Hi everyone, we are Kent and LeeAnne, and we have two daughters – Kara and Brisa. We have been members here at Church on Mill since 1996, and we’d like to talk to you about an area where God has been at work in our lives in recent months.
A couple of years ago, God put it on our hearts to buy a new house. To our logical minds, there were a variety of reasons to move, but among them was a desire to find a home which was better suited to host our Gospel Community, and to be closer to the church property here in Tempe. We made a long list of other things we wanted in the new house, but as the search progressed and we looked at house after house, the list of important things became shorter and shorter. The location and the usefulness for the GC became two of the top 3 items on the list. God truly changed our thoughts and priorities throughout that process.
Then God provided us a place that was aligned with those few important characteristics. It was only a couple of miles closer to the church property, but the drive time was reduced by nearly 25% – a very big blessing! In terms of hosting GC, it has two large spaces which are visually separated, so the kids can play in one area while the adults can talk without shouting in the other area. On top of that, it has an extra bedroom, which has been useful as a storage area, as a guest room for my grandma, and as a fun place for the girls to go when they have a sleepover with their friends.
Then in January, we got a very terrifying e-mail from Pastor Chuck. (Okay, “terrifying” is an exaggeration, but we definitely felt a little fearful.) The church was considering inviting a young lady named Megan Bailey to be an intern at the church for about 6 months. He wondered if we would be willing to have her stay in our spare room for that time. All sorts of thoughts swirled through our heads.
Kent: We are introverts. What if she talks to us constantly and we can never relax?
LeeAnne: What if she eats all our food and leaves dirty dishes around the house?
Kent: Worse yet, what if she eats weird food and makes our house smell funny?
LeeAnne: Should we charge her rent? Should we make her do a bunch of chores in lieu of rent?
Kent: What’s she going to think when Brisa and I get angry and yell at each other?
LeeAnne: What if we can’t keep kids out of her room and they wreck her stuff?
And guess what? It turns out that those questions aren’t really the right ones to be asking. The right question is “Does God want us to do this?” And when we finally asked that question, and prayed about it and talked together about it, our whole thought process changed. We unquestionably remained nervous about the whole thing, but once we realized that God was at work, and had been at work 2 years earlier in our house hunting expedition, we knew that we needed to say “yes”. The practical details are important in some sense, but they do not change the basic fact: where God leads, we need to follow. Sometimes we will follow with a little bit of fear in our steps, but we will follow.
In other words, God worked in our hearts so that we could say “Yes, Megan can stay in our home, and it doesn’t matter if she is a terrible houseguest or a wonderful houseguest. By the grace of God, we will treat her like we would want our own daughters to be treated, and love her as a sister in Christ.”
Megan: As I prepared to drive west from Tennessee, I received word from Chuck that a family, the Hardys, had agreed to host me. God provided a place for me to live! I wasn’t sure what to expect—in fact, I was trying not to have any expectations—but I was thankful for God’s provision and faithfulness. I don’t remember being nervous at all about living with people I had never met until the day I moved in. Like the Hardys, I wasn’t sure about personality, diet, and habits. But again God was faithful. I recall telling my family how thankful I was that I was in a home with introverts. And that even though I do eat weird food, they don’t mind.
It turns out that our fears were unfounded. We have really enjoyed Megan’s presence in our lives, and she has been a great blessing to us. But even if she was a pain in the posterior, we would still be up here telling you how God worked in our hearts and changed our minds to do something that we found fearful. He is truly a good and gracious God.
Megan: Their willingness to obey God, to open their home to me, and their efforts to treat me as a sister in Christ reflect God’s grace and love in a real and visible way.