My Journey Began
Sometimes the yes is big and sometimes it feels small. And although I call myself a cradle Christian, it was decades before God called me to some really big yeses.
I was born and raised in the church. The Bible was such a normal thing to me that I vividly remember the day one of my best friends said she didn't know the story of Noah's Ark. We spent the rest of the day reading my kid's Bible because I deeply felt like she was missing out on important stories of the past. I guess you could say that was my first experience as a Bible teacher.
My testimony of coming to know Jesus is uneventful. There was no aha moment or rock bottom night. My relationship with Jesus was always there and had an ebb and flow through my teen and young adult years.
Aaron and I's move to NC felt like a big jump. We asked God to 'slap us in the face' with the answer of whether or not to move because we didn't know how we would ever decide. Should we stay in Missouri where all of our family was or move far away to follow his first job?
We moved and within 6 months lost our first baby to a fatal birth defect. That was the first time in my life I experienced a great loss, one that forced me to turn to Jesus. In some ways, I felt like that was when I arrived in my faith.
Then there was the move to TX. It was exciting and full of anticipation. I cried and cried in the months to come as I missed my dearest friends and community, but we knew we had made the right decision.
I tell you all of this to show how there were some major events in my life, but for the most part I was coasting along in my faith walk, learning more about Jesus and the Bible, who God says I am, and always trying to be more of who He had planned for me to be.
Within a year of getting to TX God downloaded this book into my mind. I went home, wrote it all down, had all the emotions of really hearing God, and then sat back in confusion. How could this be right? Writing a book has nothing to do with the direction I thought I was headed. I'm not trained as a writer. It was never a desire of mine. It didn't make sense. Still, I was so compelled and so filled with words that I had to get them down on paper. So, for the next 8 months, I wrote every chance I had. And finally, I was so ready to be done, I fasted from all electronics, including television, until the first manuscript was done. That took less than 7 days! I had no idea how to publish or if I was even supposed to, so Aaron loving encouraged me by saying, "Even if only our children read the book, it will be worth it." And with that, I laid the 8 months of work on a bookshelf and went on with life. I was experiencing obedience to God in a whole new way.
Shortly after I completed the manuscript, Aaron and I were in service at church on orphan weekend. By the end of the service, we knew our lives were about to change. God was asking for another yes, a bigger yes.
In that moment, the book became a memory of the past. This was it! God was calling us completely beyond ourselves and our desires into our big Christian move. We thought this would check our big Christian box and we would arrive as Jesus followers. For the next 2 years our lives were consumed with paperwork, trainings, fear, new friends, anxiety, tears, waiting, and very little control. We experienced a nearness to and dependence on God that we had never experienced before. But exactly 2 years to the month of saying yes to adoption, we went to court and adopted our boys.
We Had Arrived!
We took a deep breath and tried to balance the desperate need to feel like we could stand on our own 2 feet again while desiring to be back in the Lord's hands with him guiding and even carrying us into new territory. Nonetheless, we had arrived at a new level of faith and relationship that was amazing, exciting, terrifying, and wonderful!
Accept the thing is we hadn't arrived at all.
What we quickly realized is that we were still just us, traveling the path God chose for us, and in many ways more intently looking for what He would call us to next. You see my friends, there is no arriving in our faith walk. This side of heaven there will always be another mountain to climb, another chain to break, another ark to build, another sin to overcome. There will be more flesh to die to and another cross to pick up. (Luke 9:23) So whether you feel like it's too late, or you've already tried too many times, or you aren't strong enough, talented enough, brave enough, enough is enough! You are enough if you will submit to the one who promises to be your strength.
Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.
2 Corinthians 12:9
Know that if you ever ask, how much farther can I go, or God forbid feel like to have arrived in your faith, you should watch out. I assure you neither of those things is true. Within months of getting our boys home, while still finding our new normal with 5, count them, 5 children, God began to bring the book back to my mind. Recognizing His voice more and more clearly, I quickly acted on it and asked Aaron if I could steal away to do an edit on my first manuscript. And my obedience was followed by God bringing the right people into my life for an entire year. First, a friend that led to an editor. Then a new friend that led to a publisher. A web designer offered his help at no cost as did a videographer just before I gave up on affording a book trailer. The list goes on and on and on and God isn't one for letting you know too much in advance, but He is never late. When you take a step, He WILL show up.
So what is He calling you to? What has He been quickening in you just now? What idea do you want to push away out of fear? What is that thing that is uncomfortable and scary? Let me tell you, adoption was not in our plans. There was NO part of me that wanted that messy world in our lives. I had even said it out loud before. But God's plans are ALWAYS better!
Go on, Get Uncomfortable
Let me tell you something else. You must get uncomfortable for God to really show up. If you have everything under control, are staying within your capabilities and talents, playing it safe, sticking to your norm, your not giving God room to work. Luke 9:24 says, "If you are trying to hold onto your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it." But you need to make a move and get uncomfortable first. He could have moved the stone. He could have healed without the man standing. But He often requires us to move first!
I'm not sharing this to encourage you to believe the Bible, serve in your church, love one another. All of those things are good and necessary. But I am sharing with you as a changed woman because I got uncomfortable. I made difficult choices that weren't always in the direction I wanted to go. I cried in my closet out of fear and discomfort. But I did all of it as I was saying yes to God so I felt God's love, provision, and strength like never before. I was taking a step toward being more like Christ and came out on the other side strengthened, loved, and filled with joy like never before.
And now it is my greatest joy to encourage and walk with others that are ready to get uncomfortable for God so that they can more fully experience Him!
I am currently reading Control Girl by Shannon Popkin. It was recommended by a friend who said it was a very difficult read for us control girls. One thing I have learned over and over again in the past 5 years is how much I crave control and how little I truly have. In the second chapter, Shannon talks about building a bridge between what we say we believe about God and how we live our lives. If we say we believe He is trustworthy, a good Father and loves us unconditionally than we should be willing to surrender to Him. Instead, we try to control everything ourselves, trusting more in ourselves. Surrender is a powerful word, somewhat overwhelming. She describes surrender as "lifting our hands in church as we softly sing along with the worship leader. Surrender seems so sweet and serene, under dimmed lights." I love what she says next. It's the new reality I have experienced by saying yes. "Surrender might begin with hands lifted in worship, but it will culminate in the uphill challenge of relinquishing control. That's what surrender is."
You will want to quit, but I can now say, after walking with God in this way, the other side of yes is way better than quitting and going back to comfortable.
I pray that from his glorious, unlimmited resources he will empower you with inner strenth through his spirit. Ephesians 3:16
So What It Is?
What is God calling you too?!?!?! I'm so excited to know!!!!
Is it forgiveness?
A job change?
A relationship change?
Serving in a new way?
A new calling on your life?
Is is loving better?
Dying to selfish desires?
Accepting where you were wrong and asking forgiveness?
The list is endless but God knows and chances are you do too. The time is now! I would love to know what God is calling you to, no matter how big or small it seems. I would be honored to pray with you and encourage as you step out, and Say Yes!
Comment below or send me an email and share! You are not in this alone.