I’m kinda a sucker for pump ‘em up songs. Behind closed doors (and on really hard days maybe even driving down the highway) I pull out my inner T.I. and remind myself that “I'm the opposite of moderate, immaculately polished with the spirit of a hustler and the swagger of a college kid.” Don’t judge, I know that more than one of you still get teary eyed at that Celine Dion song from Titanic and it’s a universal fact that Jack could have fit on the door keeping Rose afloat. Your tears were in vein. It's ok. We’re all awkward in our own way.
This past week was a full week. Lots of big conversations that make me feel about 12 years old. So this morning as I was I was trying to trick my body into feeling courageous by striking my power pose and humming a mashup of Space Jam and the Rocky soundtrack in the bathroom, I was reminded of a quote that puts T.I. to shame.
“Even if it’s not much God can still make a lot out of it.” -Iyanah
A 5 year old’s words rang loud in my ears this morning. We’re learning a lot from these UCA scholars.
When God called Abraham to go and leave his father's country for the new place, God didn’t give very detailed instructions. The command was clear, go, but any logical person would immediately start asking questions. Go where? That’s the first question on my list, followed shortly by a demand to have an explanation of the timeline. And yet God didn't give the itinerary. He just gave a dream to chase…then required the dream to be sacrificed…then saved the dream…then blessed the whole world through this dream chaser named Abraham. Sure, Abraham made a lot of messes along the way, perhaps that’s my favorite part of the story.
This story is resonating deeply with us lately. We feel the fiery call to go, to do, to fight for this dream of UCA. When we’re honest we feel a little lost beyond that command. It feels a little like being blind. Stumbling through the mess, searching for the itinerary, begging for answers and hearing the small whisper simply saying, go. Sometimes I want to throw a dictionary at heaven and remind God that there are more words available to Him than just go. Then I realize how pompous that notion is and I remember His faithfulness is worthy of my trust…more than worthy.
So here we sit, wondering what the next move is. I’ll explain the tension. Our building will hold us through 4th grade, barely. That means in 2-3 years if we plan to expand beyond 4th grade, we have to move or build or find a way to shrink the scholars. But as you might expect, moving and building are both options with hefty price tags. Hefty is an understatement, enormous seems more fitting. We’re talking millions of dollars on top of the $7,000 a year tuition for each scholar. Suddenly I feel younger than 12.
I spoke at a church last Wednesday and afterwards one of the members asked me what keeps me up at night. I didn’t really have a good answer at the time, but I’ve been staying up at night trying to find an answer and I've realized it is this tension that seems to be the monster under the bed…the reality that we may have to say goodbye after 4th grade is a reality that doesn’t sit well with me. Don't get me wrong, it is a beautiful thing to invest in the development of Kindergarten-4th graders, to lay a solid foundation for them to build on, to send them out together to change the culture at some other school. I'm thinking in terms of parent analogies a lot these days so I'll translate my feelings that way. One of our friends just had a baby and was talking about how she’s already cried about the day her baby goes to college and the day she walks down the aisle. It’s hard to say goodbye, even when goodbye isn’t really goodbye. I don’t want that college moment to come at 4th grade, I want it to come when they walk across a stage, with a UCA diploma in their hand and we announce what college they are going to transform over the next 4 years.
But we don’t have that itinerary in hand…so we’re just taking one blind baby step at a time. And as we do, we covet your prayers. God keeps reminding me to pray, “God of vision be my sight.” Would you consider praying that for UCA? That we would keenly hear and respond with faith and courage to the voice of God? That we would be faithful stewards of the story God is writing in and through us? That we would be gritty about fighting for the UCA scholars and gracious in letting God fight harder. That we would dream dreams worthy of the name of Jesus. We don’t have much, but Iyanah is reminding us that God has and will make it all we need. So in faith, we’ll keep dreaming.
We’re thankful for you. That the "you" who reads this blog and are here in it with us. Together. Us together. It’s a beautiful thing this Body of Christ.