If you missed part one of this post, you find the link here.
There are so many bits and pieces that happened in the three years I stayed with the last district. As I mentioned in the previous post, God was working so much in my heart during that time. I had changed and grown so much. And yet still had so much more growing and trusting to do. I can’t possibly share all the pieces that led up to where I was emotionally in the spring of 2013, but I’ll try to highlight a few.
Naomi was born right after Christmas in 2012. I had twelve weeks to be home with her before I had to go back. I was in denial. My prayers reached what was likely an all-time screeching on God’s ears.
What I didn’t realize during this time that I realized upon looking back, was that I was approaching this place, and the only way I know how to describe it is heaven and earth colliding. Where all the prayers and tears of the past seven years, the pleading, the doubting, the dreaming, the hoping; all of those things from the spiritual realm were suddenly crashing to earth. My flesh was sensing what my spirit knew for a long time. That it was time. It was time to just let go and take a leap of faith and trust God. Trust that all the things He was working in my heart in the last several years were true. That He was good and worthy of praise and worthy of my trust. That surrendering my life, my doubts, my hold over finances and what I could see with my eyes needed to happen.
I don’t know how to describe this feeling but the weight of it all was so heavy. I cried all the time. I couldn’t stop thinking about the fact that I had to go back to work and leave four kids now and that there was just no way I could do it. I couldn’t do it anymore. I didn’t belong there anymore and I needed to leave.
I really was in a place of oppression that I never knew before and have not known since. The enemy’s voice was non-stop in my ear. “This will never work. You can’t do it. You’re not strong enough. You’re going to fail. There isn’t enough money. You’re stuck in education forever.” On and on and on. Because I had not yet learned to shut out his voice, in the fight and struggle of it all, I still needed confirmation. I still doubted I was hearing God right. Because what He was asking me to do was to defy what made sense in the eyes of the world and leave my job. Leave the security of a regular paycheck that provided for our needs and trust God would provide for us, somehow. And beyond that, trust that His words and promises to me over the years were true.
I remember a night in mid-April of that year. Naomi was only a few months old, the kids were sleeping, Jason was working late. And I was in the midst of what seemed like a panic attack. If you’ve ever experienced a spiritual battle that you know was happening, you know the feeling. I was laying in bed, and literally crying and screaming out to God. “I can’t hear you. Do you realize what you’re asking me to do? Do you understand how hard that is for me?” I beat the pillows over and over and cried like never before. And then I told God something ridiculous. I knew that week at church we were having a speaker come that I hadn’t heard speak before, but I knew he walked in the prophetic. I’ve never done this before and haven’t since then. But I asked God to please, please give this man a word for me. Words that would confirm what I’m about to do.
Here I am, years into learning how to hear God’s voice. I knew what He was telling me to do, but I was stubborn and wanted to make sure I was right and didn’t make a mistake and didn’t do something crazy and have everyone look at us like we’re mad. I knew He was asking me to leave my job, but dang it, I wanted security. I wanted something tangible. I didn’t want faith and hope. I wanted to know it was the “right” thing to do.
Sunday morning comes. I’m in our normal position in the front row. The speaker is in the front row on the other side. After worship, he comes forward to talk, and before he goes into his message, he says he has to share a word for someone and what do you know, he comes over to me.
I think my heart might have stopped. I was glued to my seat. No one in the room, not even my husband, knew that just a few nights ago, I had literally cried my heart out of my chest and asked God to have this man, who was standing in front of me, offer me a word of encouragement. It was a selfish request and I knew it. And yet, God honored it.
I clung to the word He gave me. He said when he was worshiping, he kept looking at me and hearing the words, “The Lord of the Breakthrough, the Lord of the Breakthrough.” I won’t share all of what this man said to me, but I will say that some of his exact words to me were, “And the Lord is going to be bringing you through something you’ve been facing for a period of time because He is the God of the Breakthrough.”
It didn’t hit me then what he actually said to me. Because all I could think of while he was talking was that God had heard me. And not only had He heard me, but He had taken my desire for confirmation and honored it as I had asked. I don’t know why He would do that for me, other than the fact that He loves me. That He had tried so patiently to get through to me so many times and so many ways and I guess if this is what I needed, He was saying, “Allison, I hear you. I’ve been telling you to trust me. But here, I’ll use this man to tell you again.”
I think the breakthrough he was talking about has two parts. One, it was what I needed to hear in the moment, that God was breaking through my prayers from so many years and breaking through to my heart that He was trustworthy. That this time of doubt I had for so long, that I actually could live this dream, was coming to an end. And even though I needed this confirmation at that point in my faith, it was really the second kind of breakthrough that was more important. And that was this: God had heard me. He heard my prayers from all those years, He knew my heart, He knew my desires. And despite all my doubts and fears, I had heard Him too. That He had spoken to me and I really did know what He was telling me to do. And all the wrestling and anxiety and oppression I was feeling was because I hadn’t allowed the breakthrough to be reality.
I still had to take the step. I’d like to say I didn’t wrestle with the decision but I still did for the next month. But I knew what I had to do. And so, in June, I turned in my resignation letter. I prayed hard that if I wasn’t to do it, that God would give me that same feeling I had back when I had my first teaching job in PA, that He would somehow supernaturally stop me. But He didn’t.
About a week later, I suddenly realized that the chattering in my ear had stopped. That I had so much peace. I actually didn’t realize the weight of the burden until it was gone. Little did I know how hard the next few years would be. Little did I know what was to come. But it didn’t matter then. That moment for me was about obedience. About the fact that I did it. I finally went after the promise of God that He would provide and that I could trust Him. And that He had truly broken through in my life as a God who loves me, who hears me, and who answers me.
Being home has been me, living my dream. It hasn’t been easy, I promise you. We are in the midst of difficulties. We’re still making tough decisions. But I’m still at peace. And even knowing what kind of debt we carry now and how hard it’s been, I still would do it in a heartbeat. These days with my children are the best thing I could ever want in my life.
And as I’ve rewritten this for you here, I’ve cried again and again. Because this story, mamas, is a reminder that God sees us and loves us. He knows our hearts and our desires. He knows us by name. This is just a small piece of my story. But it can be your story too.
Because whatever dream God has planted in your heart, whether it be something as I shared as the desire to be home, or a business you want to start, or a way to just have more time with your children, or whatever, I encourage you to take it to Him. And know He will speak to you, but you have to listen for it. It’s taken me way too many years of my life to finally just stop and listen.
Write down what you think He’s saying or take it back to Him to make sure. But then. Then you have to do it. It likely won’t be easy. You’ll likely have troubles and sacrifices and difficulties.
But go for it. The wild ride is worth knowing Him more. And trust that He’s there beside you. Trust He’s leading you through it. Trust that His plans for you are good. I’m cheering you on.
And more importantly, so is He.