On November 10th, 2015 our world was turned upside down . . . Let me back up. You could say we were living the dream. Sure we had our tough times and difficult seasons but we were chasing our dreams and loving every second of it. Four years ago Jesus called my wife, Amanda, and me to leave what we considered to be the best church in the world in the best city in the world, move to a city where we hardly new a soul, and start a church that would see a city come to life with the Gospel of Jesus.
Planting a church is never an easy task. In fact I would tell every church planter that if you could do anything else with your life...I mean ANYTHING else...do it. Planting a church certainly requires a clear calling. It was a clear calling that moved us to Indianapolis. It was a clear calling that kept us in the game when people came and left. It was a clear calling that kept us believing and hoping things would grow even when we would have only a handful of people show up to a service. It was a clear calling that gave us the resolve to persevere.
We had Weston in July of 2014 and it certainly added a layer of complexity to our calling. As everyone does we worked through the first 3 months of sleepless nights running on pure adrenaline and the excitement of this new season. We celebrated when he crawled for the first time, and we cried when he emerged from his first fall with a gash on his head. We loved our little one and we were learning to love the new rhythm of life. What I loved most was watching my bride care for and nurture a future world-changer.
By September of 2015 we had finally begun to see some traction as a church. New families were starting to attend. People were meeting Jesus and buying into the vision. And Amanda and I were learning what it meant to be content with the flock Jesus had given us. No longer were we wishing our season away and longing for a bigger church, a larger budget, or newer facilities. We were finally content with where God had placed us, how far he had brought us, and what he was doing in us.
Through the ups and downs of the those 4 years, no matter how many people entered and left left our lives we still had each other. I still had my bride, my rock, my confidante, my partner in ministry, my best friend to lean on when I felt like giving up. She would speak hope into me when I wanted to call it quits. She would speak life into me when I had nothing left to give. She believed in me on a level that no one else did.
On November 10th, everything changed. It was a normal Tuesday morning. I woke up around 4:30am. Read my bible for a bit. Grabbed my gym clothes and headed out for a workout. When I returned home to shower I walked into a reality I’d never wish on anyone. My home had been broken into and Amanda was lying on the floor unconscious with 3 gunshot wounds - one to the head.
I don’t really know how anyone is expected to process a moment like that. I suppose I’ll attempt to explain more one day on this blog, but for now the only way I can describe it is everything seemed to be a slow-motion blur as all my worst fears became reality. I called 911 as soon as I could, and the paramedics rushed Amanda to the hospital. The next 24 hours were a waiting game to see if the swelling in her brain would subside and give us any hope of her survival. Mid-morning on November 11th the doctors informed me that there was no brain activity and she would not recover.
I know it seems I'm writing all of this very matter-of-factly, as if it it doesn’t carry with it a slew of emotions...quite the opposite, in fact. I’ll spend future posts reflecting on those first 24 hours and the days thereafter. All I can tell you now is from that moment, a countless number of people have wrapped their arms around Weston and me and have lovingly walked us through these past 5 months. You truly cannot go through a tragedy like this alone. The rest of this blog will be devoted to laying out my thoughts, feelings, what God has been teaching me about His Word being our anchor of hope.
You may ask why I’ve decided to publicize my thoughts and feelings on this site. Is it to open up and get your feelings out? No. I have people in my life to whom I can air my intimate feelings. They are people who are there for me, really care about me and will speak truth to me when they need to. Is it to build a platform or a brand? No. I used to desire a platform with which to help people. Now I have one, and all I want is my beautiful Amanda back instead. Is it in order to help you get over the loss? No. I suppose you don’t ever really get over something like this. You learn to work through it, to live with it, and to trust a God who has it all under control and is writing a better story. Most of what I’ll be writing will be what Jesus has been teaching me through all of it.
The real reason I’ve decided to start this site is to serve you. I hope our life and our pain can be lived out in such a way that it serves you in yours. Amanda used to own a business where she restored furniture. She would find a piece of junk someone was throwing away and with a little time and sweat equity she would restore it into something beautiful that people would purchase for a premium. She believed nothing was wasted.
Jesus promises us that with a little time he does the same thing with our tragedies and circumstances. If our story can be used as an instrument to serve and help you in yours then truly, Nothing is Wasted. I hope you stay tuned in to our journey. And at any point if you have any questions and want me to help, don’t hesitate to write in. I’d love to serve you. And I mean it. I really believe Nothing is Wasted.