Did you know that when Abraham was called by God out of his family's land, he ended up traveling 1,200 miles ON FOOT to the promised land???
This "father of nations" spent the rest of his days living in tents--never again did he live over a solid foundation of a home.
That makes 550 miles to Kansas City in a large U-Haul truck and a loaded -down Suburban sound REALLY "cushie" :).
It actually makes our consideration-- in a family meeting the other night with Ashley and Graham-- (due to financial reasons) of fitting our family into a 2 bedroom apartment for the next season sound pretty good too!--But you can stop holding your breath--the apartment management companies would not allow our number of people due to fire codes!! Bummer!! :) That was pretty wild to figure out until we were told no. And, life away from stuff to fuss with seemed rather freeing for a moment too!!
SOoooo the question of late has been somewhat like, "When God has called you to something quite incredible-- when you have heard His voice and KNOW that you KNOW that you KNOW that He is saying, GO!!!!--How 'low' can you go?--How little could you live with or on? or what is so precious to you that you could not live without it or leave it behind?"
This is a VERY easy question for me to answer when we are talking about OTHER people's things. It was exceedingly easy in our family meeting as Graham was instructed that Bella the Python was a pocession that was not right for life in smaller digs!!--or at least sharing bedroom space with my babies or me! :)!!!
But when I saw the look in Graham's eye...
...and then, I "got" the same feeling the next day, as I began to fit our pocessions into a space that will be a fourth to a third the size of what we are used to now...
How are you doing packing away YOUR pretties, Gillian?
--I must say--my heart was deceptive,fleshy, and tantrumy--
It was not a pretty site--
Mommy clutching onto my clipboard with cartoon electricity coming out of my hair and dying to that Martha side (I'm refering to the one on T.V. --Ms. Stewart-- not the Biblical one--or maybe there is a sad comparison here!!for my HEART and SPIRIT DO call out to be a 'Mary'--NOT a Martha!!)
"Gillian, who do you say that I am?"
"Gillian, do you Trust me?"
God pressed on my heart yet again ...and all the fullness of Himself flooded my heart...I had to confess my ugly attitude to my kiddos and with our circumstances and kneel in the middle of our boxes and again make my testimony, "Here I am, God...I love you...I adore you...YOU are my life...send me into the center of your will...not only WHEREever it is but WHATever it is!! ....WHAT a journey we are about to embark on!! Bring on the packing tape and get on with the Craiglistings!!
I actually believe that God is a very generous Father who has amazing plans for His children--He does not leave the righteous forsaken--I proclaim without doubts that as our story unfolds our life in Him will be a testimony,a "proof" of how He loves to complete what He calls us to--and what provision and glories he has for His children that not only hear His voice but follow it.
And we already have praise reports about this as we step into the first part of our call to a new ministry, land, and life:
Two fridays ago, we received a call OUT of the BLUE--a beautiful,Godly family offered to rent our current home until we sell it--what a gift!!
The conversation started out with this phrase, "Hi, Gillian this is J., this is going to be a very unusual conversation." Immediately my ears and heart were pricked--God often calls us to things that are seemingly impossible and absolutely illogical so that He'll get all the credit and glory--"very unusual" sounded very "usual" kingdom-wise. :)
WELL!! the blessing was MUCH more than timing or finance or detail for as we sat in our living room with this PRECIOUS couple and their sweet family they told our story of calling--I mean, it was not the exact story--but EVERY other element was there.
This husband called to be a preacher,
mine called to be a pastor.
They do not know what the next step is except that the only word God has for sure given them is , "Stay"--the only word we have been given is, "GO".
They shared encouraging verses that were "our" verses.
And as S. answered Richard's question of "tell me how you KNOW that God has called you to this next step"--his answer was WORD for WORD what Richard says each time he speaks about this calling and the other times God has brought us on a journey.
"You know you are called when nothing else works and this is the ONLY thing you can do."
We laughed--probably too loud for where we were in this tender conversation--and almost fell out of our chairs--again--It was WORD for WORD what Richard says about calling because of his growth in Jesus. Sometimes God just talks out loud--and gives ALOT of repetition--we must be need of this teaching/parenting style of encouragement for He is literally hedging us in with Word to us about journey, will, following Him, continuing to press into seemingly blank areas so that He can reveal the next step of His will to us...
And then it was Richard's turn to answer the question...
And I have to tell you that he acted this out in our living room as he shared it. :)!!
One of Richard's favorite movies is "Indiana and the Temple of Doom".
Yeah, we were teens in the eighties!!
There is this one scene of a deep and wide ravine--Indiana is being pursued--he is going through a set of "tests" in this ancient area that reveal the way to treasure --each one with a biblical allusion (I loved that part of the movie too!)--at this ravine, he starts sweating and shaking--what is he to do...he looks down--the movie prop rock bounces all the Waaaay down to the depths--we hear its descent...--then he stands up- caaaarefully as he picks up his foot and mumbles, "Of course, the walk of Faith" He puts his foot down into...nothingness...and is jolted still--a stone step has appeared and is holding him up--of course the bad guys are showing up at this point too and Indiana (Harrison Ford) has to leap continually into the nothingness of the ravine as step after step appears only AFTER he has set his feet down. This is one of Richard's favorite pictures of faith--and you gotta see him acting it out for our friends in our livingroom!! No matter what the "test" or the "ravine" or the circumstance--God IS there and I believe God our Father is pleased with our faith that, knowing He is there,does NOT shrink back but banks our life on this and step out into what we cannot see. "Faith is EVIDENCE of what we cannot see" after all...
What is He calling your heart to?
Do you have a ravine in front of you?
I plan to keep stepping out and letting our Father catch us.
Even this morning we asked Him in tears for Faith that will walk forward into what we do not see.
...And away from those familiar banks...
We had a precious missionary mom in my home this week--a brand new friend who is being called by God with her husband to FRANKLIN in a very dramatic and unique way--God has sent an unusual amount of precious people (that I previously did not have a close relationship with) TO MY DOOR and TO MY PHONE over the past weeks--it has been mind-boggling how sweet He is and how much He is NOT going to let us withdraw from this calling!! B. sat on my livingroom sofa and I knew that she was speaking God's words to me when she said, "All my family lives in ---. This has been heart-breaking to even think of being apart from them--but how could I NOT? I really believe that, now, in this season, God is giving out special assignments to those that are seeking Him out in intercession--This is a really special time to listen to Him. He is getting His people ready--I am seeing so many example of this--moving those who are listening and obeying into position for where they will be most effective for the Great Global Harvest to come before He comes back."
So the rest of our week? What will it hold?
We can't see it yet. :) But we do know we will be hugging precious necks of those we have loved in the Nashville area for almost 20 years...
And crying sweet tears of love.
Thanking God for all He's done here and praising HIm in wonder for what He is bringing us to...
Squeezing my mom and dad REALLY tightly--this part of the call is achy--it literally hurts inside--
We will be finding little boys up to their necks in empty boxes
And catching them being pretty naughty--they think I've pack all the boundaries and rules in our boxes for some reason!!
Teens who are packing up a storm--so excited to grow and celebrate, and serve Jesus in their next school and ministry--you should hear their excitement and JOY!!
Ashley's guitar in packing breaks
Phrases like, "Man!! This room is full of boxes--its like BOXLAND in here!!--lets hideout!!"--from Anders and Jack
When are we going already?--Bruik
"I was made for for LOooooove."--Ava singing
Ashley--our word girl in the midst of the newprint for packing--"Its a win-win situation you get to pack up AND read the comics!!"
EVERYONE ELSE--"Hurry up, Ashley!"
Bella the Ball Python (I think I just like to type her name for effect!)
on her way to another abode--Graham found a buyer!! Mama's pretty happy about this!!
A thousand million last minute details...
If you can help us load the truck on Wednesday give us a shout!!--We are looking for helpers!!
But... we ain't walkin' 1,200 miles!--this isn't so bad!--Let's load er up and go already!!
How lovely is your dwelling place,
O Lord Almighty!
My soul yearns, even faints,
for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and my flesh cry out
for the living God.
Even the sparrow has found a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may have her young—
a place near your altar,
O Lord Almighty, my King and my God.
Blessed are those who dwell in your house;
they are ever praising you. Selah
Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.
As they pass through the Valley of Baca,
they make it a place of springs;
the autumn rains also cover it with pools.
They go from strength to strength,
till each appears before God in Zion.
Hear my prayer, O Lord God Almighty;
listen to me, O God of Jacob. Selah
Look upon our shield, O God;
look with favor on your anointed one.
Better is one day in your courts
than a thousand elsewhere;
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
the Lord bestows favor and honor;
no good thing does he withhold
from those whose walk is blameless.
O Lord Almighty,
blessed is the man who trusts in you.