Hearing Clearly

“My Wilderness Maine – A 90 Day Journey of Faith”

Prologue:

Our 90-day journey into the Maine Wilderness began with a crisis. As most of the dramatic moves of God in our lives, He worked his mysteries in the darkest spaces and places to bring us light and inspiration.

August of 2018 was a whirlwind of raw emotions; confusion, doubt, and despair. Life as it often does had thrown us an unexpected curve-ball, and we were completely unprepared. We needed to withdraw and reassess our lives and so we did. A sabbatical ensued and without a compass or plan my wife and I rented a cabin by a quiet lake in Maine.

We needed to retreat from the chaos of our life and reconnect ourselves to our Father and each other. As parents and pastors, we had been running hard for a very long time. 10 years without a break from ministry is not heroic, it’s foolish. We needed a place to rest. We needed to recharge and reorient ourselves around Gods word and attune ourselves again to the Holy Spirits voice. The still and small was hard to hear where we were, and we desperately needed to hear.

The voice was clear when it came. We both heard it and understood.

Although we didn’t know the details or any of the particulars of this new plan, we were convinced it was from God. After a short season (12 weeks) of discernment and prayer, God confirmed His redirection of our lives and opened door after door to allow us a rapid release from the commitments and concerns of our previous life.

We would gradually grow to understand that Gods leading us into the remoteness of Northern Maine was not random, but a prescribed path to a Consecrated Heart and Mind. The relocation and isolation of Gods plan for us forced a deeper contemplation of where we were individually and as a couple.

The pressures of our transition allowed circumstances to reveal the condition of our hearts as they truly were.

A period of instability and uncertainty that gave us the opportunity to take a prolonged gaze at our motivations and beliefs that lay dormant behind all our assumed disguises.

This process was difficult, and I guess must be so. As change by its very nature is unsettling, disconcerting, and painful to our egos. It erases the vestiges of our false self, and demolishes our carefully constructed denials.

Not only was our new journey away from the past divinely prescribed, but precisely so.

And we are not an isolated example, God has been active in rearranging the trajectory of His disciples lives for millennia. The process and principles are essentially the same for all of us, but the specific details and circumstances He uses are as diverse as our DNA.

We like you, are walking out our Salvation with fear and trembling, the journey towards our creator serves as the defining work of every believer’s life. Some of us are struggling to just start the divine pilgrimage and others are seasoned and weary from decades of effort and self-examination. No matter where you may find yourself on this spectrum of Sanctification, the wilderness experience is a “given” for each of us. This barren place of personal testing and self-denial is also a place of deep intimacy and amazing growth & breakthrough.

The struggle to draw near to our Creator is real… but I believe the journey to contentment and fulfillment is worth whatever it costs. 

This small story of “Our Wilderness Maine” is our part of a much bigger plan, it assumes we are in something epic and awe-inspiring, a thread of life cast in “THE” story.

What we’ve learned and are learning follows… more details of our journey are coming in future posts. Blessings my friend.

Pastor Brad.

Seasons of Change… a parents perspective of Fall

I LOVE FALL…

Man, the air gets cold at night, the leaves pop with color and the humidity goes AWAY!

It’s like God suddenly loves me again… after all of the heat and frustration of summer, outdoors is suddenly somewhere I really want to be.  The transition is always so quick, one day its sweltering hot and the next your reaching for a sweater and finding excuses to take a walk.

Fall.fall river and bridge pic

Ahhh… thank God. Cool days and breezes that refresh and remind us of the life seasons we live in and through and around. Summer is great for a few weeks, then we’re ready for some fall. Fall is great for a few weeks then we’re ready for Christmas and snow… soon the gray of winter makes us weary, and just when we need it…Spring blooms to revive in us the color of life. The cycle of change is relentless, it’s beautiful and at times so aggravating.

Nothing stays the same.

Life moves on, it cycles through with our without our approval or acceptance. It’ just does. Like a beautiful tapestry our lives become interwoven with our work, friends and family. We form relationships for life and then they change. We find love and then we loose it, we gain joy and hope and then we find fear and frustration and anguish. We have babies who grow into kids and then adults,  we catch ourselves for a fleeting glance in the mirror and realize we are now our “parents” age, life slides forward and onward, like the seasons…beautiful and fleeting.

Life will not wait, change is calling again. Seasons are moving forward and we have a chance to contribute our small fragment, our thread to the whole. Our kids are growing up, moving from one age to the next. My three are in distinct seasons with separate challenges, triumphs and tragedies.

Time to rediscover your kids, they are changing too. Take some time soon to walk in the leaves… to re-acquaint yourself with the cycle of life your kids find themselves  in. My youngest is a freshman in high school and my oldest is about to become a freshman in college. They are beautiful times, scary times, but wonderful and not to be missed. Once enjoyed, forever gone…but all the more precious for it. They need specific time, focus and attention… prayers for their safe transition from one age to the next. My son for his identity as a man to be secure… for my oldest to “hear God” for herself and for my middle daughter to grow into a life full of “Peace”.

So savor the moments you have with your family this season…whichever that is for you and yours. Resist the temptation to be distracted by looking over your shoulder or too far ahead…. today is the day and the only time we may have, and your family awaits.

Hit the road with your clan and get out there, take your kids to find some pumpkins, a corn maze or some delicious homemade apple crusty sugar combo in the countryside. Doesn’t matter, take them. Live with them in… laugh with them, love them. Experience this season of your life with eyes and ears wide open… enjoy and embrace the process, the sacred parenting journey we share.

For me, Fall is forever….

Peace out,

brad.

PS – these pics are from an earlier fall family escape to Fall Creek Falls State Park in Tennessee.