“You Want Me To Do What?!” Following God When It Doesn’t Make Sense Friday, August 25th, 2017
I’ve been writing here for over four years now. I’ve covered many aspects of life as a Christian mom and wife. We’ve laughed and cried. Some people have left and many new have arrived. (Yes, I like that it rhymed. No, I didn’t plan it.)
Usually, I know the end of the story when I share it. I can see the beginning the middle and how it all concludes, wrapped up in a pretty bow of Hope and Truth.
This morning, it is on my heart to share the middle of our story with you. Because that’s where we are. Maybe someday I’ll write a book with all three parts… but today, I want to invite you to see what it feels like to trust God in the middle of the water when you have NO idea how He’s going to bring you safely to the other side… even though you’re confident He will.
So, I’ll preface by saying this. Stories with safe endings are my favorite. They stir up hope. We think, “Well, if God will do that for them, then surely He will do it for me!” There is a faith that rises when we hear how God completed impossible tasks.
But today, God asked me to share with you a story from the middle of the lake. (Actually, from the middle of nowhere Oklahoma, but the middle of the metaphorical lake.)
It’s a place that people rarely write from, but there’s something powerful about sharing my view from here. I think this story will help others in the middle of their story to look around and say, “I’m not alone out here.”
This is what happens when God calls you into deep water. This is what it’s like to trust Him completely.
This is the beginning of the story of our move to California.
Last year, God began to stir in our hearts a love for California. I guess that doesn’t make a lot of sense, but here’s the best way to describe what I mean.
When we visited the state, and we would board the plane to return to Oklahoma, it always felt like we were leaving home rather than going home. It felt like we were supposed to stay.
We mentioned to our families how we felt, but we didn’t know when or how the Lord would release us to go… or if He ever would. We would pray for our friends who lived in the state and the churches we visited when we were there. We would pray for the ministry being done in California. We had a deep longing to go, but that’s really where it ended.
Early this year, the Lord began to create a sense of urgency. Our desire to be a part of the ministry being done in California became stronger. I guess you can describe it like a woman who is getting ready to give birth and wants to get her home in order. We were nesting for California, and began to dream about what life would be like when we arrived.
In February of this year, I was standing at the kitchen sink when I heard God say, “When the offer comes in, take it and go.”
I had no idea what that meant. I’m an author so I didn’t know if there would be an offer on a book proposal or if it would be an offer on our house (that wasn’t for sale at the time.) I didn’t know where we’d be going, but I hoped I knew what those words meant. I typed them into my phone’s notes and closed the program.
About a month later, my husband was driving home from working out of town, and he was listening to one of our favorite pastors, Jennifer Toledo, share a message about pressing out into deep waters.
It was well after our house was quiet for the night when my husband made it home. He walked in the door, came straight to our bedroom, and sat down on the end of our bed.
“I think it’s time for us to go to California…”
Over the next few days, we prayed for clarity, but didn’t really need much more. We were more certain than we had been in months that we would be moving… and that we would be moving to the Los Angeles area.
The question that remained unanswered was… when?
It was more than a dream. Now, it was a calling. But if I have learned anything from Scripture (especially the story of Peter walking on water), you don’t step out of the boat until you specifically hear Jesus say, “Come.”
We told the pastors of the church we would be attending. We told our family and close friends. We told our kids. Not much later, we told our community.
And the resounding question from everyone was, “When?”
The only answer we had to give them was, “When the offer comes in, that’s when we’ll take it and go.” It was the answer that the Lord had given us well before He told us we’d be moving.
Over the next few months, the Lord provided confirmation in our hearts and through people we trust. It was clear that we would be moving to California whenever the offer came in, but what did that even mean?
I need pause for a second, and I need to point out a few facts.
We aren’t moving because we have a job that will fully cover all of our needs. Actually, it’s just the opposite. My husband is leaving a fantastic job in Oklahoma for part-time work in California. We have no idea where the money we need to live will come from… so that’s fun!
We aren’t moving because we have a house to move into. I don’t know if you have ever considered the cost of living difference, but moving from Oklahoma to California will be a steep change.
Rental properties in California require proof of income, credit scores and often the last three months of bank statements. I can prove what we make in Oklahoma. I can’t prove what we hope to make in California.
In short, we have to convince someone to rent us a very expensive house, because God said to move and we trust He’s going to provide the finances.
On top of these fact, we have a closing date on our house. One month from today, the house we live in will no longer be ours.
We are moving our family across the country without full-time jobs, without a house to go to, and without resources to make this move a reality… because God said go and we trust that He has been leading us throughout this process.
Following God doesn’t always make sense. The steps He asks us to take are safe, but not always logical. But there is purpose in each one.
Friend, this is the view from the middle of the lake. It’s scary. It doesn’t make sense. It seems impossible. But I can’t invite you to share in the joy of how God is going to unfold this story if I don’t invite you into the middle of it.
I wish I had the ending. Believe me, I wish that I could tell you exactly how God is going to work out all of the details. But that’s not the story He’s asking me to tell today. And if I have learned anything in this process so far, it is to be faithful with each step He’s asking me to take.
All I know for certain right now is that we can trust Him with each one. You and me both, friend. And someday? When we are standing on the other side of these big scary things in front of us, we’re going to get to tell exactly how God brought us safely to the other side. Until then, we’ll take notes from the middle of the lake.
What about you? Have you ever been asked by God to do something that didn’t make much sense?