When we came to visit Kansas City in November and God first started speaking to us about moving here, He highlighted the word “foundational”. I felt like He was reassuring us (and me in particular, as I grappled with such a huge move) that this move — and even the decision to move — would be foundational in our lives, in our marriage, and eventually in our family.
I’ve experienced the truth of that assurance already and I feel that this latest season is bringing out another layer of God’s fulfillment of that promise.
On that note, I’d like to share the note that my husband wrote yesterday:
Best description of my life over the last 6 months: SHAKING. I guess I can’t complain about it, because I asked for it. I guess this is what happens when you pray,
“Take me through the fire, take me through the rain, take me through the testing, I’ll do anything. Test me, try me, prove me, refine me like the gold.” (Fling Wide, Misty Edwards)
The problem is when you ask to undergo a shaking and everything you have built sits on shifting sand. The result is utter confusion, disillusionment, and ultimately death. A friend recently came up to me and said, “No one ever told you that you come to Kansas City to die.” I realize how true that is now.
I was in the middle of building my own little kingdom (with a hand-painted “Kingdom of God” banner pasted over my selfish ambition), neverminding how pathetic it was, and thought that coming to Kansas City would catapult me to the place I really wanted to be in my work, in my marriage, in the church, in the world. Enter the shaking.
In one of my recent rants to God, I stumbled across the realization that everything was shaking and I was trying to grasp onto something that was stable. The problem was, there wasn’t anything stable, and I was just becoming more and more bitter and cynical. So…after a few conversations with some men in the Boiler Room community and a timely email from Floyd McClung, God saved me, and showed me enough of what He was doing in the midst of all this to steady me and give me hope.
Before I go any further, I need to apologize for the complete and utter jerk, loser, and drain I have been on my wife first and foremost, as well as many others in my life. I am so sorry for how pathetic I’ve been; I don’t blame anyone for not wanting to be within 100 feet of me. I wouldn’t want to be.
But anyway, Hope. Everything is crumbling because I have not built anything on the Rock. It is extremely embarrassing to admit that I am nearly 18 years into my walk with the Lord and I haven’t built anything on Christ, save my marriage which has probably been the only thing that hasn’t crumbled (though not really due to anything I’ve done, only the amazing faithfulness of my wife). The hope in the midst of all of this IS the shaking. If my kingdom falls, His can rise in my life. If I abandon my faulty foundations for the true Foundation in Christ, my life can matter; something that I build can actually stand in Christ.
The Lord showed me that I have sought my identity in one of the roles that He has given to me, rather than placing it in Christ. As long as I place my identity in one of the roles in my life, no matter how important it may be, I will be subject to destruction when everything is shaken. The email I received from Floyd said that:
“85% of Christian leaders don’t finish well… And it’s not just a problem for spiritual leaders. I am amazed at how many ordinary Christians consistently struggle, fall, or just plain give up. They don’t “finish well”. Something is wrong! After 45 years of discipling new believers and equipping spiritual leaders, I am convinced the reason for this tragedy is that godly foundations were not laid well in people’s lives. Jesus said He would build His church. Paul said he was a wise master builder. Godly foundations don’t happen by accident – they are built into people’s lives intentionally through personal discipleship. It is how Jesus modeled building His church.”
God showed me that nothing was standing because I was building on faulty foundations. I refused to build out of a solid identity only in Christ and instead sought identity in my role as employee, as husband, as brother, as ambassador. As everything was shaken, it becomes apparent that I am not rooted in Christ, and in fact that is the entire problem.
So what is going on? God is shaking all of it, for the same reason that He will shake the entire earth, that every kingdom that stands in opposition to Him will fall and their rulers will bow their knee to Him alone. He is tearing down my kingdom and restoring my foundation in Christ. I believe He is also repairing smaller foundations in my life. He has been showing me that finishing a degree is going to build a better foundation to hold the weight of the career that I’ve been looking for. I believe there’s been a connection between the lack of a degree as a occupational foundation and the lack of a foundation in Christ as a building ground for my entire life. I’ve tried to be a shrubber, a barista, a carryout, a carpenter, a welder, putting my identity as an employee into one of these places, and come up empty. Why? I’ve tried to build without a foundation. And it is the same thing with the larger picture of my life. I’ve tried to find my identity in so many different things, and come up empty. Why? I’ve tried to build without a foundation. It’s time to set the proper foundations in my life. Nothing will stand when the wind and the rain beat against my “house” except what is built on my foundation IN CHRIST.
So many things have fallen…I have fallen…my heart is singing the words to a Jason Morant song…
Bless the Lord, with all that’s in me
Bless the Lord
May kingdoms fall
And rulers crawl
Before Your throne
I want to give all of me
I’m giving You all of me…