Today marks four months since Jill and I left Knoxville for our new hometown, Hendersonville. We followed God’s call to a strange, new, exotic place, and began a new life together. Maybe not so much exotic, but definitely new.
New brand of milk.
That might have been the hardest adjustment. What can I say? We love our Mayfield.
No offense, Purity.
We came here because God has made it clear to us that music and leading worship are my passions and the use of which is my calling. We also came here because I have an incredible wife, willing to leave all comfort, family, and friends to obey the word of Christ. It honors me that she would love me so deeply.
Jill and I have really grown together these last four months. Meaning together we have grown, and we are so much closer. We’ve had to grow up a lot. I have to look to her more and she has to look to me. But it’s easier to trust each other. It’s harder to raise my voice. It’s sweeter to spend time together.
I can’t imagine marriage without Christ.
We left a lot. Or much. Or whatever. Suffice it to say, we were happy in Knoxville. We loved our church, our friends, the city, the mountains. We experienced rich community with believers whom we loved and with whom we had walked for several years. I was growing content and accustomed to the thought of playing music as more of a hobby than a full-time, careerish endeavor. And I fully expected to be an engineer out of college because, c’mon, let’s face it, musicians are poor. And Jill supported me the whole time, encouraged me, and lifted my head when I lusted after control we both knew was God’s.
Then I heard him call.
Not God, Jason Egly.
Calling my cellphone.
The day before my wedding. Asking me if there was any way I could cram 30 hours of [senior engineering] classes into one semester so we could move down to Hendersonville in December. I chuckled politely. No, Jason. Silly Egly.
But apparently God wanted us here. He made a way for me to get this job. He planted some weird little seed in Egly after having seen me lead worship one time – and having known me for maybe one week – and it grew into the realization of something that gives me pure joy to do. I get to lead God’s children in worshiping Him. For my “job”.
It would be easy for me to take credit right here. I could point to how Jill and I followed God’s call and hyperbolize on how we packed up all our sheep and tents and garments and pita bread to trek the wild, arid Ariabian to reach the Promised Land, and how much faith that took. But that’s just silly. It’s easier to follow when the destination includes something you love to do. I could also boast in how our following has blessed us. And that is very true. He has blessed us richly since we’ve been here. With jobs for both of us. We have new friends, means to buy food, gas, clothes. We have money to tithe.
But that by itself reduces the call of Jesus to an equation, and Jesus is not a variable in a formula.
The thing I’m learning is that following is not about me at all.
Not about the blessing, but about the Blesser.
I followed, but Jesus called. That is how it should read. It’s not that Jill and I were somehow worthy to be called, but that Christ as the Son of God is the only One worthy to call.
We are blessed because He loved us enough to allow Himself to be murdered, just so we – the murderers – might become His children, to call us back to life. And He loves us enough still to sustain us through many more calls. To Hendersonville, to this job, to that mission. Into this rejection, through that suffering.
God will shatter my bad, selfish dreams as well as my good, nice dreams, if they don’t put Him center stage. All my honorable, well-intentioned, philanthropistic goals and motives are worthless unless they are saturated with Jesus and His gospel. Through all of this Jill and I are learning to be careful of having things too planned out. In our experience, that’s usually when God, in His velvet hammer sort of way, reveals how wrong we were.
So it has been a great four months. We have learned so much, and can’t wait to walk through whatever God has for us next.