Love, Tuesday... A calling out... Part One

Wow, we haven’t done one of these in a long while! Love, Tuesday was just a fun day of the week we would come onto the blog and share something we loved at that time.

Today I thought I’d share something deeper, something personal. A story about embracing what God has entrusted us with, and it’s a story I’m still learning day by day…

Sorry in advance that this is a long one.

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It’s the story of how we got here, to Colorado. Exactly one year ago today.

See I’m just a girl that had a very humble life in a little house in Lakewood, California. I really didn’t have big dreams growing up… I just wanted to be a MOM. I didn’t go to a fancy college or even graduate from college. I spent my summers road tripping it to Montana to visit family, and I loved floating down the Madison or Jefferson River and being out in the mountains. I thought I’d marry some farmer in Bozeman, Montana and live a simple life raising a family… and that would have been beautiful to me. I didn’t desire BIG things for my life… like a big career, a big house or my name in big lights. Which all of those things are fine, don't get me wrong… I’m just glad those things didn’t and still don’t mean didily squat to me. BUT, what I realize now though is in that small and simple life that I envisioned I didn’t pay much attention to the talents or skills the Lord gave me… to use for His purposes.

Not until I was much, much older… and that was my mistake.

I’ll just leave this right here and hope you read the rest of the story… I think we underestimate our God given gifts and abilities, and what God wants to do through us with them. We don’t see beyond what WE think our lives should look like, and we don’t live with GOD vision. Maybe you do… but I clearly did not. And I’m not taking about getting that big career or big house or famous name… I’m talking about allowing GOD to show us what skills and talents He has given us to USE… and that maybe we are missing the #goals GOD has for our lives?

Do you every get wrecked by a song? I mean you’re trying to sing it in church or in the car and you can’t even get the words out because you are choking back sobs? :How Great Thou Art” is that song for me. I truly can’t sing it out loud without BAWLING… it’s not even possible for me. I’ll start trying to at church when they sing it and I have to stop b/c it’s going to be a bawl-fest in my row. It evoke so much gut wrenching emotion in me that I cry ugly sobs. I don’t really understand WHY, maybe someday I will, but I am just in AWE of our God, and that song reaches DEEP into those emotions. Our God is SO BIG, it blows my mind in AWESOME WONDER… and it wrecks me. I’ll play a video for you at the end with the lyrics attached and a short story on who wrote the song.

What does our story about being called to Colorado have to do with the song “How Great Thou Art?”

That song is such a powerful song about the AWESOMENESS of GOD! How GREAT THOU ART. How GREAT He is. He is power and glory and worthy to be praised! I think of the majestic mountains He formed around the world, the beauty of nature that ties my heart to Him, and I have this longing to be out by water and trees and mountains because to me they SIGN HIS PRAISES… and I want to PROCLAIM “How GREAT thou Art!” I think maybe those tears stem from that childhood out in Montana and my heart for a simple life in His still nature, and how God brought that little desire of mine back into my heart in 2017… AND and brought with it HIS PURPOSE for it! Yes & Amen! (yup ugly tears right now… hahaha)

And that’s kind of how this whole thing started. In 2017 Lance and I decided to start the year with a 40 Day prayer devotional I’m mentioned on here before: Mark Batterson’s “Draw the Circle” book that is based off of his book “The Circle Maker” that really changed the way I saw my life. We took 40 days to pray at the beginning of 2017. We prayed for so many different things… the list is very long, but we took the time to seek the Lord out in prayer and afterwards I would try to remember everything each day and journal it. One of those prayers that kind of got “lost in the crowd” of bigger prayers was for the Lord to show us where He wanted to use us. OK folks… when you open up your heart to being USED for Him, things start moving… that’s fair warning right there people! :)

Fast forward to the summer of 2017. We had a weird summer… it didn’t go as planned. We had a retreat in Italy that the whole family came to, we had plans to travel around Europe afterwards for a while and then fly straight from there to Michigan for my brother’s SERVE WEEK at his church. But that didn’t happen. There’s lots of little details in this story, but we ended up flying home early instead b/c of sicknesses and my husband having really bad back pain. But now I needed to get to Michigan with the girls from California. So we hopped in the car and did a major road trip to Michigan and back!

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On the road trip is where we feel the Lord was showing us the first step of His plans for this whole thing. That was late July 2017. On that road trip to Michigan I remember clearly stopping to get off the I70 freeway in Colorado to see a beautiful river and the mountains that were before us. We were in AWE. I had been to Colorado as a kid, and even now I remember when we were newly married I had wanted to move to Colorado and get out of California, so it was a place I new was beautiful. That wasn’t it though… Yes, it’s beautiful but it was more than that. If I started dreaming about moving to every beautiful place I’ve been to it would be ridiculous how many houses I’d want to buy! lol

What it was is that I felt like my soul was resting in a PEACE I hadn’t felt in a long time.

It made me realize the need for stillness out in God’s creation. Nature speaks of His glory… and just like “How Great Thou Art” says:

O Lord, my God, when I in awesome wonder
Consider all the worlds Thy Hands have made
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder
Thy power throughout the universe displayed

I FELT it. The girls and I both felt something stirring on that trip.

We went back home and shared with Lance all about our trip to Michigan and back. We told him how beautiful the SERVE week was, and how we loved Colorado… but I didn’t share much about what I felt the Lord starting to stir in my heart about it yet. It was something so small and still in it’s beginnings I didn’t want to speak it yet. So I prayed. I had the most beautiful backyard “prayer closet” that I would go out to every morning and spend hours out there. Oh how I miss it… But in those quiet times over that month of August I heard GOD speak! I prayed for the Lord to show us IF He was stirring us to something. I prayed for the Lord to speak straight to Lance’s heart. I asked the Lord if this was HIM stirring my heart or just MY will. I didn’t want this BIG thing that was happening to be about me. I wanted it to be GOD driving it and GOD being the reason for it.

And it didn’t take long to hear Him answer my prayers:

My man is a CALIFORNIA man. He never wanted to move out of California, and I knew that. So for Lance to start saying random things not even two weeks later about “wanting space between his neighbors” and looking out at the stars one night and saying “he could move out of California and some land would be nice” and saying “California is going wacko and I’m ready to get out of here” ALL in the span of less than a MONTH!

At the same time as I am seeing “A Gathering Place” show up in my devotional and prayer time.

At the same time the Lord lead me to Hebrews 10:24-25 that is now the verse for our Gathering Place:

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together (GATHERING TOGETHER some translations say), as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching”.

At the same time seeing a vision during a church service of a barn with people gathering together and praying over it

At the same time my husband says: “Why don’t we go check it out…”

This was all within the span of maybe 6 - 7 weeks and we were on a plane to Denver, Colorado… to JUST look, mind you. :)

So there we are in Colorado. We had set up appointments with two companies: one was a real estate agent and one was a home builder. Both were referred to us by our friends, the Oliver family, and we had set up a day with the real estate agent for the first day and the home builders for the second day. Well, the first day was horrible. Not because of the guy we worked with, but because it wasn’t meant be that way. As we were driving back to our hotel that first night we could all tell Lance was NOT having it. We had seen too many houses we could remodel and a few lots of land that didn’t really float his boat. I could tell this wasn’t what he had in mind for moving to Colorado. I think he was envisioning a town like Vail or somewhere out of a Colorado movie set. So that night in the hotel as I was crying and praying in the bathroom alone… you know what I’m talking about girls… I prayed. I asked the Lord to show us one way or the other. I was fine in my California home and loved my church, my “framily” and by backyard. So I just said, “Lord if this is what you want us to do, you need to show us and show up, otherwise we are going home and Lance is going to be fine in California living his best life.” (I didn’t say it quite like that… but you get the idea)

So the next morning we drive to the homebuilders office and sat and chatted with them about our God-sized dream. They new a little about it because I was completely honest and open over the phone a couple weeks before. I shared what I though God was doing and they LOVED it. So that day we talked more and they shared their hearts for wanting to help us with it! That they prayed over all their clients and their land and wanted to be a part of this with us. WOW…

And then they took us to 36 acres of land! What the what??? We asked for 5 - 10 acres MAX!

But God.

We got out of the car, walked up a little hill and I saw Lance survey the land… and it all changed. I could see him taking it in, the view, the land and the VISION… and it clicked. And I cried. I felt it guys, I really did. Lance says I have a horrible “poker face” and didn’t do a good job in hiding my true feelings about this land, but who cares! I asked Drew to pray with us right then and there. We went and saw about 5 more parcels of land with him that day and NOTHING spoke to my heart, or Lances, like that land. In fact remember that “let’s just go take a look” trip? Well, in Drew’s car that day my husband said, and I quote:

”Well Laura… do you want to put money down on that land?”

WHAAAAAAA????

Rebecca and I were in the back of that truck with our jaws open to the floor, but saying YESSSSSSSSSSS!

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And that was the start of this journey. There’s so much more to this story that will give you goosebumps, and I’ll try to share more later this week, because it’s ALL just the testimony that GOD is writing. And I am SO thankful that I’ve written most of it down. My dear friend Sheila Atchley reminded me of that today. That one of the things I LOVE to teach others about IS journaling… and how important it is to write down words. Not only for ourselves, because my mind is not that sharp, but also to tell God’s story to others. To share about HIS testimony and HIS hope. So many little nuggets or “God winks” along the way, and I’ll try to share more soon.

But… There’s a theme I picked up on while I was writing this, that I didn’t even pick up on until today… do you SEE it? I highlighted it each time… PRAYER.

Prayer is so powerful. Do we see that and are we open to ALL that God has for our lives? I am in WONDER of it all, but I also wonder if we see it all. Yes the mountains and beauty of nature declare His glory… but do we understand that WE are God’s handiwork as well, His workmanship!

Ephesians 2:10 says “For WE are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Am I willing to proclaim this… walk out and live the life God prepared beforehand for me?

We ALL have gifts that have been entrusted to us. Carl Boberg, who wrote “How Great Thou Art” had a gift of writing poems. That poem was forgotten for years and then someone else heard it being sung in Russia years later and expanded it when he was inspired by the Russian Carpathian Mountains! He said he composed the first verse when he was caught in a thunderstorm in a little village by the mountainside. The second verse what inspired by the birds singing near the Romanian border, and the third was as he witnessed many of those mountain dwelling people come to Christ! Some time later Dr. J. Edwin heard it being sung by Naga Tribespeople in India and decided to bring it back to America. During the 1954 Billy Graham Crusade in England it given out in a leaflet, and in 1957 it was sung 99 times at the New York City Crusade! Isn’t that incredible how God spread that song around the GLOBE! You better bet we are going to sing that song in Bellagio next year now that I’ve heard this story! So if you’re joining us, get ready to offer me a box of tissues please! hahaha

I ran across a book that my mom gave me called “Then Sings my Soul” by Robert J. Morgan. It’s a fascinating book that tells the story behind over 150 of the worlds greatest Hymns and if you’ve grown up in a church that sang all the hymns, it’s a fascinating read! That’s where I heard the story above and so many more.

Now listen to it being sung by Carrie Underwood and try NOT to cry…

O Lord, my God, when I in awesome wonder
Consider all the worlds Thy Hands have made
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder
Thy power throughout the universe displayed

Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee
How great Thou art, how great Thou art
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee
How great Thou art, how great Thou art

And when I think of God, His Son not sparing
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in
That on the Cross, my burden gladly bearing
He bled and died to take away my sin

Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee
How great Thou art, how great Thou art
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee
How great Thou art, how great Thou art

When Christ shall come with shout of acclamation
And lead me home, what joy shall fill my heart
Then I shall bow with humble adoration
And then proclaim, my God, how great Thou art

It is STILL being sung throughout the world and I think we might be singing it in heaven some day!

This story of ours is far from over. I’ll share more later this week, because it’s too long to post in one post. I know so many of you reading this have prayed for us in this journey… and we THANK YOU. This story of God’s grace and patience and PURPOSE in our lives is to show how much HE LOVES US ALL! I pray you feel the Lord calling you to His purpose for your life today as well.

How GREAT Thou ART!

Hugs,

Laura McCollough