And just like that, so long summer.
This summer was filled to the brim in every area of our life. It has been a learning curve to not only be a husband and wife as well as a mom and dad, but also co-founders of a Christian ministry. Life has stopped following a predictable pattern and this has been tougher than we anticipated. The biggest challenge of Chosen Gen is knowing when to call it a day and finding peace where we are at. God has placed a big vision for this ministry on our hearts, but it requires us having to surrender to carrying this out one day, one week, one season at a time. It’s a wrestle and it feels like the game “Ticket to Ride” (if you’ve ever played it). You never feel like you can stop because the game always requires you to be thinking and preparing for the next move. Yet, in this these transitional months, God has been walking with us, clearly guiding us along, and blessing our work.
The biggest news came in July when we received our 501(c)(3) nonprofit status from the federal government. This application took over two months to complete, so when we learned that it had been approved, it was an enormous answered prayer that brought on spontaneous singing and dancing in praise to God! We knew this step was critical to continuing Chosen Gen beyond the first year. We are now able to apply for grants and people’s donations are tax deductible.
We’ve been able to release two Sojourn Family Bible Study series - This Changes Everything and Designed. If you add all the studies together, it comes to over 100 pages of materials! (We’ll rest in heaven, right?) This started out as a simple idea, which we initially envisioned calling Camp Chosen Gen (believe it or not), and as it came together with lots of prayers, we are amazed at what God has done and thank Him for His vision and blessing on this resource.
Then there is the weekly Discipleship Parenting podcast (as of this post, we are at 85 episodes). There are lots of steps in getting a podcast out - prayerfully deciding on a topic, outlining what to say, recording and editing it, uploading it, finding a photo and writing a description, adding it to the website, and creating social media posts to share. Since going full-time, we have seen listener growth approaching double what is was (praise God). Despite the hard work, we are so thankful for the opportunity to encourage fellow parents weekly to read the Bible, live for God, and disciple their kids.
In-between the busyness of Chosen Gen, we found time to enjoy our family and God’s beautiful creation. We spent time at our favorite Christian camp, explored the Porcupine Mountains in the upper peninsula of Michigan, swam lots, rode bikes (so fun to have our kids at this point), and even checked off some home projects from the to-do list.
Yet, with all the good, there has also been some real tough times too. We’ve been plagued by doubts, fears, inadequacy, frustrations, loneliness, anger and physical exhaustion. God has used this new season to work on us, refine us, and to keep conforming us to the image of Jesus. Basically, we have learned what it truly means to die to ourselves, which is not a comfortable or enjoyable process! The fight for the next generation is a real spiritual battle and we have felt it! Sometimes it feels like we are walking into a hornet’s nest of the enemy. This is not be a “safe” battle and we realize it. The only way we’ve been able to survive is by being in God’s Word and on our knees in prayer more than ever before. But, what have we seen? God working! God teaching us! God’s power, strength and authority - all of it capable of doing more than we could ask or imagine! The Church is an unstoppable force bringing the light of Christ into this world, not because we are strong, or capable, or perfect, but because CHRIST IS IN US! What an adventure to walk a life outside of our abilities and see Jesus working daily.
So, as we walk into the fall season, life will take on a whole new routine. Homeschooling is back as top priority for me (Katy), and with 4 kids now in school, that means more of my day is going to be devoted to it. Yet, what a privilege to show them God’s beautiful design in everything from math to music to science to the history of the world!
When Justin and I watch them growing up right before our eyes, they are a constant reminder of why this ministry exists. Every child in the next generation is loved and precious to God. They are worth fighting for. They are the future torchbearers of the good news of Jesus into all the world. They are needed! What a privilege, as parents, to raise them up in Christ!
Let’s keep running, Friends!