For those who have a heart to know God, you’ll find that His ways of doing things are not always our way of doing things. However, when we follow God’s path and do what He says to do, we can have a special nearness with God that is often blessed with wonders of revelation by the Spirit, personal touches to His provision and care, a fragrance of beauty in the unfolding of His plan, and supernatural miracles along the journey just because our chosen companion in life is the Almighty God.
Over 3 years ago, my husband had a stirring in his heart, so he went to prayer. He sensed the Lord was leading him to turn over our first church plant. He had one word from God, “more.” It wasn’t that what we had in Charlotte wasn’t enough, but it was a leading from God that there was more for us to do, a “more” that was leading us to leave behind what we had started. It was one of the most difficult things for me to do, something maybe only another pastor or church planter could understand, but for me, God was asking me to give Him this church as an offering to Him – everything I had spiritually sown, emotionally invested, financially sacrificed, physically labored for – God wanted me to lay it at His feet. The people I loved, the tears I had cried, the memories I cherished as a pastor, planter, wife, mom and friend, were all treasures that had become a part of me – a part of me that I was leaving behind. We left with a desire to plant more churches, to pioneer something that would bring new life to other people.
We began a quest, not a search for a job, but a search for obedience, anointing and God’s presence. On our quest, we met many precious people doing wondrous things for God. God led us on from a couple of assignments, following Him through what seemed to be a sort of wilderness for us. Don’t think I didn’t question my husband, because I did, but the One I questioned him to, was God, not people. And God gave me answers. When we left a position in northern Kentucky, the Spirit led us to attend a church service at Impact Life Church in Florence, Kentucky, where a friend, Jack Landis, was speaking. It was as if the entire message was a prophetic word to us. He used the word “more” more times that I could count. He talked about that pioneering spirit that described my husband in detail. The Spirit of God leaned in to me, as if to whisper gently but to embrace me strongly, letting me know that this message was for us. I was given a confidence that our journey was leading us somewhere.
When we moved to Baton Rouge without jobs or a ministry assignment, I struggled with our choices. I said to myself and to my husband, “This is not smart.” Again, I lifted up my eyes and looked to God, asking Him if we were on the right track. I met a woman at a conference. She told me that she and her husband were called to pastor, but they were not making it financially. She pressured her husband to get a job to pay off their debt because it was the smart thing to do. He left the ministry, went to school and got a job. She told me, “I know that my husband is disobeying God, and I know that it is because of me.” Two months after our conversation, her husband, in his early 50’s, suddenly and unexpectedly died. God arrested my mind, my emotions, my heart, and He showed me that my husband loved me and wanted to please me, but not more than my husband loved God and wanted to please God. God showed me that He wanted me to be in agreement with my husband and in agreement with Him, knowing that God’s idea of smart and my idea of smart were two different things. As a wife, as a minister, my support mattered. This past year has been one of the most difficult years we have ever gone through together, but it has also been one of the best.
This past weekend I was doing some writing, and the Holy Spirit led me to the life of Elijah. Elijah had been through three and a half years of a drought, where he spent some of that time in a wilderness. I could relate. We haven’t settled yet, we’re still on our way to where we’re going.
The next day Jerry and I visited our friends, Pastor Butch and Susan LaBauve at River Ministries. Pastor Butch gave a message, a message on Elijah. He spoke on the time after the three and a half years, when God spoke to Elijah, releasing him with a ministry assignment. He then spoke on the increase of anointing for Elisha, and God reminded me of the one word God had given Jerry, the word that the past three years of our lives has been based on, “more.” We’re not seeking to increase ourselves, we’re seeking to decrease so God can increase – so God can do more through our lives.
Because God loves me, He has held my hand through this journey and encouraged me to be a partner to my cowboy pioneer of a husband. As a wife, I have known the nearness of God in supporting my husband, a grace to be part of the team. Following God is about submission, going where He says to go and doing what He says to do. There have been several people that have encouraged us along the way, watching our journey, understanding and trusting the process of God, and believing in an outcome that will give God glory in the end. Whatever role we serve in God’s kingdom, the Holy Spirit is there to encourage us to keep our eyes on Jesus and to be faithful to the call, even when our road leads us through a wilderness. We have one more month in Baton Rouge before we begin our move to Lexington, Kentucky. We’re saddling up! Let’s ride!