Sunday, December 5, 2010

Learning to Argue with God and Win

When was the last time you argued with God? Argue. You know, that’s when He says something and you disagree. In the past I knew the difference between arguing with my wife and arguing with God in that He didn’t go past the first two go-rounds. God doesn’t repeat Himself He just lets me talk until I run out of words. It’s the deafening silence that tells me the argument is over.

“Dalton, do this.”

“Lord, why would I do that? I don’t think so. What do you mean?” 


“Now wait a minute Lord, come back here. You were talking to me. You know I don’t want to have to do that. Lord? Are You there? Lord….”


Oh, how I would love to think that He wins when that happens, but just giving in is no win for either of us. Giving in is not the same as Him winning because we will revisit the issue until I let Him win rightfully. Of course He wins, He’s God. But, if I choose to yield first instead of going on and on incessantly, then it can be a win for both of us. My surrender pleases Him and me.

My big argument with God started late last year. For seven years I labored with God to birth and grow a ministry that He inspired and loved. Then reaching what looked to many like the beginning of a whole new exciting level of growth, we peaked. Just two months after He provided the cash to purchase the 20 acres He promised; the bottom began to drop out. It was barely noticeable at first, but then it just started falling away.

We ran the numbers and realized that we couldn’t sustain the budget. My doubts ended when we had to lay off our staff; and then our volunteers and even some key team members stopped calling. They were facing personal challenges that caused them to have to pull back on their investment of time and energy in the ministry. They didn’t want to but their choice was simple; it was either this or that, but not both this and that.

And our ministry was that.

By Easter morning I could no longer avoid the conversation with God. On Easter Sundays my wife and I attend two or three worship services with church families we have worked closely with during the year. We were at the last service late that morning and I silently stood with my eyes closed, lost in the praise and worship, when God spoke.

“Dalton let it go. I don’t want you to worry about this anymore. You don’t have to be responsible for the retreat center any more. It’s not your problem. I got it.”

“But Lord! We have prayed for your Spirit to walk freely around the place. You remember the people who tell how they sense Your Presence - just driving on the property? What will happen if...”

This time He didn’t let me finish; He interrupted me, “Dalton. It’s just dirt and stucco!”


And I was the one who was silent.

He had the last word. I was through arguing.

Then I began to sense weight falling off of my shoulders. I looked around and there was nothing on the floor behind me, but I felt lighter. The praise time was over and I was sitting in my chair listening to the message but there was music going on inside of me, gentle praise and joy. I began to sense peace, the kind of peace I had not experienced in months.

The point of surrender is the beginning of peace. You don’t have to argue to get to surrender, but God is willing to argue if necessary to get you there. To Him it’s worth the argument if you end up with peace.

Seven months later the music is still playing inside me. The Lord has provided a couple who want to buy the property to establish and operate a prayer retreat center in our region. They found our property to be perfect for fulfilling the God-dream they’ve had for twenty years.

You can win with Him if you stay in the conversation. I just recommend you surrender early, and “ still and KNOW that I am God”.

Dalton Jantzen and his wife Vicki minister side by side through 30 60 100 Ministries, Inc. providing coaching and equipping tools for servant leaders across North and South America, Europe and SE Asia. Their focus is to equip believers to challenge their culture without reservation and make common Christian complacency obsolete.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

First Rate Help Mate

Genesis 2:18 “The Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” ESV

As a recently turned nineteen year old I said “Yes” to a proposal that my husband affectionately calls a ‘two-fer’, “Will you be my wife and come to Colombia to live in the jungle with me?”

That was the start of more than sixteen years of adventure, with a lifestyle that could have made a feature article in National Geographic, or the setting for a Survivor Game; it was Reality vs. the imagined Romantic Tarzan and Jane adventure I had in mind. Our lifestyle was rustic to say the least. We lived along a river in the jungle in bamboo houses with no electricity, no running water, cooking over wood fires, and washing clothes on a raft in the river. My children were birthed there, and I became not only Mom to them, but their teacher too. We lived in the middle of a sector that was surrounded by terrorists called ‘guerrillas’ rebelling against the government, and Mafia cartels who were supplying arms and funding for their activities through the drug trade. We saw white powder traded in the river store for fridges and boat motors and sewing machines. 

During those sixteen years I was known as Dalton’s wife, later as Jesse, Seth and Amy’s mom, but who was I? What was my identity? Did helping my husband fulfill his call minimize who I was or was supposed to be?
I left the States as a teen bride, and returned as Mother of a family with three children. Reintegrating to life in the United States was not that easy. Finding our place with no history as a couple or family meant we couldn’t even get our own electricity or telephone or buy a car without a co-signer. I felt my identity growing more obscure. I had made a commitment the day we married, but did that mean I would be erased as a person?

Fast forward to a recent adventure as empty nesters. This time, our new facet of ministry was the creation of a ministry to pastors, missionaries and Christian leaders called The Rekindling. One aspect of the ministry involved operating a retreat center, where I found myself in a definitely important role as the retreat hostess; cooking, washing, cleaning for our retreat guests and being the face of the ministry to the public. Not glamorous but important. Appreciated but not completely fulfilling.

Is this who I am, who I’m supposed to be? What about my dreams? What about my passions to teach and coach and write? My questions weren’t rooted in rebellion, but rather God stirring a hunger for the release of those talents while preparing me for the next adventure with Him.

Fast forward to today. The demands of operating a retreat center no longer consume our time and energy, and my husband and I are able to focus on what more completely fulfills our passion in ministry. I have found that God has given me dreams that support and help and complement what He wants my husband and I to do together, rather than competing to see who has the more valid ministry direction.

Through this process I’ve come to learn the value of what our friends Dawn and Dave Lind call, “being a “Team of Two” - two hearts, two dreams blended into one complementing each other, each bringing a vital part to its fulfillment”.

Learning that I’m part of a team with my husband helped me realize that what I do is important, integral, and part of the ministry, and doesn’t take away from who I am. I’ve developed into a multi-faceted person willing to do whatever God puts in my hand to do with the best of my ability, as unto the Lord.

Along the way I’ve found fulfillment and joy in knowing that I am an equal part of the team, not second-rate but first-rate. There is room for me to hear from God and contribute. I have value, I have a place - because God put us together not for one of us to disappear, or consume the other, He put us together to co-labor in the fulfilling of His dream for our lives.

Vicki Jantzen and her husband Dalton work as a “Team of Two” ministering to pastors, missionaries and Christian leaders. Her experience as a missionary and lay pastor’s wife gives her compassion for those they minister to in North and South America, and SE Asia through 30 60 100 Ministries, Inc.