Posted by Jenny Waltman
Jason and I experienced so much joy, friendship and learning during our time at Samford University. Some of the coolest people we know are friends from our alma mater. Though we don’t regularly see most of those friends, our hearts have never stopped loving them, hoping the best for them and being so unbelievably proud of their accomplishments. We all left that place, excited to take on the world. Eager to see the plan God had for each of our lives. We attended many of each other’s weddings, visited each other’s mix-matched apartments, helped paint first houses, visited the hospitals when we had babies, ate leftovers together and shared the highs and lows of our careers. It’s funny, whether we see each other once a month or every five years, we catch up where we left off. We remember the inside jokes, our weaknesses, the little things that make each other smile.
College friends have history and it compels us to care for one another. When we get word that a marriage is in crisis, we pray for one another. We want to fight for that marriage too. If our kids get sick, or a parent is diagnosed with cancer, or we lose our job, or someone battles infertility, it hurts us too. These friends are family to us. Time and distance doesn’t matter. We have history together and so we cannot help but to love one another. Sure college is a season and God has taken us on all different paths, but catching up is always so sweet. We cry together, we really listen, our hearts share a sweetness I cannot explain, but you probably feel with your own “back then” people.
Recently, a friend of ours accepted a new pastor job. Saying goodbye to a church they totally love is so hard, but the new adventure of what God is doing is so good too. We feel all that mix of emotion as he explains the journey they find themselves on. Then, he asks the buddy question to Jason, “Hey, I found this house. Can you come take a look, make sure it’s not ‘the money pit,’ let me know what you think?” Of course. How do you say no? We are so proud of him. He’s giving his life to teach the Word of God. My sweet summer missionary partner from way back when, is now his wife. Ha. They have this sweet little boy, after years of waiting on God. He’s shown Himself so faithful over their lives, over the beautiful calling He has for them.
We go drive over to meet him at the prospective house last Sunday afternoon. We dream with him about what can be from what is. Jason tells him what he has to fix and what’s totally ok. We laugh at the possibilities and the work that lies ahead. He never dreamed of living somewhere so nice. We never dreamed it either. We hope God surprises them. They will use every bit for His glory.
Before heading home, we stop for dinner at some BBQ dive, more for the conversation than the food. We talk fast knowing our time together is short. We tell him how proud we are of him. He tells us how proud he is of us. Ahh, our own little fan club. God uses him to encourage us with a simple quote:
“The place God calls you to is where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” – Frederick Buechner
He says something that speaks to us, “Somehow God has allowed your work to become your worship to Him, it is not obligatory, but that of a cheerful giver. It seems that you really live the place where your deep gladness and the needs of the world meet. You live the Hebrew word “avodah” which translates work as worship. Avodah is work as service to God with joy. Yes, from the beginning that is why we believed Grace Klein Construction should exist. Grace Klein Construction is for worship. During that moment, we felt so encouraged that someone we rarely see completely understands God’s work in us. He encouraged us to never abandon the calling on our lives. God used him to fan our flame, to fuel our mission, to encourage our weariness and to challenge our obedience.
We followed him to his new church building to check it out. We wanted to dream with him about the new flock that will be under his care. We wanted to celebrate with him and dream about what God would do there in the days and months and years ahead. God’s work is a living, breathing organic thing that never stops. The adventure is amazing.
As we were saying our goodbyes, he handed Jason a card that read … “For my ambassador of avodah – for our forever friends at Grace Klein!” We drove home, late into the night, praising God for the gift of relationships and the calling He has on our lives. Oh that we will prove faithful in all things.
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” – Ephesians 1:10