SOS Kenny McNatt

Kenny McNatt is Lead Pastor of Canvas Community Church in Manchester, TN.

In all of the times that I had been in hospitals, the cold, sterile atmosphere had never been so painful. I couldn’t even begin to count how many times that I had been in emergency rooms with others. But this time I was there with the love of my life. I had never felt so inadequate, so incapable of making things better. The look in Amy’s eyes and the sense of emptiness was overwhelming. All I could do was stand there and hold her hand as we experienced the loss of our first child. We did work through the first miscarriage and were blessed with our son who is now 12. Unfortunately, we would experience having a miscarriage two more times in our desire to have a family. It was so hard to understand why. Why, after committing our lives to pursuing God and his purpose for our lives, would he allow this profound sense of loss.

In 2008, we were presented with an opportunity to adopt a precious three-month old baby girl that had been removed from her home and placed in the custody of the state department of children’s services. We were so excited to have the opportunity to give her a home and feel that we had completed our family. Due to loopholes in the system, the adoption never materialized. Our hearts were broken. We decided that we would keep our home open as an adoptive placement in hopes of adoption.

Adoption never happened but heartbreak did. We had two additional placements that were supposed to be adoptions and in each case, the adoptions failed. It was a painful decision, but we decided to close our home. After 10 years of hoping to have another child and having two failed adoption attempts, it became very clear that we needed to be content and focus on the tremendous blessing that our son is.

For over ten years we were involved in fruitful ministry. God was using us in spite of our personal struggle with understanding why?  But, as we were going through those very difficult moments, we never really stopped long enough to realize that God was birthing in us a deep desire that opened the door to two new areas of ministry:  To minister to young families that have experienced the devastation of miscarriage and to reach families that are at risk of losing their children as a result of addiction.

The desire to reach families led us to make the difficult decision to leave a comfortable staff position to plant a church targeting young families who are far from Christ. As a result Canvas Community Church was launched in 2009. God has taken the most painful moments of our lives and turned them into a reservoir of compassion for others. Those moments were the formative times for the vision, passion and desire to rescue families from the emptiness of life without Christ.

As I write this article, after ten years of wondering why, I am looking at the most beautiful baby girl in the world, now officially 8 days old. She is an ever-present reminder that it’s not easy to stay up all night and that God has a reason for allowing us to experience “sifting” moments in life. Those reasons, while often blurred by our tears of hurt, anger and disappointment, will one day become clear as we continue to follow Christ. I know that there will be more sifting times.  I also know that as we experience the disappointments and pain that is often associated with ministry, God has a plan.

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