A few weeks ago, I wrote about a book I was reading. It was Interrupted, When Jesus Wrecks Your Comfortable Christianity by Jen Hatmaker. I wrote:
I feel like I’m on the verge of something huge that will be the hardest thing I’ve ever done and the best thing I’ve ever done. That’s what Africa felt like to me, but this feels bigger. It feels bigger than climbing a mountain or finishing a race. I don’t know yet precisely what it is, but I know that it’ll be more huge and more difficult and more rewarding all at the same time. This book is somewhat about that experience for Jen.
When I wrote that post on July 25, I knew Dave was on the verge of moving from Iowa to Texas to be with me. What I didn’t know was that he would propose on August 2. I’m guessing that the huge, difficult and rewarding thing that I was anticipating is my marriage. Perhaps?
In this book, Jen talks about her eyes being open to the call to really be God’s church – to love people from the trenches rather than the pews, to give even when giving means giving up your new and prized boots that were a gift from your spouse, and to let God truly lead life even when the path is unclear. Jen and her family had their lives completely interrupted after she asked that God raise up in her a holy passion. She didn’t specify what she wanted to be passionate about. She just asked for a holy passion, and that translated into a passion for people that caused her to leave the life her family knew and embark on a new adventure with what they eventually realized would involve a new church – one quite different from the church they’d known and all the security it had offered the Hatmaker family. Jen and her family left a comfortable and safe environment to walk a road that wasn’t always clear and that was frequently uncomfortable. Their focus was on moving where, when and how God told them to.
I needed Jen’s book these last weeks. This life that Dave and I are about to begin is a big and scary unknown. I’ve never been married and neither has he. I’ve never merged a household with another, and neither has he. I’ve never fully trusted another with my heart, and neither has he. But we are on the verge of all of that and, though it’s scary, we are taking steps forward based on a belief we share that we were created for one another. We are only able to leap into the unknown because we trust the path, even though we can’t see it fully. We trust the path because we believe it was created by God.
This time I last year, I asked for Dave. I didn’t ask for him by name because I didn’t know him, but I wrote a prayer asking for a relationship with someone who loves God, loves his family, and has friends he would do anything for. I asked for someone who loves to exercise and travel, but who also loves to be home. I asked for someone I could trust. There were a few other things on the list, but these were the big ones. Then Dave happened, and he is all of those things and so much more.
In the last year, I’ve seen the beauty and light that God has delivered, in large part in the form of Dave, a man I adore. I love the life I have. It’s going amazingly well right now. And, in the thick of all the goodness, I’m asking God now to raise up in me a holy passion for the marriage Dave and I are about to enter and for whatever else God wants me to be passionate about.
In the book, Jen warns me not to pray her holy passion prayer lightly – not to pray it unless I am ready for God to take me seriously and wreck my life. I am ready – not because I’m brave or confident or certain of my way. I’m ready because I believe that God is good.
As I read Jen’s book, I was reminded of the book The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and the discussion in it about the lion, the king in the story, and whether the lion is safe. The response is:
Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good.
Jen experienced that God isn’t safe, but He is good. She took steps that often didn’t make sense to herself or the people around her because she trusted in God’s goodness, and I want to do the same. I want to trust enough to step out into the unknown, if that’s where God leads me. And I feel like that’s where I am right now. I’m making plans, sometimes difficult plans, to step out into the unknown of marriage based on my belief that God is good and despite my knowledge that God isn’t always safe.
So I’ll say it again: God, raise up in me a holy passion for the marriage Dave and I are about to enter and for whatever else You want me to be passionate about.
I’ve said before that I believe books turn up when they are needed. This one certainly did for me. I will return to this book when I need a reminder that being the church isn’t the same as going to church. I will return to this book when I need a reminder that I have so much more than I need because I have food, shelter, and people who love me. I will return to this book when I need to be reminded that I don’t need to know how something will end to take a first step – I only need to know that the path is one that God has set out for me.
Thank you, Jen, for telling your sometimes uncomfortable story and giving me a tool I can use to live mine. My love to you and your beautiful family.
Tyndale House Publishers has given me a copy of Jen’s book to give to a reader of this blog. If you’re interested, leave a comment. I’ll put the names of the people who comment into a hat and do a drawing to see who gets the book.