I slowly shut the door and turned to my husband, Bill, as the tears streamed down his face. His face had turned completely white and his unsteady legs led him to the bed. I confirmed the test was positive.
Just a month earlier in April of 2017, we had discussed the need for margin in our worlds. Bill had decided to reduce his hours as a local hospital chaplain to build in enough headspace to really listen to God’s leading, not fully knowing what was in store. We didn’t need a shake-up. We were content. We didn’t need anything more to feel like we were serving the Lord and His people. As associate pastors of Hope Church in Bentonville, Arkansas, we had a lot of freedom to pursue the many facets of ministry we loved. We could lead worship, teach the youth, and counsel young couples as they started their families.
The test had confirmed that we would be having another baby. With our two children in high school, this would make a nearly sixteen-year gap between our daughter Melanie and the new baby. And yet as this new life grew inside me, a desire for new life began to grow in our hearts. As people celebrated the joy and excitement this new little one would bring to our family, it spurred our hearts to think about what joy and excitement God had for us in other areas of our lives.
Liam was born December 18, 2017, and just a month later Bill was sitting in a room with several other leaders from Open Bible Central Region who were being presented with a new initiative to plant churches. He called me with excitement. Could this be the nudge the Holy Spirit had prompted us with so many months ago? Was this whole thing bigger than adding a little person to our own family?
As we looked at our circumstances and what it would take to plant a church, we had serious reservations. Our oldest son, Robby, was heading into his senior year of high school. Melanie was ready to get her driver’s license. And then there were diapers and bottles! It would just be too much. No one was pushing us to take this step. We could have easily stayed put in our content little world.
But isn’t it just like our Father to give us the nudge . . . and then the shove when we need to step out in faith? Everywhere we turned over the next several weeks, there were signs, confirming words that new life always begets new life.
While we were praying and seeking God’s vision for a new church, we clearly heard Him say, “I’m creating something new,” and a picture was painted on a canvas in our hearts and minds. We were His unfinished masterpiece, and He was giving us the brush to create something new. Our mantra became “creating new” as we began to sketch out an eighteen-month plan to prepare, train for, and launch Canvas Church, but God had a different plan. Just as human life takes nine months of growth and preparation for birth, God moved quickly and gave us nine months to bring this vision to fruition.
In the nine months since our launch date in January 2019, God has done incredible things, too many for this article to convey. We’ve seen God create new relationships, new purpose, and new vision in our lives and community. We awaken each day watching our youngest grow in new ways and celebrating the new things God’s doing in our lives. We are His work in progress. He has promised to finish what He’s started. What is God creating that’s new in you?
About the Author
Natalie Burchit is a wife to one incredible husband, Bill, and mom to three amazing kids. She loves writing and speaking, encouraging God’s people to fully embrace the masterpiece He is creating in them. The Burchits have served in full-time ministry for over twenty years and have a heart for God’s church.