Friday, November 23, 2007

Respite

Here I sit in my parents' kitchen. It's been a relaxing two days...lots of turkey with all the fixings. It's amazing how slow life goes in the Thumb of Michigan. It almost seems like when you hit the Huron County line life changes instantly. It's laid back, it's low key, it's rest. I needed some rest...I still need more, but I must go back home tomorrow and get ready to lead worship one last time at Origins.

A bit of me is very nervous about the coming months. I don't have a job lined up. Starting December 1, I'll only have half-time pay and need to make up the rest of my income somehow. I've been informed by my mother that she talks with lots of people who read this blog all the time...who would have thought? So, if you're reading this, pray for me and Heidi...for provision, for a job, for a season without the stress we've faced in the last few years.

Grace & Peace,
Jake

Monday, November 19, 2007

Third Time's a Charm

A little over a month ago I fasted and prayed for eight days. I broke the fast with a wonderful wet burrito from El Chisme (R.I.P.), but I’m not here to talk about fasting or eating today. Today I want to talk a bit about what God was showing me during that fast. As many of you know, fasts are fairly regular in my life. I think it’s a spiritual discipline that helps me retain (or regain) focus on God and being obedient. The reason for this fast was really three-fold. The first and foremost reason was to enter into a season of thankfulness and giving honor to God for the conception of Baby Blakeney. We had just found out that Heidi was pregnant, and it seemed right to devote some time to being grateful to God for this incredible blessing. The second reason was to enter into a season of preparation. They say that when you get married you realize just how selfish you are, and then when you have children you realize to a greater degree how selfish you are. So, I wanted to rid myself of as much…uh…self…as I possibly could. The third reason for the fast was to seek God’s face regarding my job and church.

As many of you know, a little over a year ago Heidi and I helped plant a church. We were committed to not becoming just another run of the mill church (the Lord knows Grand Rapids doesn’t need any more of those), and the future looked promising. There was a passion, an excitement in the air…the newness of it all lit a fire under us to work hard and build something new. Over the course of time, the newness wore off and reality set in that said it would be much more difficult than we had expected.

It was during the fast that God reminded me of the two times over the past five years of marriage where I was without work due to losing my jobs. Each time God provided in ways that were unthinkable (random cash in the mail, odd jobs, gifts from friends, etc.). One day towards the end of my eight-day fast I was praying and sensed God saying to me, “Jake, do you trust me?” I said, “Of course I do.” He said, “Ok, then I want you to leave your job.” I said, “Good one, God, you should go on Last Comic Standing.” But as I kept praying, I got the sense that he was serious. It was as if he wanted me to willingly put myself into the position of relying on him for provision where before I was always forced into the position.

This is a scary thing to do when you’re married and renting an apartment…let alone owning a house and having a baby on the way. So, as of yesterday morning, I officially resigned my position at our church. I will complete the month of November and then it’s on to other things. I don’t know what those things will be, but I’m trusting that God will provide us with money to pay the bills, eat, and keep our health insurance. The emotions running through my veins right now are nervousness, anxiety, excitement, and sadness. There are people at this church that I will miss immensely…they have ultimately been my church family for the last three years, and my hope is that the relationships will not just diminish. But I think that overall, there is a renewed sense of vigor in my life because I know I’m being obedient to God. There is nothing in this world that compares to knowing that you are submitting to God.

This will be the third time since Heidi and I have been married htat I've been without a job. So, I need one quickly…know of any? Let me know.