Ok, this is probably going to be a lengthy one, but I guarantee both life updates and much needed reflections.
**If you already know our life updates, you can skip this outrageous paragraph and go straight to the "reflections"
life update: (I have to admit, I am not looking forward to retelling all this for the 1000th time) So in order to explain where the Tullos family is going, you need to know where we have been. Last year-ish I was working at a part time job, Austin was working at one part time job on salary and staff at The Church on Rush Creek and another contract part time job at Lake Pointe Church as well as picking up any random gigs or events, we also both served as a CARES Team in our apartment complex (working roughly 70 hours a month combined between us) in exchange for the apartment we lived in. In January I lost my job, in March (could be April?) Austin's job at Lake Pointe ended. So while I am getting bigger and more pregnant everyday and we now had only one part time job and our CARES Team apartment to live off of, we knew that God must be bringing something new for us soon. Since Austin had recently graduated (December 2009) he took matters into his own hands and thought he would pursue certification to teach. It seemed perfect, a steady income, a rewarding job and summers off. Austin's boss Eric, at Rush Creek, encouraged him to do some hardcore praying over the decisions we were coming close to making. Austin and I took a week of fasting (don't worry I did not fast from food) and challenged ourselves to more prayer, both together and separately. During that week, Austin heard from three different churches, all interested in him as a worship pastor. Neither of us could deny that God clearly wanted Austin to remain in the ministry, somehow, somewhere. Quickly, a church in Iowa (if you are a Texan I know you are thinking "Iowa?!") a church plant out of the Harvest Bible Fellowship, rose to the top. Austin started going through early interviewing processes with them as we read and listened to everything the church had to offer online. After a few weeks, Rob (the lead pastor) and his wife Becky, came down to visit us for less than a day. Austin and I immediately felt great about them and even better about their church, Harvest Bible Chapel in Davenport. We heard back from Rob and the other pastors within the next few days that they would like to fly us up for a visit and to attend their annual Harvest University (a time when all the Harvest churches come together). After discussing probable time lines, the unofficial decision was that we would have Lyric here and then move up to Iowa one month later, the last week of July. We went up to Davenport and immediately fell in love. From the biggest things (the church, the staff, the people) to the smallest (the neighborhoods, the community life, ect.) every detail was/is exactly what we have always said "someday I really would like...." Even though our trip was not intended as a retreat or spiritual revival, we left feeling more refreshed in our faith then we have in a long time. While we were there, Harvest formally offered Austin the job as their worship pastor, which we accepted. Thankfully, we had packed several boxes before even visiting out of our belief that God wanted us in Davenport (aka Quad Cities). We decided that packing and having a baby and remaining the CARES Team would be too much. So now, I am blogging from our new temporary home...Austin's parent's house (and yes, they are here too). Everything we have is in a box stored in an extra bedroom or in the process of being temporarily unpacked (clothes and bath stuff). June 22nd is Lyric's due date, Austin and his dad are going up a couple of weeks later with a Uhaul to do the big move, and July 24th we are planning to pack up our baby and our puppy and drive to our new home. We don't know exactly what that home looks like, we are still pursuing rental options and a couple on staff has graciously opened up their home to us for a few months if we need it. Ok...wow, that was alot. I think that is the full life update. And I'm too tired from typing it to proof read it, so if something is funky let me know.
In the last couple of days as we have actually started phase one of our adventures, I have obviously had a huge mix of emotions. Sadly and shamefully, a thought passed through my mind recently that I will continue to pray against. I thought to myself "wow, we are living out of boxes, kinda homeless and making these huge changes all while we prepare for our first child. We have given so much to answer the call of Christ," mixed in with fleeting thoughts of worry "Oh my gosh, are we going to be really poor in our last months in Texas? How can we meet our financial obligations while still having money to spend having fun?" Today, I have been catching up on lots of reading and journaling and I was straight up called out as I read. One of the books I am reading is Crazy Love by Francis Chan. The first slap to the face was a section about riches, "Which is more messed up- that we have so much compared to everyone else, or that we don't think we're rich? That on any given day we might flippantly call ourselves 'broke' or 'poor'? We are neither of those things. We are rich. Filthy rich." This was a reminder of sorts that I, unfortunately, needed. Then came the even harder hitting, second slap in the face, a section titled "Offering Leftovers." Malachi 1:8 "But when you present the blind for sacrifice, it it not evil? And when you present the lame and sick, is it not evil? Why not offer it to your governor? Would he be pleased with you? Or would he receive you kindly?' says the LORD." Chan and the Holy Spirit then deliver the blow-- "They assumed God was pleased because they had sacrificed SOMETHING. God described this practice as EVIL." I can joyfully share with you that I have been knocked off my high horse this morning. How could I compare the sacrifice of my STUFF with anything that Christ sacrificed that I might live? Even comparing myself to what many of the saints have given to answer His call is arrogant and selfish. Especially when giving up access to our stuff or total privacy for a season, means that we get to live and serve in what we have jokingly refer to as "the promised land."
Phew, sorry for the self-loathing, but when God brings realization in my life I can't help but share.