Start with Me

This morning I was thinking back to the beginning days of when our family was living in the neighborhood. For the most part, living in North Highland is now just typical, everyday life for our family. But there have been times when one of our children will have questions about why we live where we live and our purpose for being here. When our oldest son, Noah, was about 4 years old we were leaving a playdate with his cousins. As we left their neighborhood and pulled into North Highland I happened to look back in the rear-view mirror and I could tell that, perhaps for the first time, Noah was noticing the abandoned homes and the other homes that were in serious disrepair. By the look on his face, it was clear that it was beginning to dawn on him that his neighborhood was different from his cousins neighborhood. So I asked him, “Noah, what do you think about our neighborhood?”. After several seconds of contemplation, he responded, “ours is broken”. I responded back to him, “Yes, and what does God do with things that are broken? He mends them and binds them and puts them back together so that they are better and stronger than they were before they were broken.” I’m sure his little 4 year old mind didn’t comprehend all of that statement, but that was ok, because I knew a seed of promise had been planted in his mind.

The promise and vision that the Lord gave us soon after we had first moved into the neighborhood was Ezekiel 36:33-36. A portion of it states, “On the day I cleanse you from all your sins, I will cause the waste places to be rebuilt…then those around you will know that I, the Lord, have rebuilt the ruined places and planted that which was desolate; I, the Lord, have spoken and I will do it.” The temptation with ministry is that as God provides, and your ministry begins to grow, that growth can also begin to distract you from God’s promises. Instead of focusing on the vision, you begin to focus on your needs. As Truth Spring has continued to grow, I have noticed this temptation in my own life. Our housing program is growing…we “need” more resources so we can buy more houses. Our school is growing…we “need” more money so we can accept more students and hire more teachers. Our church is growing…we “need” a bigger building. In those moments of being tempted to focus on our needs, what I have forgotten is that God’s promises are also God’s provisions. As I was praying this morning, the Lord gave me a thought which then turned into a prayer.

God, don’t let Truth Spring become just another program with needs; but instead may it be a platform to display Your power and goodness.

The longer our family has been living in North Highland the clearer the vision has become. And what has been most clear is that what’s happening here is so much more than just the development of a neighborhood. North Highland represents me and represents you. Apart from the Gospel, we are, as Noah said, broken. We are the waste place that needs to be rebuilt. We are the desolate place that needs the planting of the Spirit of the Lord. North Highland and the work of Truth Spring are simply platforms that God is going to use to reveal to us who we really are and what His power can do in our lives. So today, as I’m tempted to let my mind dwell on the needs of Truth Spring, I choose to believe that God’s promises are also God’s provisions. And as I find rest in that belief, I pray that God would display His power and goodness to rebuild and fortify that which is broken, starting with me.

Carrie Strickland