Learning from the Oldies.

Stuart and I have been living as “nomads” for almost two months now. He quit his job in September so we could focus our full attention on fundraising. (Which will hopefully mean we’ll raise it faster, and be able to get on campus quicker.) However, the downside is that it also means we’re making about enough money to just feed ourselves and fill up our car. Forget rent, forget cable, forget extravagant Christmas gifts. But luckily we have amazing parents who have graciously opened their homes to us, and currently we’re living with my mom, and after Thanksgiving we’ll be living in Indiana with Stuart’s parents. If not for them, we probably wouldn’t be able to fundraise full time.

Sometimes since Stuart and I are 27, married, living with our parents, and working a job that at times feels really unproductive, it can be really easy to get discouraged about life. Fundraising can often feel never-ending and like there’s always more you should be doing. So I often find myself asking, “What should my priorities be?” “Should I spend time with friends and family on some evenings, or should I keep every waking moment open for fundraising opportunities?” “There’s so much to do, but what’s the most important part?” And then there’s times when it feels like I’m doing everything I should be doing but not seeing any success or results from my labor. Which makes me wonder why God isn’t providing our support faster since I’m working really hard and doing exactly what He called me to do.

I recently started reading through the Old Testament. I started in Joshua, and am making my way through to Malachi. Usually, when I open the Bible to read, I turn either to the New Testament or Psalms/Proverbs. I have this weird mindset that since the Old Testament is OLD (I mean, it IS in the name…) it won’t be as relatable as the teachings of Jesus and Paul. Jesus and Paul just have this way of speaking right to my heart. But I know the Old Testament is as inspired and as important as the New Testament, so I set out to learn from the oldies.

Joshua wasn’t the easiest read, most of the time it felt like I was reading scenes from 300 or Gladiator. Lots of battles, and lots of death. But what was neat was how even though the Israelites would constantly turn away from God, He never stopped fighting for them. I mean, God even defied the laws of science and made the sun stand still so they could finish up a battle. So I stuck it out, knowing that even in the midst of the massacres, there had to be lessons that could relate to my life.

And then I read the last chapter, Joshua 24. God is speaking to the Israelites, and starting in verse 12, He reminds them of the time He sent hornets ahead of them to drive out the “bad guys,” because He knew that if they won the battle by their own swords, they would get prideful of “their” accomplishments. So God took matters into his own hands. (Reminds me of the scene in The Hunger Games with the tracker jackers…random thought.) Then God lays it all out:

“I gave you a land on which you had not labored, and cities that you had not built, and you dwell in them. You eat the fruit of vinyards and olive orchards that you did not plant. Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness.” (Joshua 24:13-14)

And all the sudden it hit me…I’m living in a home I didn’t buy, and a lot of times eating food we didn’t provide…the Israelite’s situation sounds a lot like mine! And the whole thing with the hornets even relates: Sometimes people come out of the wood work who want to support us, people we never contacted or sometimes don’t even know. I would call that God going ahead of us and instead of driving out the bad guys, He’s bringing in the good guys!

And the best part is that my question of what my priorities should be and what’s most important is all laid out for me. God provides what I need, (right now, a roof over my head and food to sustain me) and I’m simply called to serve Him. That’s it. I don’t have to go figure it all out, I don’t have to have it all under control. I just have to faithfully and sincerely serve my God. And if I don’t know what that means, He’ll show me. So in reality, I just need to be willing to do what He calls me to do, and trust that He’ll take care of the rest. Even if it sounds crazy.

After all, God called Noah to build the ark, THEN he brought the rain. It wasn’t like it was sprinkling outside when God said “build,” and the weather person wasn’t calling for heavy, deathly showers in the future.

God called Abraham to kill his son Isaac, waited for him to lift the knife, THEN he provided the ram.

God called the Israelites to march around Jericho like crazy people for 7 days, THEN he brought those walls down. (If ever a time for an “I told you so” moment, that was it.)

God doesn’t always promise that we’ll understand his calling, or that we’ll know what the end result will be. But if the Bible, and our past experience teaches us anything, it’s that GOD PROVIDES. He doesn’t say “do this” and then flake on us.

So right now, Stuart and I are called to fundraise full-time, which means living with our parents, being very poor and making a TON of potentially awkward phone calls. IT SEEMS CRAZY. But we know that God will provide, because He already has, and furthermore, because He says He will.

“The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still.”

Exodus 14:14

  • Mike Elsner

    Jenn, another great post-you have a good way of laying it all out there. I am reading 1 and 2 Kings along with 1 and 2 Chronicles just to become better familiarized with them because they are not the most often studied. I find that prayer really helps with the MPD process, but I don’t do it enough and I don’t always pray as expectantly as I should. Writing down those moments where the unexpected happens can be really helpful for the down times. I’m sure going back through your blog entries months from now will be encouraging and amazing! Enjoy the time you have with your family in this unique season of life, because you might just miss parts of it when it’s over.

    • Jenn

      Thanks so much Mike!! You are always so encouraging. I am really loving reading the Old Testament…way more than I expected. And you’re right, my blog is somewhat of an online journal of sorts. I love that I can share my journey with others. Thanks for commenting!