Summer is cresting in South Africa. We took our first dip in the pool on Sunday. (Shout out to our smokin-hott pool man, Chris Ladd!) Lifa and Chris spend most afternoons kicking the soccer ball or throwing the Frisbee, while I sit on the porch steps, petting puppies and cheering on my handsome crew.
Lifa is working on his signature “ZINGAAAAAA” Frisbee throw - which means he usually ends up either face-planting in the bushes or break dancing in the grass. (It’s a work in progress, people.)
My favorite moments lately are the secret sunrises from the back porch. On our quiet morning coffee dates, Chris and I sit close (because he’s just so good looking), and we get close. We want to live a life that savors every sunrise, soccer goal and family swim. We steal away together in the early mornings to seal up those moments and let them become a part a part of who we are. It’s how we date.
Last month, we had a powerful dinner table moment when we shared with Lifa that we were made to be a church family. (Read about it here.) He exploded with excited questions and a visible sense of security. What is there to worry about when your family is doing what it was made to do?
If our family was made to be a church family, then we should just be a church family.
Lifa logic. Plain and simple.
We took a risk and told the world the plans and purpose God placed in us:
We will start taking steps toward planting and pastoring a church after a season of transitioning from our current ministry and a brief sabbatical.
|back porch moments|
We threw a faith ZINGAAAAA without knowing the place, people or timing for this church, only knowing what we were made to do. We invited you in to the process to pray with us. What’s faith without risking a face-plant or break dance anyway?
In the weeks since then, our dinner table and back porch are writing stories and shaping secrets. We are already experiencing revelation about the dinner table we will set for His house and the peace-filled place we’ll gather with the Family of God. Our coffee dates and sunrises are foreshadowing a love story far beyond our greatest imaginings. God is putting direction on this church a lot sooner than we thought we were ready for!
A few nights ago, we sat on the back porch and told Lifa that Mom and Dad are taking a trip. Lifa will visit his biological father during the first week of October for his school holiday. “Lifa, while you are at your dad’s, we’re going on a trip to Cape Town. It’s like a Mom and Dad date.” Lifa nodded contentedly without a single question.
What is there to ask questions about when your mom and dad are doing what moms and dads do? Lifa logic.
Chris and I never dated in the traditional sense of dating. Some of that was because we live in a place that’s unsafe to go out at night and we already had a child.
Our non-traditional dating had much more to do, however, with us deciding first and dating second. We sat far apart, on separate couches in fact, and shared the promises God has placed in us individually. (Read my rhyme about it here.) Then we chose to chase them together. We chose to watch the rest of the sunrises and walk the rest of the way together. And to sit really close when we weren’t walking.
We made a covenant. We said yes. And then we dated the way moms and dads date – with Lifa on his bike right in front of us.
|Lifa right in front of us...|
|And Gerry the Giraffe right behind us.|
We got married, and then we met each other’s families. As husband and wife, we explored each other’s cities and walked through each other’s stories for the first time. We dated through downtown Knoxville and along the shores of Galveston Island.
|Great Smoky Mountain hiking in Tennessee|
I didn’t even have to worry when he found out how crazy my family is because he was already mine, and we knew we would take on crazy and coasts, families and futures together for the rest of our sunrises and sunsets. (It’s ok to publically call them crazy. They put pantyhose on their heads for Christmas – there’s no exaggeration happening here.)
|Beach walking in Texas|
Almost one year ago, we said, “I do.”
And now we’ve said, “We will.”
We have covenanted to be a church family.
Chris and I are going to Cape Town, South Africa on October 2nd -7th because we feel God inviting us there. In collaboration with wise counsel, we feel God directing us to a specific region and building a specific vision in us. We can hear the One whose chosen us beckoning us to come on a date.
This “Mom and Dad Date” is a ZINGAAAAA, y’all. We’re going to the other side of this nation, to a city very different from the one we now call home. We are going because God has asked us to come see, explore and pray there as we prepare for a church.
We are going there to date the way moms and dads date - with the Family in mind, focused on being better together, and ready for any kind of crazy, coast, family and future.
Please pray with us as we go. There will absolutely be coffee-sipping and close-sitting while we are there, but the purpose of our trip to Cape Town is in response to a call from God.
We are going expecting a yes or no to a church plant in Cape Town.
Please join us in praying for that clear word from God. Also, pray with us for finances. The one-week trip will cost about$1,000 USD. Pray for safety as we travel and for Lifa while he is away from us. Thank you for joining in with us!
|Just had to get one last ZINGAAAAA in here!|