My RaiseUpFaith Story: Trusting the Captain

It's been a voyage of discovery through stormy waters and foggy skies as God teaches us to trust Him to steer the ship, and raises up faith right within the hearts and lives of the employees of the so-named organization.

Natalie Frisk
5 minute read

God has a funny way of reminding us that He’s steering the ship.

At the end of May 2022, I resigned from a multisite church that I'd been employed at for almost 15 years because I felt God had finally told me to set it down. I had no idea how our family was going to pay our mortgage but felt clearly that I was meant to resign. That day. My husband agreed. I wrote and sent my letter.

Three days later, I was on a Zoom call with a media company from the UK that, among other things, creates and curates Christian curriculum for children and youth. They wanted to offer me a role. A few days after that, I stared at a drafted job description to be their new Director of Curriculum.

Leading up to the end of my time at the multisite church had been the most difficult season of my life. I could write a whole book about it but suffice to say I was beyond burnout. Ministry leaders I trusted and felt like family had been charged with abuses. I fell into a dangerous depression. The valley of the shadow of death.

Fast forward a few months and I was able to visit the offices of the company that now employed me remotely. The office space for RaiseUpFaith was on the outskirts of Bristol, along the most English of country lanes, in a 400-year-old barn, aptly titled 'The Wonderbarn.'

The Wonderbarn had so many things that provided pockets of joy: a horse in the pasture that most often wore a blanket covering so it looked like a zebra; a cat that would climb the stairs and beg for affection; barn beams that held twinkle lights just because; but most joyful, were the amazing new colleagues I found. Some of these colleagues, I learned, God had brought on similarly strange voyages across seas of confusion, toxic work situations, burnout, and pain.

Together, we went on a retreat - planning, yes, but more prominently for prayer together. We all were there because we had followed God’s leading, trusting Him, into unknown waters. At one point, I stood on the shore of the small English seaside town, Croyde – the surfing capital of the UK (who knew that existed?!). I took many deep breaths inhaling the salty air. The wind blew swiftly, but still gently. The temperature just perfect. As I inhaled, every now and then, I would just giggle. How did I get here? What an impossible and wild journey! I'm so glad that God (and not me!) is steering the ship.

We were all on a voyage of discovery together. Learning how this aptly named organization, RaiseUpFaith, was teaching us to trust in Him when the waters were stormy, when the navigation felt confusing, and when we couldn’t see the way forward because of the fog.

And, we were also reminded of God’s great sense of humour. It felt unreal, but in seasons when we really struggled to trust, there were inexplicable issues with a handful of lessons on our platform. Tech-wise, the issues didn’t seem to make sense. The lessons were from a series called Trust. The lesson titles were: Confused, Impossible, Ridiculous, Promise, and Afraid. But even better, were the Big Ideas for these lessons. Big Ideas we, clearly, needed to be reminded of again and again.

  • We can trust God even when we don’t understand.

  • We can trust God when things seem impossible.

  • We can trust God even when it seems ridiculous.

  • We can trust God to keep his promises.

  • We can trust God even when we feel afraid.

These Big Ideas were, and continue to be, reminders to each of us that we can trust God. And when it is difficult, we can still trust God. And when we forget, we can trust God again.

In the realm of children’s and youth ministry, trust is paramount to hope. We trust in God to do the work in and through us to reach kids with his love and good news. We hope in Jesus that the prayers and efforts will not go to waste. And we really do have such hope for the younger generations and the generations to come.

Throughout the last year, our organization has experienced some flux and shifts, and our reliance on the Captain to steer the ship has increased all the more. He’s reminded us of this reality that, not only should we trust in Him, we can trust in Him. When we’re at the end of ourselves, when we’re in the midst of tumultuous storms, when we’re struggling to take one more step, we can trust in Him.

And as we’ve been reminded of this trust, as we’ve grown in our ability to trust, as our trust has been strengthened, our faith has grown. He’s raising up faith right within the hearts and lives of the employees of the so-named organization.

I must admit, at times as God has been forming us, I have been frustrated. Maybe you can relate.

God, why does formation take soooo long? Can’t we just move on with it? We get it, trust, yes. Now, can we get going??

But the truth is, as humans, these lessons do take time. Formation takes time. Building our trust-muscles takes time, endurance, perseverance. And God gently, but continually, adds the trust-weights to our reps. Yes, our muscles ache, but it’s a good hurt. A growth hurt.

At one point, in experiencing this ‘growth hurt,’ I found myself saying, 'But why God? Why must it happen like that?' And He pointed me to the story of Lazarus in John 11, in particular, verse 4: '…it happened for the glory of God so that the Son of God will receive glory from this.'

When we trust in God, as we get to the end of ourselves, we realize that it is in and through Him that the Kingdom is built, that faith grows, that mountains move. We trust. He receives glory.

And so, here I am. Here we are. A team desiring deeply to raise up faith in younger generations while, at the same time, we are experiencing faith being raised up in us. And so, we echo the words of the psalmist here,

'Let us, your servants, see you work again; let our children see your glory. And may the Lord our God show us his approval and make our efforts successful. Yes, make our efforts successful!' Psalm 90:16-17 (NLT)

Amen. Let it be so.

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