Early one morning last year, I was awake doing my quiet time. My husband and boys were still sleeping so I had no distractions or noise while trying to hear what God was saying to me. He never fails.
On the plan for the morning – Jesus’s Great Commission:
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit
Matthew 28:19 (ESV)
Sounds familiar right? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read that or heard that verse. Yet that morning, it was as if it was the first time. I jumped up from my desk, ran over to my husband, jumped on him and told him we needed to move. It was 5 in the morning so he was still pretty groggy but didn’t question me, he just said “ok”.
I had no idea what to do with this overwhelming conviction.
It wouldn’t be for another 6 months or so until I had somewhat of an idea. Our church was collecting the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering and showing church planters we partnered with. For a brief moment, Portland, Oregon flashed across the screen yet it caught my eye.
After a few conversations and research – I discovered that Portland is the number one unreached city in the country. This was it. This is what God was telling me.
That was about as far as it went.
My husband and I knew that Portland was where God wanted us but we had no idea what to do. We’d talked to quite a few people who made us feel like, sure God is calling you but He’s not calling you there yet. It’s not time. You’re in a lease, your husband has a great job, your church is growing spiritually, you’re good here. So what do we do?
We listen to them.
What happened to us? What happened when we stopped pursuing God’s will for our lives and started listening to people instead? We began to grow restless.
For months, we simply accepted that we weren’t going to get to Portland any time soon. Maybe God has us here for a reason anyway. We’re comfortable here, this is good enough for us. Until the phone rang…
Portland Schools were assessing applicants interests in a job that recently opened up. Portland was back on the radar. With fireworks.
I recently began a study challenging our obedience to God. What is it that keeps us from having immediate obedience? When you hear God’s call, it’s your job to make a plan to fulfill the calling.
This study at the same time Portland shows up? God doesn’t disappear despite our attempts to ignore Him. He makes Himself loud and clear, exactly when we need to hear Him. What was keeping me from obeying God all those months ago? The comfort of this town?
Maybe comfort isn’t the word…maybe the right word is security. My husband and I have grown increasingly restless. My husband has been feeling a shift coming his way in his career but not sure what it was. As for me? Loneliness isn’t a strong enough word to describe the feeling in my heart.
Something women long for is friendship. We all want that one, close, deep, real friend who we can turn to in every situation. A friend we can text when we’re cleaning up our three-year old’s pee from the floor for the 5th time today because for some reason he can’t seem to make it in the bowl. A friend we can call up for an emergency girl’s night at the dessert restaurant because you’re trying to let your husband handle your children’s emotions while they’re hungry and tired. Someone who checks on us randomly, just to see how we are…they missed us at church…you catch my drift.
We want a friend who we fit together with.
But what if we don’t fit…with anyone? What if we take the Bible too seriously? We truly believe Paul when he said to bear one another’s burdens (Gal. 6:2) or when he said in Hebrews 10 to stir up one another to love and good works…not neglecting to meet together…to encourage one another.
We continue to be the friend we long for. We continue to show the love of Christ to all our sisters, even if it’s one-sided. Why did God put us in these relationships though? Why are we supposed to not quite fit?
We focus on our obedience to God. We realize it’s not a punishment, it’s a gift. By having a slight disconnect, we’re free to run across the country without any deep ties. We’re able to share the love of Christ, invest in more one-sided relationships with yet to be sisters.
We’re able to use who we are (which is perfectly created images of Christ) to minister. I live in a good ol southern town where everybody knows everybody and they all know who God is. The women I know and am trying to invest in already have salvation. I’m not saying they aren’t worth being my friends but maybe my energies need to be used elsewhere. On a lost sister….a lost sister who lives in the most lost city in the country….like Portland.
Obedience calls for a plan. Up until now, we haven’t had the slightest clue as to what that would look like or when it would unfold. Obedience can be uncomfortable. It’s not always child’s poses and macchiatos. Obedience is scary. We know that struggles, discomfort, uncertainty are headed our way…what’s scarier though? Answering God when He ask you why you didn’t obey…when we turn our hearts from Him and miss the glory that would have been revealed to us if we’d simply trusted Him enough to obey.
Disappointing God is more heartbreaking than anything this world could ever do to us.
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
Romans 8:18 (ESV)