God's Design

This post has been a long time coming. And even as I sit down to begin, I don't know how to say this in a way that doesn't take 10,457 words. When I started this blog, Chris and I were staring at a huge decision which could have meant changing almost every aspect of our life. As with so many possibilities and opportunities in the past seven years, that one didn't pan out and we were left to wonder, once again, what God had in store.

I've been a believer most of my life and a church-goer for all of it. Chris, not so much. He started to take Jesus seriously soon after we started dating and hasn't looked back. The first few years of our marriage, we looked like most other good-citizen, church-going, baby-having newlywed couple, and boy was I happy with that. I'll never forget the day that my adventure-craving husband told his pregnant wife that he felt God calling him to something more than the life he was living. After approximately 2.3 seconds of consideration, I declined and he agreed. With a second child on the way, this was no time to do something hair-brained, right?

Thus began our journey of surrender, disappointment, wondering, struggling, hoping, fearing, and growing. A couple years later, I felt that dark cloud of change...of the unknown...looming over us and I trembled with fear. I knew it was time to let go of all my plans and priorities and give myself completely to my Maker, but everything in me rose up in opposition and fear. Still, I knew this was it. The moment had come when I had to surrender to Jesus as Lord or go my own way. We tried to put our lives completely in God's hands, but we just didn't quite let go of all our own desires and expectations.

Through trying to move out of state and go to seminary, having a completely random and different job dropped in Chris's lap, exploring church planting options from one side of the country to the other, going on foreign mission trips, attending seminary locally, having two more babies, and finally considering a foreign mission assignment, the Lord has brought us to a place where we have let go of our plans and are seeking His...no longer begrudgingly, but with hearts eager to make an eternal impact. The Lord has freed me from the fear that used to choke the life out of me and freed Chris from the assumption that serving God has to look big and amazing and exciting on the outside. He has loosened our grip on our lives and bound our hearts more closely to His.

These last several years have been painful, confusing, and heart-wrenching at times. I've had to face so many fears and let go of so many things I was tied to here on earth. Chris has had to allow his vision to match up with God's vision and surrender his desire for grand adventure just for adventure's sake. I cannot even begin to recount to you all the things God has done and is doing in us as He is about the business of conforming us to Christ, but He has certainly been busy. We see plainly that we have miles and miles to go, but we celebrate how far we've come.

So here we are, yet again, with an opporunity and a possibility before us. But this time it seems different. This time, none of this was of our making. This time everything fits Chris's passions and giftedness. This time it's all about what God can and must do and not about what we want or don't want to do. This time it's something neither one of us could have ever imagined or planned. This time it's one of those things that just appeared and has taken on a life of its own. And, much to my delight and disbelief, this time the Lord has blessed us by fulfilling a desire of our hearts that I honestly never thought would happen. We're ministering alongside my brother and sister-in-law and we couldn't be more thrilled.

Now, let me point out that I've been using the word "we" a lot here, but it's really much more of "he" and "they." My focus lately has been on homemade real food, laundry, ministering to and loving on friends, homework, and changing diapers. But I like to think that somehow that's helping Chris, though he really helps me more than I help him. Chris and Matthew have spent countless hours planning, envisioning, working, thinking, building, organizing, meeting, and praying. Me, not so much.

So, what is this big thing? It just so happens that Chris and Matthew's college degrees, work experience, natural God-given talents, abilities, and gifts, spiritual passions and seminary training have all collided to become Designs for Hope. They have developed a thingy that goes on the back of a bike and charges a battery when you pedal. (There is a much better description here on their website, but I just thought I'd put it in layman's terms for you.) Then you (well, probably not you, but someone in a third world country without access to electricity) can use said battery to run these little lights, a radio, a cell phone charger, etc. More importantly, they want it to be used as a tool to take the Light of the World...well, to the world.

So far, things have been going smashingly! God has been gracious enough to let them find favor with many people, provide financial support, send the people and connections they've needed, and even give little confirmations along the way. We all acknowledge that it is God Himself who will have to take this little idea and make it something big. We can be diligent to do our part, but it's really when God does His that things will get exciting. In just a few days, we hope to see that begin to happen. We covet your prayers as we take this idea to a missions conference where there will be lots of people involved in ministry in Africa who we hope will be interested in using this as a ministry tool.

As we stand and stare down this new and exciting road, we acknowledge that we really have no idea where it leads. We hope it's not another seeming dead end, though we know we've hit all those dead ends for a purpose, but we know the Lord rarely takes us somewhere we expect. This is an exhilarating, yet scary, place to find ourselves but we know enough now to realize that God has us here for His purposes and that His plans are the right ones. We just hope and pray that He'll use us, empty vessels that we are, for His purposes, because we now know that that's what life is about. He has moved our hearts from the earthly to the heavenly. This life is not about us or our dreams or our stuff. It's about Him and His glory. We're just along for the ride.

For more information, check out the Designs for Hope website.

And just because he's cute...


  1. Oh Amy, I am sitting here in awe. Truly. I want to cry and laugh at the same time. I want to shout to everyone about what God has done! This is amazing!

    After reading through this post and looking at the site I feel like words are so little. I guess knowing you in person changes so much in the way I look at this. You are real people who I KNOW want to follow and serve Him and He is making a way for that to happen. He is too good to us.


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