Fear and Excitement Like to Hold Hands with Each Other

In my youth, I was fortunate to have a handful of friends who owned (or had access to) ski boats. This resulted in summers of water skiing, wakeboarding and tubing.

One summer in college, a friend and I were tubing off of my other friend’s boat and I guess they were getting bored of just watching us ride, so my friend sped up and turned the boat really fast. This resulted in Liz doing a 7 foot back flip in the air and landing in the water in a gracefull…oh…what would you say…belly flop at a very high speed. I remember my face being the first thing to hit the water and I was positive the impact took my eye out. I remember coming out of the water and shrieking in expectation that I would feel my right eyeball dangling on my cheek. Luckily, I was wrong.

So, other than a couple bad falls, I really enjoy water sports. I’m pretty timid and cautious but I still have a ton of fun.

The part that I don’t like about water sports is the water.

For as long as I can remember, I have hated deep, dark water. Even the deep end of swimming pools scares me sometimes. When I was little, our local pool had those big black letter “I” shapes on the bottom of the pool and I remember thinking they were sharks.

I remember one boat I rode on had a depth finder and this pretty much made me want to pee my pants. The water is 67 feet here!!?? And I would picture feet and feet of dark, murky water, filled with nasty creatures, ready to bite my feet off. And then they’d shout, “Ok, Elizabeth! Your turn! Jump in!” And for me, it took a lot courage to jump in.

But this was just the beginning.

The real fear came when you fell off your device and into the water.

Those 15 seconds or so after falling, the time it took the driver to realize it, turn around, and come back to get you. Those 15 seconds felt like an eternity. Me. Wading and kicking all by myself. Just like the Jaws scene, a 25 foot sturgeon (or whatever other freaky thing I imagined) looking up at my legs kicking about…ready to attack!!

Ahhh, fear in a nutshell for me.

But as most things that are scary, when you come out of it alive, with both of your feet in tact, you look back on it and say, “That was so much fun!”

And so, the Howeth family is about to embark on our very own water sport adventure.

We are starting a church.

Never in our lives did we ever think we would start a church or even be a part of starting a church.

It’s a long story of how it all came about but the short version is:

There has been talk for a while now to start a church here in Corvallis with the aim of reaching college students. OSU has 25,000+ students and the majority of them don’t know Jesus.

When Josh and I first heard about this we both found ourselves getting excited about it and hoping we could just help the church planters (whoever they were) while Josh of course, kept his position at our present church.

Well, a long series of events suggested that maybe Josh was the man for the job. So, we just went with it, taking step after step, having no idea what it would lead to but trying to be faithful.

So, months later, it has been determined that Josh will be the lead Pastor of this extremely exciting and extremely scary new church. The church won’t be scary. But the weight of the responsibility and work it will take scares me at times. =)

Last Sunday we announced this to our church and it was hard. Everyone has been so good to us and we have really enjoyed our time there and all of the wonderful people we have met.

What helps the situation is we will still be living here, we will still carry on relationships, and we will be working together with our present church as they send us out to start this new church.

Well, this post is long. In the coming months, I am sure there will be many, many more posts about this as I share in our journey. I’m full of fear and excitement. Fear of failure, of tests, of lots of hard work, of sturgeons and sharks. And excitement for lives changed, an adventure, and the privilege of being exactly where God wants us.

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3 thoughts on “Fear and Excitement Like to Hold Hands with Each Other

  1. Liz, wow! Thanks for sharing so honestly. That is a huge step and great. Would love to hear the details of how God brought you to this place. Sounds like you guys are just trusting and walking by grace. It's cool to think that when you went to Corvallis it was maybe for something way bigger than you first thought. And how neat that your present church is supportive. We are excited for you guys and will be praying for sure!!!

  2. Liz, that is so cool you are starting a new church!!! I am so happy you guys have a heart for reaching OSU's students. BTW, I can relate to your fear of the open water. I just did a triathlon in the Gulf of Mexico and was so SCARED to do the open water part of the swim. There were so many massive jelly fish everywhere and I got stung, but hey I survived and had fun!

  3. There is never a more daunting responsibility than the eternal destination of an unbeliever! I can't think of two people more suited to make the sacrifices necessary to reach those who are longing to hear the message of hope. That they are deeply loved by an amazing God! You will never experience a greater high or deeper low than in church planting. There will be times when it is all so overwhelming and you will wonder why you said yes. But the days when you see a spark begin in a life filled with despair you will be so overjoyed at what God is doing and praise Him for the privilege of being a part of it! I am so proud of you both! God is about to do something great in and through you and I am filled with excitement to see and hear it. God is using His choice people to reach Corvallis. Stay dependent on Him and remember we love you dearly. Love,Debbie

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