Over the years, I’ve been confronted by a variety of good ideas. You know, the “perfect world” scenarios we create, hoping that things will go our way, and ultimately we get exactly what we want. Maybe it’s a the perfect job or a place to live that entices, and you pray so hard that God would give you “the desire of your heart.” You begin to map out all of the things that need to fall into place to get you to your goal. You make plans and ask God to bless them, and maybe even plead with Him to make something happen for you. I’ve done it time and time again. But what if your goal, wasn’t on God’s blueprint for you at all?
The move out west really solidified some things for me on this topic. Change wasn’t on my radar at all. I was content. Very comfortable. Very happy. Very established. Honestly, nothing about a cross-country move was in my plans or even remotely my idea.
Truth? When the Lord, instructed us to go, I’d never even been to Colorado.
Our friends made the announcement at church on a Sunday night in late April (i think), and as Pastor Shawn spoke, I felt an influx of water pressure behind my eyes. It was a touching story, the way he was inspired to launch out into the deep. I thought my emotion only to be a natural response to a beautiful story. After the service, we all high-fived in the parking lot and congratulated Him and the family on such an exciting new adventure. We went on our way, with little thought about how that announcement would impact us over the next 6 months.
That evening, at 2:25am, I was awakened with an expectation in my heart. I recognized the invitation to pray. In the Florida house, I had a bonus room with a small window office which I often retreated for prayer in the wee hours. As I began to inquire of the Lord to understand his heart, He began to show me that we did in fact have a part in the Western Adventure. He enlightened this passage to me,
Acts Chapter 6
In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenistic Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.”
This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism. They presented these men to the apostles, who prayedand laid their hands on them.
7 So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.
I began to see how Stephen was called and set apart to help. Overcome with the weight of such a huge instruction and change, needless to say, I was up praying the entire night. Determined not to tell Steve that I knew the Lord was sending us to Denver, I asked him the next morning if he felt any “connection” to Denver project. He didn’t know. I suggested He ask the Lord about it because I believed we “had a part.” I shared with him the passage the Lord showed me. That seemed safe enough. After all, Steve would NEVER leave Lakeland, and I’d done due diligence to put the ball in his court. Funny, right?
I left the following Monday for a business trip in Philadelphia, keeping my thoughts to myself. There are, after all, lots of ways you can help a new ministry…you can sow seed, you can visit. Unbeknownst to me, while I was away, my mother-in-law to had been keeping late nights and working through something significant in prayer. That Saturday, Linda said to Steve “You’re not moving to Colorado are you?” Beginning to understand that God was doing something here, I shared with Linda my experience in prayer the week prior. My experience was confirmed when she explained that she’d been on a prayer all week and that toward the end of the week God spoke to her “Steve and Aimee are leaving.”
Having that word, I suppose she thought she’d float the question to Steve, wondering if it was even our radar yet. Amazing how that works. It was that week we knew that God was really orchestrating something, but we wanted to make sure we followed his every instruction specifically and accurately. We began to pray about timing, sale of a house, jobs, children’s’ schooling and our part in the church.
See, we didn’t just wake up one day and say…”That sounds fun, let’s go to Colorado.” Rather, God awakened us and revealed where to go. So many times, we get great ideas and ask God to bless them. We pray things work out. But the truth is, it is imperative that we get the heart of the Lord and walk in the opportunities and instruction that he has laid before us.
Good ideas are not enough to sustain us in a race. The strength of our grand plans or adventures won’t be enough to gird us up on the days where heartache, hardship, or disillusion bear against us. But if it’s God’s idea, you can look back to miracles he wrought to put you in position. You can look to the Word he released to you. You can rest in the assurance that what He’s begun in you and through you He’ll complete….if you KNOW that you KNOW it was His idea…his commissioning.
And so it is with me…
on days when I miss my family so much it aches,
when i worry about my kids settling in and making new friends,
when I think somebody far more talented should be singing,
when I don’t know how I’m going to maintain all my responsibilities,
when i don’t have a friend next door,
when I’m weary and mom lives across the country,
when I look around and everyone is a stranger,
when I haven’t had a date with my husband since October,
when Owen asks for his cousins,
when I hug an Iphone on FaceTime instead of a neck,
when I’m starting over…
In all these things, I’m sustained by the confidence in God’s word. I’m comforted, that for once, this wasn’t one of our great ideas. It was a true God idea, with great signs confirming even down to name of the buyer of our Florida home. His name was “Steven Goforth.” We know we are here because He asked us. It’s a joy to serve Him. Pioneering is not a cake walk. It’s certainly no Pollyanna story. But it is rewarding. It is necessary. The church is growing. People are encountering Jesus. The power of corporate worship is increasing. Everyday I ask for more grace, a lot more courage, and the strength to love people like He does.