I have been trying out this whole “tent making” deal lately. I have some really marketable skills thanks to years of destroying my body day after day pounding nails, welding steel and stacking blocks. Nine years in the Air Force as a Structural Craftsman with two deployments to the Middle East helped round off these skills as we had to constantly “make it work” with limited resources as we maintained an Air Force base in Kuwait.
God is preparing me, today, for a tomorrow that I can’t see yet.
I have some awesome friends who are more than willing to throw me a side job here and there in between sessions of Prayer Resolution. It’s a great way to make a buck, stay in shape and keep my skills honed. All the while God has been very clear to me that He has called me to be a missionary, not a carpenter (a very godly trade, I might add).
I have some friends who are a part of our discipleship community who have recently moved into a new house where they are practicing some really cool community living. They asked me to come in and build a custom desk for them in their study. I drew up a draft of it on an amazing (free) program called SketchUp and showed up Saturday morning ready to roll. It always amazes me how many tools are needed for one project like this. In spite of the very cold rain that interrupted me at midday, here’s the final result:
That night I sent them a receipt for the labor and material. I had put 10 hours of work into it from design to completion. As I was going to bed, however, I started getting the impression (Michelle helped me figure this out) that God was saying, “Don’t charge them for labor.” In fact, as I slept that night I kept waking up thinking about it. At one point I even wondered if I should just get up and send the email already so that I could finally get some sleep without God waking me up every other hour!
By the morning I felt like God had not only said, “Don’t charge for labor,” but also, “I will pay you for the labor.” So I sent the email. I wasn’t sure that it was God. It was mostly just an impression or vague thought that didn’t want to go away. But, I’ve learned to trust that nudging. In the end, God isn’t going to fail to provide for me because I was too darn generous and willing to help some people out in my community. God’s resources are unlimited! I’m always as rich as all the promises of God.
Don’t lose heart when you see the numbers. There’s no measure for the faith we bring.
-Josh Garrels, “Rise”
So, I stood on the fact that my Heavenly Daddy is really good at taking care of His kids (me and my family).
Later that day while at the Sunday morning service at my church, Substance, I was talking to a guy who was interested in joining Immerse and reached into my bag to grab a brochure for him. There I found an envelope addressed to Michelle and I:
As you could probably guess, knowing my Royal Daddy, it was a quite a bit more than I would have made from charging for labor for the desk. My God is alive and well. He knows my needs and will not fail to take care of His kids. He hears prayers and is powerful to respond.
I don’t know how long that envelope had been in my bag, it could have been a few weeks, but it’s it just like Him to time it that way? (I hope whoever gave us that money reads this and is encouraged! You are being used by God. You are hearing correctly and He is really leading you.)
I’m starting to learn how to trust Him.
God has me doing construction, which isn’t new for me. I’ve been a carpenter for over eight years now. However, I have gotten fairly accustomed to working for someone else. Someone else who can take all the responsibility and headache, loss of sleep and stress. It was a good day when I could simply work my day’s hours and go home. This work, however, is in my own bedroom and living room. It’s a totally different ball game.
I’ll tell you what, full-time ministry is looking really good right now. I’m exhausted and sick of my house being a construction site. I wouldn’t doubt that my wife and sister are fairly exhausted with the whole process as well. We first started this new venture in January when we demoed the living room in order to get to the plumbing for the existing bathroom. This is what we found:
Oh wait, wrong picture… Well we found a couple of those as well! No, we found some crazy plumbing. We kind of already had guessed that it was going to have to be redone, but this was pretty crazy.
If you read my previous Ministry Update letter, you heard about God’s amazing provision with a plumber. Once the plumber started his thing, it was go time. We didn’t have a working bathroom once the plumbing was torn out, so everyone in the house had to move out for a week… make that two weeks! Thankfully Michelle and I have some amazing friends near-by who are all about our vision and super hospitable. Thanks Ben and Bethany… and Jasmine!
When we pulled the plumbing out, one look at the inside of those massive (and heavy!) cast-iron pipes confirmed that we were doing the right thing by replacing everything. You can see for yourself:
Once that beast was gone I had to work overtime in order to get the bathroom up and running again. Honestly, it sucked. I usually spend a few hours every morning in prayer and scripture, but I just worked and worked and worked… then I had a Drill Weekend… then I worked more. Plus a few hours here and there with my different ministry things that I do. I figure that I put in 107 hours on my bathroom in those two weeks, 16 hours at drill, and 8-10 hours of other ministry things. Ug. Just thinking about it again makes me not want to ever do any construction ever again. We ended up having to completely gut and redo the existing bathroom (not expected, but nice now that it’s not covered in pink/white tile with white/pink grout). Check out the progression:
I’m still not done with the existing bathroom. Some mudding, sanding, painting and some trim work is still needed. Then, on to the new bathroom! Yep. We’re adding a second bathroom upstairs so that our guest can have their own space, and we can have our own space. Once that bathroom is done, then I can close off and finish up the living room. Once THAT is done then I can start replacing all the windows in the house.
Will this ever end?! Save me Jesus!