Love, Tuesday... A calling out... Part Three
When we PRAY in Jesus name… That‘s the song on my Sonos right now.
But what does that mean?
As I think of all the prayers we’ve prayed and all the time we’ve spent seeking the Lord to show us His will in this move to Colorado, this song hit me right between the eyes. So I took some time to think about that this week and read what others have written about prayer.
Billy Graham.org has a series on this and you can read the full articles here. But here’s a portion of it:
“What is the purpose of prayer?” The purpose of prayer is first of all, to glorify God; and secondly, to enjoy Him or to enjoy seeing His answers to our prayers. We find these two thoughts given to us in John 14 and John 16. In John 14:13, Jesus said to His disciples, “Whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” And in John 16:24: “Until now, you have asked nothing in my name. Ask and you will receive that your joy may be full.”
From these two passages of Scripture, we find the two basic purposes of prayer:
That God might be glorified, and…
That our joy might be full
Now if you’re anything like me, you may be thinking… “Not sure I’m always looking at prayer this way.” Sometimes quite honestly I’ve felt like my prayers have been a laundry list of sorts. “Lord please… laundry list inserted here… and, Your will be done, but I’d really like it this way.” Sound familiar?
BUT, when I’ve truly come to Him with a heart of praise and wonder first… I see that joy overflowing in my tears. Tears of AWE, of gratitude, of shaking my head in wonder b/c I don’t deserve any of it!
I know there is much more to prayer that I don’t have the time to talk here and honestly don’t know about, so I would really encourage you to listen to the whole series by Jerry Bridges I’ve linked above. But I will say that those two points above DO coexist fully, and I bring this all up because I see it IN this journey we are on. I am STILL in awe of what God is doing in our lives and swell up with tears each time I share these stories of His guidance, because I believe we are living out His will AND He is giving us JOY through it.
It’s the only reason I can sit here typing these stories out and sharing them with you. Because it’s not easy to build a house from afar, move your whole life, leave your family and friends behind and start over. There are hard moments… moments of total exhaustion and tears and moments you want to run the other way. But He IS faithful.
I left off last time where we came home from a great planning meeting (with a few bumps along the way) in Colorado and the stirring of the Lord in our kids to possibly feel called to Colorado as well.
This was around February of 2018 and as you know I do Art & Faith Retreats in Italy and France and happened to have THREE planned for 2018. Two over the summer and one in the fall. Needless to say there was a lot to be organized for those to run smoothly and for us to pack up a house and to move to Colorado at the same time!
Here’s where that all fits into our story…
God’s timing is always RIGHT. We may not think that at the time, but it is absolutely true.
We looked at moving around Easter of 2018 but that wasn’t working out. We looked at moving BEFORE my retreats in June and that didn’t work out. What did work out was exactly what God knew would work. We put our house up for sale in early May and before even the first day it was on the MLS listing it had THREE OFFERS! Yes, three… and they were around 100k more than the neighborhood had gone for… EVER. Granted we put a lot into our backyard and it was beautiful (and I still miss it) but we were blown away by it all. We didn’t go with the highest offer and that’s only because the offer we went with seemed like the right choice. And it was… because it worked out that we could stay in our house until the DAY BEFORE we left for my retreats! Seriously.
We started packing that first day our house was up on the market and we didn’t stop until the day before we had to get on an airplane to Italy!
God does have a sense of humor people…
We put our stuff in PODS, got on an airplane and were “homeless” in Italy! (Not a bad thing AT ALL)
I was able to relax, do the job the Lord had for me there, take time with the WHOLE family to relax and be together (more on that later) and do my second retreat in France & Belgium before heading back to California to drive our cars to Colorado and find a rental to live in.
Speaking of family…
In March of that year Victoria and Dany came to us to tell us some news. They had decided to go to Austria and serve at the Calvary Chapel Conference Center there. Their hearts are mission minded and Dany’s parents and brother’s family were there and they felt that was where the Lord was calling them for a season. So they left in April and were planning on serving there for 6 months and then see where the Lord wanted them next. We were sad to see them leave but we knew it was the right decision for them. So, what was awesome was that we were able to have them come visit us in Bellagio and see how good they were doing in Europe! It was so great to spend time with them and talk to them about what the Lord was doing and what they thought might be the next step for them after the six months was up. It was beautiful to see their hearts to follow God and not simply the easy route. So at that point we didn’t know what they were going to do and even thought this momma wanted them to move to Colorodo, I knew they would follow the Lord’s path.
Back to moving to Colorado…
We had a hard time leaving that July. We got home from Europe, had some going away “get-togethers” with people we DEARLY LOVE, had a family reunion with beloved family that we knew we weren’t going to see nearly as much… and we knew that Rebecca was only coming for a few weeks to move some of her things there, but she needed to be back to California for college in August, and my mom (who had moved about a year earlier to live close to us in Cali) was also left behind!
It wasn’t easy. Being called to something different, something far away from “normal” is never a piece of cake.
Many people have asked me that big question:
“How did you know you were called by the Lord to move?”
and I’ve thought about that a lot. I WANT to explain, because I WANT you to know… I WANT you to feel what I felt… but it’s not easy to explain.
So here’s my attempt at it:
I think there’s a part of following God’s will that goes back to what I wrote about prayer at the beginning of this post. I felt, and still feel, that BOTH coexist:
God was being glorified in our stepping out in faith & trusting Him, and…
He was giving us that FULLNESS OF JOY… despite the hard things.
It’s in that “tug of war” of the heart that you know God is calling you to do something. You know it’s not going to be easy, but He is comforting you along the way and bringing you joy even in the parts that are sad or hard or darn well exhausting!
I hope that makes sense in some way and I hope you know that I’m just sharing my experience and what I feel the Lord wants you to know from our story. Everyones story looks different and may very well be different in how they feel the Lord called them to something.
I’ll finish today with a couple more stories of God’s ordained appointments that I love sharing.
We arrived in Colorado on July 31st, 2018. We were able to move into our rental that day and were blessed by a sweet breakfast the next morning from friends. A few days later they came back with ice cream and ice cream cones. We found a great homeschooling community for Isabella and started finding our way around our new town. We really starting see the blessings and it was so beautiful to feel such joy in all of it. Then we got a phone call from Dany and Victoria a couple weeks later that was a HUGE blessing:
We were going to be GRANDPARENTS!
THEY FELT THE LORD CALLING THEM TO COLORADO NEXT!
That they had met and got to know a family from California IN AUSTRIA that were the pastors of the Calvary Chapel not even 30 minutes from our town! What the what????
WOW. The blessings kept flowing. We all attend that church now and feel so blessed to have such a solid Bible Church to be a part of!
Next was my Birthday...
September 1st was my 50th Birthday. I was a California native for 49.9% of my life. But get this:
ON my 50th Birthday, in our new town, they were having a DAY OF PRAYER!
We had plans to go away and visit some other town that day, but I knew the Lord had other plans for that day. So we got up early, went to the main park in town and PRAYED. People, let me tell you I couldn’t stop crying! They probably thought I was a babbling fool, but I couldn’t help it. This was a town that openly prayed in public! This town brought the local churches TOGETHER, regardless of denomination! This town was praying for people:
TO MOVE HERE TO SHARE THE GOSPEL. To bring a revival to Colorado!
(This photo was online somewhere and one of my friends sent me this photo because you can see Lance, Isabella and me in the photo. (I have the light brown hat on)
PRAYED CIRCLES AROUND THE LAND IN THIS CITY.
Did you hear that?
This is the SECOND time we heard that people had prayed circles around our land.
If that doesn’t convince you that GOD. IS. REAL… then I don’t know what will.
There is power in prayer, because GOD gets the glory for all of it… and there is such JOY in letting Him.
NONE of this is Lance or Laura. NONE OF IT. We still don’t know how all of this will be provided for. God has shown us things that we don’t have the money for. Does that worry Lance a bit… of course. I’ve long since let go of financial worries, and that’s a story I’ve shared LONG ago… but the Lord has ALWAYS provided for our needs. (not our wants… our needs) So I just encourage my husband, and I will encourage YOU too, to trust that if God is guiding you, He will provide for you as well!
I trust completely that He will continue to do that. And in that, He is going to get all the glory for it because it isn’t our doing. And there is JOY in that my friends.
I’ve learned to hold “things” with an open hand because God’s ways are not our ways. I love what He is doing and YES, I love what we are creating on this land… but I don’t know how long we will be stewards of this. I don’t know if He’ll call us to do something else some day, or stay here until He takes us home… and I’m ok with that.
What I know right now is that He wants me to tell YOU (and my forgetful brain) His stories of faithfulness. I know that He wants us to come to Him in PRAYER, with grateful hearts and with our prayer requests.
Ask Him what His will is for your life. He loves you SO much and wants you to have the fullness of His JOY right now, wherever you are.
I’ll leave you with this quote from the article I linked above by Jerry Bridges:
“Jesus Christ has bought and paid for on the cross the answer to every prayer that we will ever petition.”
I hope our story brings you comfort in knowing that He wants us ALL to trust in His will for our lives. It may look TOTALLY different than what WE want, but I promise you it’s 100% better than we could dream up on our own!
P.S. We’re working with a couple landscapers right now to plan out our yard and get bids on it. I want to personally invite you to sit with us right here… (well minus the forest behind it… that’s in my dreams)
I showed them how we would love a nice fire pit area where we can gather with friends and talk about the goodness of the Lord.
We hope to welcome you some day…