It was one of the more important affirmations I've had in my ministry. It was 2011 and Shaina and I were going through a Church Planters Assessment to see if we had the character, competency and wiring to get something started. Shaina was 36 weeks pregnant. I was a dreamer who didn't know what I didn't know but I had some grit.
By the grace of God, we got the green light and during the exit interviews the assessors were adamant that we do this together. The dynamics of us leading this thing out together would be very effective. In one sense this wasn't surprising. Twice in our past, I had gotten Shaina jobs at the places I was working and she was eventually promoted to become my boss. She's a leader. But in another sense I had seen Shaina as the complement to what I was doing rather than the co-laborer or co-pastor. She was the music to my message. If I preached a dud, I'd just make sure Shaina sang the song after the message and people would forget...or at least partially forget the dud they'd heard.
But the affirmation in the exit interview was that she was not to be "along for the ride" but very much connected to the unfolding story of City Campus Church.
It was one of those moments of thrill I will never forget. We were going to give it a go...together.
A few days later, the little bean was born. Chaia's birth (36 hours, induced, nothing seemed to go the way we planned) taught us that things are not in our hands.
Her heart attack 10 weeks later taught us that this road we were heading down would be the hardest thing we'd ever done.
100 days in the ICU.
So many unknowns coming out of the hospital. Still pretty sure it would end with a funeral.
But one thing was certain: the amount of ongoing care Chaia needed meant Shaina was going to have to be more nurse and mom than co-laborer and co-pastor.
Shaina was still very much the backbone of C3. We hosted everything. Had meals around our table with people other than family over 100 times a year the first couple years in Columbus.
And here we are 4 years later and Chaia is a beautiful, miraculous young lady and Shaina finally has the space to look beyond the doctors appointments (cardio, neuro, endocrine, genetics, nutrition, pediatrics, etc. etc.) and the meds (we have gone from 10-15 meds a day, multiple times a day, to 5 meds a day, multiple times a day) and the insurance companies and the pharmacies...And I am completely thrilled.
She took the last 7 months and really took everything off her plate. Because you will never successfully pick something up without faithfully putting something else down. And so she has begun the journey of discovering her voice. She isn't along for the ride. We have always been meant to do this together.
And tomorrow is her birthday. And it is the first time she will preach in her life.
She's nervous. I'm not.
She has written, rewritten and rewritten again to try and use some ministry muscles she hasn't used before. And I am just thrilled to watch her pray and discern and labor on how to share her heart and lead the people of C3. She will be great. Not necessarily because she has mastered public speaking or how to unpack a biblical text, because that takes practice and repetition. She will be great because she is secure in whose she is, which helps her know who she is. A daughter of the king.
She's nervous. I'm not.
Well, except perhaps that she might end up being my boss again!
You should come.
Sunday January 29
Graham Expeditionary Middle School
140 East 16th Avenue
Teamwork makes the dream work.