Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. - Hebrews 12:1
I had the joy this spring to be led through a ten week study of Hebrews. This study has changed my perspective of so many things. I highly recommend it! Immediately prior to that, Andy covered the cost of following Jesus. I think it was here that Andy said, after reading the verse above, "we all have a race that God is setting before us." This concept has stuck with me for quite some time now. I have a race. God is setting before me a race for me to run, and I am to run it with endurance. A couple of weeks ago, we--God and me--went through quite a journey, and He taught me a little more about my race.
Around the middle of April, Michael and I started talking more seriously about what it would take for us to leave in July. I had remarked already that something about this timeline felt different than the others we'd contemplated. We agreed that we needed to discern whether God was asking us to take a big step of faith, or whether we were pushing our own timeline. After some discussion we tabled it and decided to come back closer to the end of the month.
The next week was a tumultuous one for me, internally and externally. As I prayed and pushed and pulled and navigated what God was whispering to me, the support that had been flowing in steadily over the past few months, came to barely a trickle. I have stepped off my track enough times in the past to know when God is telling me that I'm not running my race anymore. That's what was happening, but I couldn't understand why. I felt confident that this was the timeline God had for us, yet every time I thought or prayed about it, I felt firmly that God was telling me I was off my track. It was worse whenever I spoke up to Michael about it, I felt as if I were in another place entirely. As if I'd begun running in the opposite direction God was taking me.
After a struggle of a week, casually and not-so-casually bringing this topic up to Michael, anxiously awaiting a consensus while internally navigating what God was telling me--it hit me. I can't remember how or when or where, but at some point God picked me up and placed me back on my track. Like a mom picking up a toddler and putting them out of danger and in a safe place. And there it was, clear as day I knew what I was supposed to do. God showed me so abundantly that this was Him teaching me how to follow Michael. How to let Michael hear from God. How to be patient and show Michael the respect he most certainly deserves. God showed me that the reason I had some assurance about when and also tension about the situation was because He wanted to communicate this to Michael directly.
It's hard thing, learning to let God lead me through Michael. Not that He will give every step and direction for every little thing through Michael, but--at the very least--God made it clear to me that this step and this direction would come through Michael. Oh, what a lesson to learn. And what a TREMENDOUS peace that came when I accepted that realization.
As difficult as it was to come to that place and accept it, even more difficult was sharing it with Michael. Asking his forgiveness for pushing the subject. And letting him know that I trust him, whichever way he leads. And meaning it.
The very next morning came the first notification of new support in almost a week, and the next 48-hours would bring the most support we'd received in that amount of time by far. It was almost as if God had held off all of the encouragement and financial support He'd had planned while He taught me this lesson.
A week or more went by before I asked Michael about it again, praying for him all along. I was curious at where his mind was. He shared many thoughts and shared about the direction he was leaning in. He shared about the verses and stories that had come to his mind. I was so encouraged! It was clear that God was leading him, that he was navigating his duty wisely.
Then another few days after that, Michael told me that He believed God was leading us to step out in faith. To begin applying for our visas and seriously pricing plane tickets for mid-July. He shared some more about how he'd come to this point and the confidence he had.
So that's what we've done. We've sent in the application for the first step of getting our visas, and we've purchased plane tickets that have us arriving in Paisley on July 14th. We are overjoyed and, honestly, I'm in a little bit of shock. But Michael isn't. He's as sure as ever. Maybe it's because he hasn't seen the pre-Scotland to-do list in all it's glory, but I think it's because God has shown him clearly that this is His plan.
I am grateful for this man. For this lesson. And for a God who teaches and guides us so personally and intentionally. He made me, He knows me, and He loves me enough to guide me gently. Thank you, Lord, for all you have done and are doing in me.
I am also grateful for your prayers. God is leading us, teaching us, and equipping us for this journey He is taking us on. Thank you all for praying for us and, please, continue to do so as we finalize our plans and head on our way.