One of my favorite verses is found in Psalm 107: “Oh, that men would praise the Lord for His goodness and for his wonderful works to the children of men.” Sometimes, it is hard to find things that seem “wonderful” in our lives. We see the valley ahead of us, the mountains towering high and the deep, dark shadows they cast around us and we wonder how we will ever come out of that place with anything beautiful. BUT GOD makes all things beautiful in His time.
Earlier this year, I had to write the most difficult ministry letter I had ever written: The letter stating that I did not know when or if “Forbid Them Not” would get back on its feet. I cannot even begin to tell you how dark the valley of those days was. Every time I turned around it seemed we were under attack of some kind in some new way and usually from a source, which we not only thought we could trust but which we had relied upon for help in some way or another.
Wednesday night, as our church family knelt around the platform and prayed together tears came to my eyes. I realized that it will be a year next week since someone (whom I respect and who meant well) looked me pityingly in the eye and said with regard to this ministry, “Sometimes we have to give up the things we love.” Four months later, just a few days before the anniversary of Dad’s home-going someone else sat in the pastor’s study of our church and told me that the ministries of our church, including this one, were not worth fighting for because the church was too small. Both of these men, in their own way, meant what they said for good, but they were forgetting the God Factor!
God is not so small that He cannot overcome the devastation left in the wake of one man’s passing. He is not so small that He cannot restore and redeem the things that are lost or stolen by the actions of others, by wagging tongues, or by injustice. God is not limited by our small vision. He and His might are magnified when we look at our deepest anguish through the lens of His amazing love and wondrous works.
A year ago, I was told to walk away. Six months ago, I was forced to drop everything. BUT GOD has done marvelously. Two months ago, I walked into a missions conference in Utah with no idea of what to expect over the following days. I cannot begin to describe to you the healing balm found in the loving spirit of that church. The tears I wept there were tears of renewed understanding of what love and acceptance really are. Three weeks later, on December 1st, I signed a lease for the FIRST office space for Forbid Them Not because of God’s working through the sacrificial giving of this church.
The space is small, but it is as much a blessing as a beginning. I have been praying about founding a space for more than two years. I had been praying about this specific spot for at least 8 months. It seemed so far out of reach, but God made it possible. Then I moved in, and the blessing grew. On my first day at the office I discovered that the office is surrounded on all sides by the Tribal Leaders Council. Their director was the first person I met in the building. As we talked he shared with me that they are starting a program working with single mothers of Meth-affected babies. More than once he has expressed an interest in connecting these ladies with the FTN ministry as well. Only God could have orchestrated that!
We are currently in the process of setting FTN up as a 501c(3). Up to this point, I have worked under the umbrella of Grace Baptist Church, my home church. For multiple reasons, none of them being any kind of disagreement or poor relationship with the church, we believe it is time to take this step. It will be a slow process, but God is leading each step of the way. I am so excited to see where HE takes this ministry next!
What a way to start the New Year!
May the Lord richly bless you, your family, and your church as you seek to serve Him in 2016!
Below is the physical address of the FTN as well as our new mailing address. Stop by if you’re ever in the area! (Call first! I’m still working another job. I wouldn’t want to miss you! 406-208-7332.)
Forbid Them Not Office:
711 Central Ave, Suite 207, Billings, MT 59102
Forbid Them Not Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 80993, Billings, MT 59102