Thanks to Jared Anderson for that phrase, “Where I Am Right Now.” His song by that same title blesses me. It’s all about trusting God where you are instead of looking ahead to someplace you aren’t:
“I’m called to be where I am right now,
In the middle of a storm but I have no doubt
That you are here with me.”
I’m guilty of that, living with an obsessively future-oriented outlook. The truth is, HERE is all we have. I’m not waiting for some future place to “arrive,” I’m not afraid of missing my “big chance,” I want to live content, trusting, and abiding in peace.
It occurred to me recently (as most things do – thanks to my wife) that many of you (my blog-following friends out there) might not know about some of the crazy stuff that has happened in the Vinke’s world in the past year or so. If you don’t really care, you can stop reading now. For those of you with a soul (and some patience – this is a long one), here’s a little update on “the big three” major events of this season of life that have rocked our world (in a good way).
New baby. We welcomed our son Levi Emil to the family on January eighth of this year. We didn’t have as tough a time as many friends, but it was quite a ride getting him here! He has been very healthy and very happy and we are very thankful to God for the precious gift!
New home. We are homeowners! After lots of looking (the Jacksonville market is HOT!), God secured for us a perfect home in a perfect spot for us. Even in the midst of struggle and challenge, he cleared the way for us to get into our own home and we are loving it!
New job. This is the big one…so a little backstory is required. In July of 2014, we stepped out in faith and moved from Atlanta to Jacksonville to work at a great church on the southeast side of town. The move was a result of a lot of stirring and searching, and was big jump to say the least. We left family, friends, and really the place we called home for most of our lives in order to step out in search of what God has for us.
As you probably know, any move to a new city brings challenges. We didn’t know many people, we didn’t know the area, and the church was…VERY different than we were used to. We were welcomed and loved from the start but the learning curve was steep. The denomination and style of the church were at the opposite end of the spectrum from where we had been in the past.
In my theoretical/theological brain, I could see lots of value to the tradition and preferences that were priorities in this tradition; my wife, who wired quite different, struggled quite a bit. To say we had a lot of “discussions” about this would be an understatement. We wrestled through a lot together and are better as a couple because of the experience. I worked hard to bring positive change in the church and add as much value as I could. Even so, after about fourteen months we knew it wasn’t the right fit for our family.
It’s hard to accurately (or briefly) summarize what our life was like in that season. It was multifaceted and complex as life often is. There were so many blessings that are hard to quantify. You won’t find a more generous, loving and hospitable group of people; I was given an incredible amount of opportunity to learn, grow and express my gifts (for which I’m forever grateful); we formed some new friendships that, Lord willing, will be lifelong. It was a gift!
In the midst of all of this blessing, there were some undeniable and inescapable realities that I had to face. The culture just wasn’t a fit for our family long term. As hard as my wife worked to get “into it,” the priorities of that particular style of worship just weren’t resonating with her. We needed room to run fast, be really challenged, and be around like-minded people. It was a hard and painful decision, as transition decisions almost always are. But I knew the right thing to do.
In the fall of last year, I had no idea what God was going to do. We knew we needed to step out once again and felt pretty open to going just about anywhere. But God had other plans. In a way that only God can do, I got a “random” call from a friend I about a church here in Jacksonville called the Church of Eleven22. I reluctantly agreed to have lunch and hear about God was doing.
To say I was skeptical is a slight understatement; at every step, I thought, “there’s no way this is going to work out.” But (easy to see now) it did work out. Every meeting with every leader was encouraging, intriguing, and led me to take another step forward. It was like the door just swung wide open, and the timing was perfect. Perfect timing…that sounds like someone I know…
It’s hard to describe the sweetness of stepping into a season that feels as natural as a birthday. After you are ten, you turn eleven. That’s just the way it goes. I love it when God takes us into seasons like that, when we get to see that every step we have taken before has led us to this point. Like finding random keys in your garage over a series of years, only to find that they open the door to the house down the street you didn’t know was yours.
In case you haven’t noticed, those three events are top of the list of big-time stresses on people–and we experienced all three within a period of six months! We need your prayers!
But God has been so good. I’m so grateful for his hand on our lives, that he cares enough to lead us through every season with such great care. He is lovingly preparing us for each next step, even in the midst of seasons where the greatest thing we can do is be ok with where we are. I want to be the kind of person who can say,
“I am yours and you are mine,
You can move me any time,
I’m resting in your perfect peace,
Where I am right now.”