As I spent a day yesterday showing the family cabin to prospective tenants – the house we’ve been able to call home for over a year now and the house my parents and us spent a lot of money and time making into a home for us… I couldn’t help getting discouraged yesterday. I can’t imagine not getting to call Tuolumne County home long-term. This is where I grew up and my wife and I have “fallen in love” with you guys, Tuolumne County friends! Today’s time alone wiht God was so refreshing, reading in the book of Joel. It’s such a picture of repentance and grace for followers of Jesus. As we break and give in before the Lord, He reveals His better purposes, plans we could never have come up with on our own.
Carrie’s and my hope is not found in what house we get to call home, and yet God has encouraged us time and time again by little sightings of His better intentions. Our move to Merced, CA to be nearer to my business for a least a year or two, has been blessed with the fact that we get to move right back into the house we called home for two years down there in 2012 and 2013. We feel at home in that house, and yet we’re learning to not find our ultimate security in what house we’re calling home in any given year. We are grateful to God for His provision.
We’ve also been really looking forward to doing life together more. We can come up and do a wedding in Sonora – Carrie’s business is floral, planning, and design all related to weddings most often http://www.typeasociety.com. We can also come up to simply be and enjoy life with our dear friends up here. We can come and join into what God is doing up here whenever we want to and do so together. When we’re in Merced we can be there together, with a little less isolation from each other, building oneness in our marriage and family life, tying into what God has going on down there, serving and loving on the community in Merced which we also have come to love and enjoy deeply.
Tuolumne County is not an easy county to make a living in as many of you know too well. While the commute thing has worked okay, we’re wanting to be realistic and admit that I need to be in my office a good four days minimum per week to really get it going well. We’d love to have a second agency up here in Tuolumne County one day, but then again, that would just be all the more overhead and responsibility. As a bi-vocational, pastorally-minded dude, I want to minister through my business, but I also want to be free enough day-to-day to minister with no business association to the interactions as God opens doors in community life. So, we’ve been waiting on the Lord and thinking creatively for how to be impactful in both communities while not being so fragmented to where we aren’t really present or beneficial in either community.
Jim Elliot has a famous quote that a ministry I’ve been getting involved with called AllThere http://www.allthere.org is based on, “Wherever you are, be all there.” In our era of virtual presence, where people are less and less actually present and accounted for in each others’ lives, Carrie and I along with so many dear friends are wrestling with how to be ALL THERE, fully present in each interaction and in each situation God has placed in our lives for the good of others and glory of God. All of us have very unique contexts of life in which to live this out and show the Love of God to one another and to love God by loving one another.
For Carrie and me, we are wanting to model for our son Jackson a life of dependence upon the Word, the Holy Spirit, and God’s Spirit as He works through His children. We’re deeply grateful for so many dear family members and friends who have modeled for us dependence upon God. We trust that God will continue to lead you and us day-to-day. May we live all-in and all-there for the glory of Jesus Christ!
In His friendship,
P.S. Tom, thanks again and again for these amazing pics! This is Tom sitting on “the diving board” on the edge of Half Dome in Yosemite National Park. There are about 2,000 vertical feet under Tom here, friends. Great picture of staying right on the edge and yet strangly feeling peace, knowing that the Rock will not drop us, and yet as we stay extended and leaning into the LORD’s goodness, we can experience the enlivening greatness of His worth! I’ve layed out on this rock and looked down for extended periods of time. It’s a rush, and yet you KNOW you’re okay. The ROCK is solid, friends! We can trust HIM and we can much more enjoy life as we do, no matter how freaky it all looks. The ROCK is good and He is real and trustworthy!