If you missed part one you can find it here.
It was the spring of 2011. I was sitting in a teacher’s room during a meeting. Still being fairly new to the district, we were just talking and getting to know one another a little. I can’t even remember how the topic came up, but one of the teachers close to retirement started talking about the year she took off to travel the country with her husband and children. How it was one of the best things she’s ever done.
I can’t explain what happened inside of me after that conversation. Something was released. It was like I had this desire deep inside of me and this conversation was all it needed to bubble to the surface. It was at that moment, the dream was planted in my heart.
I deeply believe that that the Holy Spirit is speaking to the hearts of Christians. Dreams are given, hearts opened, visions seen, callings spoken. I don’t say this lightly and I don’t say this in a judgmental way, but I think more often than not, we as Christians abort these ideas that God gives us. We shrug them off because it’s not the time, or they’re too expensive, or they don’t make logical sense. Sometimes the opposite happens. We jump right in because we feel God spoke to us and think we need to do something right away because we know what God said to do. And then when it falls short, we dismiss it as not being from Him. I would gather to say, though, that the latter is usually true.
I say this because I spent much of my life in that safe place. I’ve always been one internally to buck the status quo, but I’ve allowed fear to lead me, rather than the Holy Spirit. And so obedience hasn’t been my strength.
I’m not going to claim to be some expert on knowing when to act when we hear from God. Sometimes, there is an immediate obedience to follow where we jump in with two feet and go for it. But I think more often than not, there’s a waiting that’s required. A waiting to know more clearly what He wants, a waiting that grows us so we’re ready, a waiting where He prepares us for what’s to come. A waiting where we recognize how much we need Him. A waiting that grows our surrender, because we realize there’s so little we can do on our own and so much we need Him for. We take steps towards what we feel like He’s calling us to. But we let Him guide them. We let Him show us the path, rather than taking the path we want and hoping He’s along for the ride.
Believe me I speak from experience that this process can be oh-so-painful. And I think that’s what causes people to jump ship. We live in a time and place where we want things handed to us. We want to be on the other side already. We don’t want to face the hard work in front of us. We’re not willing to go after it, no matter the cost.
Does the Bible say to obey God only when it makes sense? Only when our bank account is full? Only when we’ve established a retirement account? Only when our kids are grown? Only when we have been trained properly? Of course not. And in fact, when you look at the brave men and women of the Bible who obeyed His calling, you can see that their path was full of things that were hard. Things that cost them. Things that made no sense, but yet things that brought honor and glory to God and brought them blessing.
My pastor once spoke about obedience in this way. God wants to use all of us for His purposes. There’s work to be done and He’s calling us to it. And if we aren’t the ones to do it, He’ll find someone else. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to miss what He has for us. I don’t want to miss what He wants to use me for. What He wants to do through my family.
The past four years have cost us a lot. The obvious cost has been financial strain and yet, how much have I learned that God is my provider. It has cost me relationship and yet how much have I learned that my audience is One. It has cost me physical stress and wear and tear on my body but how much have I learned that He gives me rest. It has cost me more than my share of tears but how much have I learned that He is always with me. But above the cost? Is my relationship with Him. I’m convinced He was preparing us for this next season. What has been planted will reveal a harvest.
I can’t tell you why God is asking us to sell most of our possessions, including our house, and suddenly take on a nomadic lifestyle. To me it is my dream come true: time with my family, allowing our kids to experience places around our beautiful country rather than just read about them, giving in to our adventurous spirits and creating lifelong memories. But lately it has felt a lot more heavy. Like it’s bigger than just my little dream. There’s Kingdom work out there for us. And He’s going to lead us to it.
There’s something we’re all called to do here on earth. Something He has for each of us. And what’s fascinating to me is that the God who can do it all, still chooses to partner with us. He chooses to use us. I want to be part of Kingdom work. Maybe it’s just a seed planter, maybe it’s more. I’m asking Him to reveal the work He has for us as we take our next steps to travel. And I only have pieces, not a big picture.
But the one thing I’ll share that I do hear Him saying is simple. “Take me with you.”
Not in a begging way like, “Please, don’t forget me.” But in a commanding way. And at the same time a reassuring way. “Take me with you. Remember, I make my home in you.”
I don’t want to miss the work God has for us. And whether we travel the country or not, we can still do Kingdom building, in our family and in our community. This lifestyle we are moving into isn’t for everyone. God’s not asking everyone to do it.
But He is asking all of us to be obedient. Are we quiet enough to hear it? Are we willing enough to do it? Do we trust the safety of what we know and what makes sense over the call of God to something we can’t see or even know what’s next?
That’s not a question I can answer for anyone other than myself. I’ve taken those questions to Him. The honest truth, is that I want more of Him. I want to do the work He has for me. Even if it means leaving the safety of what I know for the adventure of trusting He knows the way forward. Even if it means leaving a brick and mortar for 200 square feet on wheels.
So here we are. No longer dreaming about it. But being obedient to the call of God. I don’t know exactly what’s next, nor how long it’s going to take. It’s been a long six years of waiting and I’d be lying if I didn’t want to be out of here in six weeks. But I certainly have learned God is never on my timeline. And it’s better for me to let Him do what He does, rather than force it to happen on my own.
This quote from Leonard Ravenhill has challenged me greatly.
While we often huddle in groups of like-minded people, those with faith blaze a trail that threatens all of our comfort zones. Faith offends the stationary.
I don’t know about you, but I want to be the one with faith, not the one standing still. I’d rather be crazy with Jesus than normal without Him.
So with that in mind, here’s to our next steps, friends. Buying a travel trailer. Searching for traveling jobs. Mapping out road trips. Dreaming and trusting and waiting with great anticipation to our launch day.
Here’s to going after Him.
I’’ll leave you with a bit of encouragement from missionary Philliippa Brooks. She recently posted this on IG and I heartily give it an amen!
I cannot offer burnt offerings to the Lord that cost me nothing. This past year has cost a lot, obedience often does. But as I sit here on the other side of those decisions and choices, of following the Lord even when it felt hard and it hurt – there is so much peace and joy. It is everything our souls were made for – to be at peace and to be fully committed to the way of our Savior.
We are now within the final leg of moving into this new village and instead of asking the Lord, “Why Lord? Why me?” I find myself saying, “Thank you Lord – thank you for allowing me to experience you so faithfully and so personally as you call us on in your perfect will.” There are no regrets in following our precious Savior. There may be hard days, hard years, but the grace, the peace and the joy He pours into our lives through it makes the journey a gift for which we praise Him for; for through it we know Him more.
I pray if any of you feel the Lord is asking hard things of you right now, that you will follow Him, obey Him, lean into Him no matter how unclear the way ahead may feel – and that you will trust Him with all your heart.
It is worth it; simply because He is worthy.
Do it, dear reader. Go after those hard things He’s asking of you. It is worth it. He is worth it.