In the late summer, fall of 2014 the Lord began working the craziest concept on my heart – slowly but surely God began introducing the idea to me to walk out of my apartment when my lease ended on November 30th. He gave me a picture of me in my car with some specific items and leaving everything else behind. He didn’t seem interested in telling me where I would be going, but rather asking me to trust him to do good to and for me. I recognize how strange that may sound, but when God starts working something on you, somehow even the bizarre and insane makes sense with the lens God gives. I spent a lot of time for several months deep in study of scripture and praying and praising and crying and seeking understanding on this matter.
The verses in Luke 9 took on an inordinate amount of emphasis to me. It’s where Jesus gave his disciples instructions to “Take nothing for the journey – no walking stick, no bag, no bread, no money, not even an extra shirt.” It felt like these verses were on regular repeat in my brain at a high amplitude, impressing themselves in a way difficult to describe. In some ways, it was as if the bible fell away and these scriptures were on billboards before my eyes. I certainly understand about taking verses out of context, but this was very different. I could sense this was something God was doing, super-magnifying this point to me in the most blaring way, as if the words were trumpeting in my brain at an intense volume.
Another thing that kept coming up very profoundly in my spirit was the testimony of an American woman serving in Africa as a missionary. This woman helped plant thousands of churches. I had heard part of a sharing where she spoke of how at one point God called her to go onto the streets. I’m not sure how long she was on the streets – maybe it was only a day, but it seemed longer. She had grown up in a wealthy home before coming to Christ, and God opened her eyes to the needs of the many impoverished orphans. Then God instructed her to take the children home when she had left her home. However, as she obeyed he supplied all the needs. It was a complete faith move. This story also seemed to be pulsing through my brain and my veins. In the years since she obeyed she has been involved in many miraculous deeds such as healing blind eyes, opening deaf ears and raising people from the dead.
Then the verse in Luke 9:58 where Jesus says that foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head seemed super-amplified in my mind. It seemed everywhere I turned I was hearing a reinforced message to TRUST, TRUST, TRUST God to move forward in this seemingly crazy step of faith.
I was nearing the end of a lease on an apartment with a roommate who I found extremely difficult. I was working a temporary job and feeling a yearning to move out of the city I lived in (Destination Albuquerque). I was trying to decide where to go and I was talking to different folks in some nearby cities about the possibility of moving there.
Additionally, I spoke with people in my city through the months about the possibility of living together, but nothing was coming together. Every time I tried to pick a place, an apartment, anything, it felt so wrong. Friends were telling me I just needed to decide, that God was okay with whatever I chose, and yet, I kept coming up against this immovable, implacable impression that God did have a definite idea of what he wanted me to do and where he wanted me to go. But he was only willing to tell me the first part of the story, the part where I gave or threw everything away and walked out of my apartment simply trusting.
Lyrics to various Christian songs boom, boomed in my heart. I was listening to every song by Rend Collective Experiment, lots of Bethel Music, and loads of other Christian artists. But some lyrics were stronger and louder in my heart and soul. One of the Rend Experiment songs talked about the need for Jesus being greater than the need for security. The “for King and Country” song “Fix My Eyes” has the following lyrics that were movingly powerful to me at the time: “The road less traveled is hard to walk. / Everybody knows it. / It takes a soldier who knows his orders to walk the walk I’m supposed to walk./”
I lived next door to a large Vineyard church and my home church coordinator had mentioned the idea of me spending time there to study, or be quiet with God as he knew how I often didn’t feel peaceful in my home due to tensions with my roommate. There were multiple sitting areas with comfy chairs or couches all about the expansive church. I remember a lot of evenings and afternoons in different spots in the peaceful atmosphere of that church where I read and studied scripture meditating on the comfort of the word of God.
I remember one day in November as I was closing in on the end of my lease trying to quell the fear, the fright, the hesitation, the doubt, the oh-my-goodness-am-I-for-real-going-to-actually-do-this? Right next to the But-how-can-I-not-follow-what-I-believe-God-is-telling-me?? What will that make me if I DON’T do this thing I am so persuaded is of God?? I was equal parts terrified and convinced there was something incredible and magnificent that I would never know what it was if I didn’t proceed forward.
I went into the church and was hiding in the bathroom. It was a weekday with no major services at the church, but they had different classes, activities and people in and around the church all the time. I didn’t want to be seen in my emotional state, so I decided to just stay in a little sitting area inside the ladies restroom.
I was listening to “Steady Heart” by Steffany Gretzinger from her album “The Undoing” on my phone through earbuds. I felt so frightened, so uncertain of what would happen, but so certain that God was leading me to this. I knew it was my choice, I knew I didn’t have to do it, but I felt he was in favor of this move. I sat there focusing all my will on the lyrics that gave me comfort, gave me strength for what I needed to do.
Part of the lyrics are: “I can’t see what’s in front of me. / Still I will trust you. / Though I can’t see what’s in front of me.
/ Still I will trust you. / Still I will trust you. / Steady heart that keeps on going. / Steady love that keeps on hoping./ Lead me on. / Steady grace that keeps on forgiving./ Steady faith that keeps on believing. / Lead me on. /
Though the sky is dark and the wind is wild. / You’ll never leave me. / You’ll never leave me. / Though the night is long./ There is a coming dawn. / Steady heart that keeps on going. / The light is breaking. / The light is breaking./
You are faithful./ You will lead me./ You are faithful./ You will keep me./
You are faithful./ You will lead me on. / You are faithful./ As the dawn breaks/ And the clouds clear. / In an open space. / Together we will run. /
A housekeeper came in to clean the bathroom and asked me if I was okay. I was bawling and couldn’t bear to speak to try to describe what I was going through. I nodded my head and tried to calm down while she was in the bathroom. I remember her asking again a bit later, Was I okay? I just nodded my head, yes, yes I was okay. How could I explain to her this impossible thing I felt being led to do?
One day the Lord invited me on a walk in a nearby neighborhood. As I walked he asked me what kind of houses I liked. I had not really thought of it before and I began to look at different styles of houses on my walk and talk it through with the Lord. I told him that I didn’t want to be responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of a house and that I felt I would like to live with two or three other adults.
There were so many unique and amazing things that happened those several months that I could fill many blogs just documenting things the Lord did. Like leading me to the community center to the exact parking spot that was next to my fellowship coordinator’s vehicle just as he and his elementary-aged son were leaving. His son was taking lessons there at the community center attached to the Vineyard church. It became an opportunity where on different weeks I sat with the pastor while his son was in his lessons. I was encouraged to hear what he was studying in the scripture, and it became a setting where I began to share with him what I felt God was leading me to do. I still remember late in November the excitement and enthusiasm my home church pastor expressed as he exclaimed to me, “You’re really doing it, going out on this faith thing!”
There were many adventures and trips about town and nearby towns and to guest speakers at various churches where I went and received much healing and learning. It was a time rich in dreams and visions of the heart and in the spirit, a time spent much in the word and in teachings. A mighty time of preparation that truly I’m still walking out years later.
So many specific prayers I prayed or that were prayed for me stand out in my memory. I remember the exact spot where I prayed in my heart after a home fellowship. I prayed that I would not try to push open a door in my flesh that wasn’t the door God wanted me to go through. I remember the picture he gave me of walking out of my apartment door into a glorious something – something that I could not see and he would not show me.
I remember the night Holy Spirit asked me to go a meeting where I felt like the people were so rigid and religious and stuck in a time thirty years gone, and I groaned to the Lord about this request. Then I heard God say the name of a sweet woman at the meeting, and he asked me if I would go for her, and I said yes, Lord, I’ll go. I’ll go for her.
I remember the night where when I left that gathering how I heard the Holy Spirit ask, “Do you trust me?” Giddy and excited I said yes, and he gave me turn by turn directions out of a tricky and complicated neighborhood that I was unfamiliar with, a neighborhood that confused even G.P.S He took charge of my playlist as the best darn D.J. I ever had. It was thrilling and exhilarating.
He began to let me know when to go visit the beautiful country church building 90 miles away on the Sunday’s when the Pastor who had ministered so much healing to me, and who I loved so much would be teaching. It wouldn’t be announced, but time after time when I felt him urging me to go, she would be in town and teaching. It was pretty fun and amazing to experience.
Then one Saturday he began to work on my heart early in the day that I needed to get out of my city and over to the geographical area of that little church the night before the service. I had no money legitimately for a hotel, but he helped me know where not to go and where to go. I still cannot explain the purpose to that leading that day, other than I feel he was helping me avoid potential danger in my home and bringing me safely to a sweet place of peace and rest as he has done and continues to do so much for me.
There were moments and nights and days leading up to this event where again and again and again God was demonstrating to me that he was trustworthy to be followed, repeatedly showing me that he is faithful to his good, good nature and that I could trust him to take this daring wild step out into the great unknown.