This is a part of a series of posts about the story that the Lord wrote in joining us [Jon and me] as one.
If you missed Part 1 click here to read it.
I moved back to the states at the end of July 2011. Our communication had been non-existent for the last several months but some of our last emails had included some conversation about what we were learning about Christ and the church. In that exchange, Jon had encouraged me to read a book called Pagan Christianity and I started it while still in China. The Lord had made it clear to me that I would not be going back to “church” as I had known it before, but I didn’t really know what that meant. I knew this book was a part of the journey and I needed to read it, but it was challenging, and I had enough challenges in life going on. I put it down for a while and picked it back up and finished it after my return.
By the end of August, I decided it was okay to send Jon an email and check in on his life and his church learning journey. I informed him that “the Pagan book” (as we affectionately call it) was “ruining my life.” He responded, “I told you.” We began emailing about how the Lord was working, and opening our eyes, in the area of church. The conversations were amazing, but we didn’t talk about much aside from Christ and His body.
Christ had always been a part of our relationship but this was a turning point. He truly became the center and the ALL of both who we were as individuals, and how we related to each other. Where brokenness and pain had been, healing and trust began to be the dominant characteristic of our relationship. Without us even knowing at first, Christ began to breathe HIS life into us, as we continued to “let go” and trust and heal.
Upon finishing “the Pagan book,” I picked up another by the same author called “Reimagining Church.” It talked a lot about Organic Church Life and in the process of reading it, I knew. This is what the Lord is doing. This is what He is taking me to. This is what I’m here to find.
The Lord had begun to plant an Organic Church in Nashville and had brought Jon into it. I longed for something of the sort and tried to find it elsewhere. I thought there was absolutely NO WAY I could ever move to Nashville to be a part of the church there. With our history, how could I move to be a part of “his church?” But a good friend challenged me on that and encouraged me to pray about it, reminding me that “It’s not Jon’s church. It’s the Lord’s church.” I was honestly terrified the moment she said that, knowing it was just crazy enough that it really might be from the Lord. As I prayed quietly and secretly, He began to affirm that the church He was building in Nashville was not for Jon or for me, it was for Himself, and He intended us both to be a part of it.