Finding Bravery and Beginning Again
It was a flawless 3 day journey from where we used to call home to our new land.
Car snacks were free flowing, playlists shuffled, hearts sang with all their might, and a bold bravery was building with every pit stop we made.
The road sign read, “Salt Lake City 30” and that is when my heart began to offer up all of the thanks.
The sunset lit up the widest sky I had seen in a long time with a coral desert pallet falling on the mountain range.
It was to die for and seemed to be the perfect lighting to enter in to a brand new season of ministry in a place where families beliefs are different. Ones that some of my dearest childhood friends hold and so I am familiar and honored that God would allow me to set my feet on the ground here to love the mess out of these people and to share the hope that I have.
As we approached the lights of the city, in what felt like a mile long caravan holding the belongings of our family of seven - I scanned the stunning landscape remembering all the critical milestones that marked the road to now.
Long roads take forever…until you get there right?
Well, we made it.
Do you ever celebrate making it through a draining conversation, an eternal day of disaster, a week that just won’t give, or a year that left you thirsty?
I don’t know about you, but sometimes its tempting to just roll into the new set of challenges full steam ahead, leaving behind the hardship and embracing the current reality.
Remembrance is so important, but sometimes ignorance feels easier right?
The days that nearly broke you into a zillion pieces get pushed aside for the dawning of a new day and all that comes with beginning again.
I was determined not to let the sunset cruise into our new city go unrecognized, uncelebrated.
Like - we MADE it! The faithful hand of God is worthy of our gratitude, our highest praise.
I can’t even begin to tell you every time Jesus rescued me from my own self effort, my Peter -like doubt, and weakling faith.
The nights when I had no song to sing - but He always gave me one. Even when the days feel impossible waiting for the job, also when the very encouragement I spoke to my husband and kids was no where close to the words I spoke to myself, yet He spoke them over me.
I cranked up the music and cracked open the car windows allowing the shouts of thanks to leave the car and fill the Salt Lake City air.
“Remember the things I have done in the past. For I alone am God! I am God, and there is none like me. - Isaiah 46:9
I couldn’t help but dial back to the weeks behind us and tear up for the way had God met us every single day.
There was victory and there was defeat, but still God was so near - pulling our hearts closer to His when our fear shouted,
“ GIVE THE MESS UP ALREADY!”
Thankfully, I had the Holy Spirit traveling along this entire journey giving me strength when I was tired, and redirecting my heart to the promises of scripture that I can one-hundred percent bank on continuously.
He spoke exactly to my everything. He could handle me and He can you too. Is there anything unknown to Him?
Anything we can do to cause Him to love us more or less?
You see, I had been engaged in a standing, ongoing conversation with Jesus from the time my feet touched the floor in the morning in July at the river house when we began asking God what was next…to the time my head landed on my pillow at the close of our last day in October loading the boxes.
Most days I followed His voice head up and some days… I stayed behind too weary with my eyes on the ground.
Like the tired sheep who is over the day and just wants to sit.
Like the wounded sheep who couldn’t take a step if she wanted to.
Like the sheep that felt left in the dust.
Even still, I remembered the words ofJesus in John.
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” - John 10:27
I hear God’s voice, I am known by God, and sometimes I don’t follow perfectly! Because I am known by Him. my falling behind is not a surprise to Him.
We navigated the past 3 months jam packed with questions and unknowns. We accumulated a big hope that honestly was dimmed at times by even bigger discouragement.
Have you been in that place? The intersection of hope and hard times? Thankfully I had a choice which way to yield to.
Hard times have a way of harvesting hope in our lives, making God’s follow through oh so rich.
Through the journey we gained a trust that grew deeper in the plans God has set before us and a faith that continually taught us how to fight battles with the enemy.
Ones that tried to attack our desires to do ministry work.
Ones that darted at our marriage like daggers.
Ones that caused our usually solid family life to feel out of control.
I believed God was shepherding my heart as I took each turn, leading me into a rich harvest, giving me the purpose of bringing living water to a dry and thirsty land.
Have you ever entered a new season with anticipation and hope, when you should have felt overwhelmed?
Clearly Jesus was at the front of our caravan crazy, because I was smiling ear to ear with eager hope!
I gave a firm nod to my new mountain range literally surrounding the entire city and that is when the peace of Christ covered me with the confidence in the truth that He knows me and I can follow Him.
In times of waiting and watching God answer the desires of our hearts, we become better listeners.
The consistency of God in the way leads us and the compassion of His guiding has caused me to follow no matter how I might feel.
He knows my sheep habits well and even if I fall behind, I will still follow my Shepherd through the hills and valleys.
When you find your faith shrinking back, and fear is winning…fight back and follow the lead of the God who is already down the road waiting at your next destination.
Is there something you need to celebrate today? Locate your “making it” milestone and CELEBRATE how God has or is currently guiding you through your own caravan of trust.
Salt Lake City, it is a pleasure to meet you.