The Gift Part 2
In 2009 we shared our story for the very first time during a Sunday morning church service, completely clueless of the ministry God would unleash through us. As I shared in The Gift Part 1:
“That sacred Sunday morning would ignite a passion in Justin and I to create RefineUs Ministries to help restore hope and renew relationships. Through blogging, speaking and creating resources (including our book Beyond Ordinary) our hope was to create a movement of authenticity and help encourage others, regardless of their marital status, to move closer to Jesus.”
The gift of redemption taking place in our own marriage became a call to action to help others live out their own redemption story. Our ministry was an over-flow of who we were and who we were becoming. Our story was a gift not to keep to ourselves but to share with a hurting world.
Also in 2009, our family took another huge leap of faith, leaving the comfort of our Healing Place to take a pastoral position at Cross Point Church in Nashville, TN. Over the past six years, we’ve have had a front row seat to an explosion of church growth. Cross Point has grown from two campuses to six campuses. Cross Point gave Justin a second chance in ministry and also helped me find my voice as a writer, speaker and ministry leader. They have hosted more events for RefineUs than I can count and have helped us steward the gift of RefineUs along the way.
Our gift felt like we were living out a modern day version of the famous story found in Matthew 14, where Jesus feeds five thousand people with just five loaves and two fish. Our blog went from a couple hundred readers to over a million readers. We were signed by an amazing publisher to write a book where we have sold over 40,000 copies to date. We’ve had over 2000 couples go through MentorUs and 70 couples go through The RefineUs Weekend Experience.
But over time, stewarding the success of this gift in Christian circles meant our gift needed sponsors and blog comments (yes, lots and lots of comments) because those things would make the gift look better. It wasn’t good enough for our gift to be an overflow of who we were and what God was already doing. Our gift needed MORE, more shine, more bows, more hustle and more distribution.
No longer was our gift something to give away but rather a shinny box we felt trapped in. A box with walls that told us we can ONLY talk about the subject of Marriage. We can only speak at these types of events and only write these types of books. I remember sitting down with a well-known author and confessing to him the struggle I was feeling with the confines of our gift and his response was simply “that’s just the way it works”.
So just like in 2009, when we chose to step out in faith to leave our dream house and high paying secular job, we are choosing yet again to take another leap. Our hope and prayer is that our RefineUs community will take a leap of faith along with us! In 2015 we want to unwrap the gift. Unwrap the stories of the 1,000 gifts we are living today and not just the stories of ten years ago. Stories of parenthood, world events, leadership, and yes MARRIAGE! Because after almost twenty years of marriage we still have a lot to say.
Our mission is still the same…
RefineUs exist to help restore HOPE and RENEW relationships with the people God places in your life in the midst of your own story.
Is their risk in unwrapping the gift? Yes! Is there a possibility that we may fail? Absolutely! But I’d rather live a life unwrapped and fully alive than in a shiny box full of regrets.