – sports fees, field trips, birthday parties, christmas, senior year extra expenses, baby portraits, gas to visit friends or family, postage, make up, hair cuts, special events, coffee & ice cream – all things that are a bonus but we can live without!
Please do not think that I am complaining because I am not. I have an amazing & blessed life that I love!
Please do not think that we are disturbed, distressed or distraught because we are not! I simply share these “facts” to give you an idea of one of the areas that we are believing for God to take care of during this next season of life. (not to mention many of you are facing the same challenges and I hope it encourages you to know that you are not alone and increase your faith that God is in control)
Here is our Foundation of Faith
- God will provide for all of our needs – “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Phillipans 4:19
- God has a perfect plan – “For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
- God will give us wisdom – “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” James 1:5
- God will use our trials to help others (so if you are troubled about the “wisdom” of our openness this is why – we hope it encourages others) – “He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.” 2 Corinthians 1:4
- God is doing a new work in us that will result in great growth & results and we are thrilled! – “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4
- God has uniquely and purposefully given us gifts to be used for His purpose in the body. I need to continue to use those gifts for God – “It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” Ephesians 4:11-13 (also 1 Corinthians 12 & Matthew 25:14-30)
Now about that Future
We believe that God is opening new doors for me to use the gifts and talents He gave me in the areas of speaking and writing to inspire others to live a life of purpose, passion and praise.
I have been speaking and writing for over 25 years as a youth pastor, teacher, businesswoman, blogger and development director. I have been used by God to inspire those around me in many facets of life through interpersonal relationships that I have developed along the way. I know God has also given me the experience and opportunities to grow these gifts. I take no credit for what God has done. It is all Him! I want to follow His voice and His lead.
So after wrapping up a few details for our school this coming week, I will begin to step out in faith looking to and leaning on the Lord for wisdom, guidance, strength and His divine favor as we start a new work…
living a life of purpose, passion & praise
I hope that through this new ministry that I will be able to speak and write to people of all ages and all walks of life and inspire them to be purposeful & passionate about their:
- calling (vocation or ministry)
while also inspiring us all to live a life of praise which includes – a life of gratitude, glorifying to God, a life worthy of praise and commendation.
I hope to use the avenues of conferences, retreats, special events, meetings, conference calls, webinars and church services to speak about these things that God has placed on my heart. I hope to also write articles, books and increase my blogging to also accomplish this purpose. I hope to be available to continue helping others through my everyday life as well…those “divine” appointments God puts in all of our paths.
I am ready & willing to put my whole heart into this ministry…investing my time and talent. Dan too will be involved, as he is able, in addition to his awesome ministry to young people at Jim Elliot. (He is a great speaker with many insights on the Word of God, ministering to teens, marriage & parenting)
We are believing and praying that the Lord will bring us others to partner with us through both their prayers and financial support. We want those who believe in
- our message
- our example
- our love for others
- our integrity
- our ability to communicate effectively
to help us get this ministry going and then keep it growing strong and giving us the freedom to speak wherever God leads us (not only to churches or organizations with large budgets or resources).
To start up this ministry (paperwork, filing non-profit status, creating a website, mailings, promotional & home office expenses) will take approximately $10,000. To keep it running we will need to initially raise $4,000 a month. (for example perhaps 200 supporters at $20 per month or 100 at $40 a month) We know that if this is truly the Lord’s will….that He will provide the resources for us to go out and inspire others through speaking and writing.
As I begin a new year of life and a new season of ministry I am filled with excitement to see what God will do in us and through us. My prayer is that we will –
- Live a life on the cutting edge!
- Live a life of extraordinary faith!
- Live a life surrendered to God!
- Live a life that inspires others to live a life of purpose, passion & praise!
To Life! To Life! L’Chaim!
P.S. If you are…
- interested in partnering with us through prayer and financial support of this new ministry
- would like to be on the Inspire Ministries mailing list
- have words of encouragement or wisdom for us in this endevour
- are interested in having me (or Dan or both of us) coming to speak at your church, group, ministry, conference, retreat or organization and want to start exploring that opportunity
…please leave a comment on this blog or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org