A year ago, I was surrounded by moving boxes, a thousand questions, and an unknown future. It was Christmas, my husband had just returned from a job interview, and I could not envision my tomorrow.
We had known something like this was coming far before it actually showed up. Two years ago, I sat in my friend’s car in downtown Medford, and told her a secret that Nick and I had not shared with anyone. We were praying about moving. It was a seed that had been planted in our hearts, and it continued to grow into an idea with roots and dreams and visions, until it could not be ignored. It’s a scary thing to consider changing every aspect of your life. And so I shared our secret, my friend and I prayed, and I did not tell anyone else for a while.
Meanwhile, we continued on with our life. It was a life we loved, but some things about it had become an ever-increasing struggle. There are trials that God equips us to encounter. Other times, though, trials appear and God says,”No, this is not your fight. I’m going to take you somewhere else.”
We were headed somewhere else.
We started dreaming- dreaming without borders- for the first time in our marriage. Well, almost without borders. My husband had been talking about North Dakota too much, and so I kindly threw in my one condition. “I’ll go anywhere, but North Dakota.” Us West Coast kids didn’t learn about the Dakotas in school. It might as well have been Canada. It represented the unknown. It represented scary. I was not ready to become that strong yet.
If taking a flying leap off of a cliff had baby steps . . . that’s the version I wanted. That’s the version I was prepared for. I’ll go anywhere you want me to go, Lord, on one condition . . .
It was shameful really, that I would put conditions on a heavenly Father that has never ceased to amaze me. It was silly for me to put parameters on a masterpiece I had surrendered to the same God who formed the Grand Tetons. It was silly of me to determine what I could handle when my every breath was commissioned by the same words that spoke the whole of the universe into existence.
Last Christmas, I was terrified.
I had ministries I loved, friends I cherished, I had a reputation that I liked. I was close to my family. I was known. I belonged. I did not want to leave.
It’s possible that flying leap we took was a gentle shove into our next adventure. You could say we were pushed. Or you could say we were rescued. Looking back, the entire thing seems more like a rescue. I picture the holy Trinity huddling into Himself and saying, “You see those two? It’s time to get them out. Now!”
A gentle shove. A leap. Call it what you will.
Dear God . . . He caught us.
He caught us in the beauty of a place I had never imagined seeing, but one that I now could not imagine living without. I stood on the edges of one of the Great Lakes this summer and could have cried. I just didn’t know it was out there.
He embraced us into a community that brought us in, very few questions asked. He provided a home. Friends. A church that daily reminds me that we are apart of something larger than ourselves … we are the kingdom of God here on earth.
There’s a song called “No Longer Slaves.” You can listen to it here. There’s a part that says, “You split the seas so I could walk right through it, my fears are drowned in perfect love.” Go ahead and turn it on right now, continue reading as the words play.
Oh Lord Jesus.
It’s taken from an account in the Bible where the Israelites are literally running for their lives. The Egyptian army is behind them and the Red Sea is before them. There is nowhere they can go but in. God tells them to go, He promises to part the sea. He promises. They go.
And He does. The seas rise up at His command. And they run through to their freedom. ALIVE. They could have remained behind. Logic and reason and rationale would say that to do anything else would mean sure death. After all, if their captors caught them, they would only be slaves again. They might still be able to live.
Oh, my friend. God doesn’t want us to be slaves. He calls for life. Full life. For freedom. He told them to run, and they did.
He is the God that moves mountains for His children. He moves oceans. He lifts storms and He brings them down for His heart. Look back right now. I know you can think of at least one moment where you were rescued. A moment where your soul wonders . . . is this my proof? Is there a God?
A God that does not ask for mere existence.
A God that does not ask for mere survival.
A God who calls us to life.
A God that wants us to be able to say ,”I’m no longer a slave to fear. I am a child of God.”
Are you a child of God? Have you been rescued? Have you seen His glory?
If you’re not sure, look into the face of your child.
There it is.
Step out and peer up at the stars.
There it is.
Close your eyes and feel your heart beating, your lungs breathing, your brain fulfilling unbelievable processes.
There it is.
Do you feel pain? Has your entire being been ripped into a great chasm of grief?
There it is.
Your rescue is upon you.
You, my friend, are a walking, talking miracle. You are evidence of a God who lives and loves.
I write this from my couch in North Dakota.
It might as well have been my promised land, separated over an ocean of mountains and snow and fear, a world away from all that I knew.
And that’s where He brought us.
It’s Christmas. And I am home.
I miss my friends and family so much it hurts.
But God is there to comfort me with blankets of white snow and sky so vivid I wonder if I’ve ever seen blue before.
I stood in church this morning with tears streaming down my face as I remembered the state of my heart one year ago. I was terrified.
This year? I’m living out my rescue. I am so thankful. He is a God that loves. Oh dear readers. . . He loves you. You can’t escape it. Do you know it yet? If not, let tonight be the first day of your forever.
Let not a single moment pass without you calling upon His name. Tonight is the night of your salvation. He has good things for you. You can trust Him. You can lift your hands up right now and surrender all you have and ever will have you and you will come back with hands overflowing with more than you can even imagine.
North Dakota is home now. And I could not be more thankful.
If this blog is my rooftop, here is my shout,
“You split the sea so I could walk right through it,
My fears are drowned in perfect love
You rescue me and I will stand and sing
I am a child of God.”
Call upon the name of the Lord right. this. moment.
When we put our family, our dog, and our things in our jeep and started driving, my heart longed for a story. I wanted to know that in a year, I would look back and tell myself, “It was worth it.”
It was scary.
And it was worth it.
It’s still worth it.
Every part of this journey with God has been worth it.