strong and healthy; vigorous.
synonyms: strong, vigorous, sturdy, tough, powerful, solid, muscular, sinewy, rugged, hardy,
10 days away in the mountains of Colorado. It was filled with amazing moments "playing"... in the snow, in my bible, in the town we are about to move to, and with people we love. And during that time this question came up... "What does a ROBUST FAITH look like?"
Let me backtrack first and be real transparent for a minute. I don't ever want you to think my blog is about a life that is photo ready, or picture perfect, or only full of blissful moments and none of life's struggles. For some reason I need to say this right here... because I think that's the problem with the age we are living in. Social media and this kind of outlet can make people believe, "Oh, this girl talks about the Lord all the time.. she must really have it all down..." or "wow, that girls Instagram is so beautiful... she must have it all together!" Honestly, I know that's what I sometimes find myself thinking about y'all "hipster queen... bible illustrating...coffee drinking Instagramers! lol
So if you're new to my blog or you've been here a while... I'm just an "almost 50" year old, a wife and mother of 3 young women that loves the Lord, tries to listen to what the Holy Spirit is speaking to me, and since I don't think it's just for me... I blog. And that can sometimes make my posts really long (like this one) and sometimes I honestly don't even remember writing them. I even have to go back through my own posts and read them again because it's the Lord teaching me! So I DO NOT have it all together. Oh, and I have horrible writing skills. Just keeping it real again. I didn't fail English... but I do know if my English teacher read my blog she'd be coming after me.
But getting back to that mountain trip... while I was up in the mountains having a hard time breathing at 11,000 feet, I was thinking about some things and wanted to share them with you. Now again, I'm pretty much speaking to myself here because I certainly am learning as I go. But I do think that what we learn from the Lord isn't just meant to stay with us, but we are supposed to share it. Our testimony. We are called to give our testimony and I don't think that's just "the day we were saved testimony" but what God is doing in the day-to-day of our lives and how He is showing up and showing off His great and perfect will.
Not only was the trip to Colorado a trip to get away and ski and have fun... it was a trip to figure out what the Lord wants us to do with the land we bought and start having those conversations with "a" home builder. So before we headed up to Breckenridge we met with the people who helped us find the land. Now if you know anything about my hubby, then you know he's very methodical in his thinking and the general rule of thumb for him when we need something done is to get three quotes. So we went into this meeting with this home builder not sure if they were "the ones" yet. But in that 2 1/2 hour meeting it became evident that this WAS the company we needed to work with and I never once heard my husband say we should get a quote from anyone else.
During that long conversation with the three men sitting across from our family we learned so much. We learned that the Lord goes before you when you are doing His will. We learned that He brings the right people into your lives when He is directing everything. We learned that God is calling people to this area of Colorado to bring about CHANGE and that stirring that Rebecca and I felt in August... that was REAL. We were completely AWE STRUCK at what took place in that meeting and felt such a confirmation AGAIN that we are doing what the Lord is calling us to do. The fact that God is orchestrating these stirrings and meetings and He is bringing the right people into our lives to accomplish His purposes... major goosebumps. We ended that meeting in prayer and left with such JOY in knowing we are where we are supposed to be, and that wasn't the end of the story.
That following Wednesday we needed to get back down to Denver to pick up Victoria and Dany from the airport so we decided to get in another meeting with the home builders and meet ON our land. It was a beautiful day and we loved meeting some of our new "neighbors" a.k.a the elk and dear all around us. We talked PLANS for the home and "Gathering Place" and were excited that the builders really "get" our land and have come up with a plan to incorporate the topography with how we would like the home and barn to be a grouping together. Another successful meeting and another great day ended in prayer with about 6 of their employees all bowed in prayer over our land. Where do you find that kind of thing happening these days?
Then we decided to meet one last time on Saturday with the home builders to go see a home they are in the middle of building, to talk about size and spacing and get a feel for what they do. This is where things got REAL and where we could see the enemy at work trying to make things difficult. Because as I've mentioned before, when you are stepping into God's will... the enemy doesn't like that. He will try to foil it, mess with it and generally cause chaos. But what he doesn't get to do... is thwart God's plans. Job 42:2 is one to memorize: "I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted."
AND...Lord can turn anything into GOOD.
So Saturday was a very strange day and here's what happened...
We had just finished up with the meeting at the homesite and headed over to the builders own home for lunch and a little bit more work on some plans he wanted to show us. I have to be honest here and tell you that we were a little "sticker shocked" at the cost of the home he showed us (because we don't want to be anywhere near that price point :) and while we were still having a conversation about plans and ideas, the girls and Dany went outside to ride their ATV with their oldest daughter. All was fine and no-one was hurt... but when it was time to go we couldn't find the keys!
It was around 1:30pm and we looked for those keys until almost 7pm! In that timeframe of about 5 hours we had a Civil War Ball that Isabella had to get ready for, we had freezing cold weather to contend with as we drove that ATV around their land multiple times searching for those keys, we had one very upset daughter crying because she couldn't remember what she did with the keys... and overall it was pretty horrible!
God can redeem those moments and turn them into GOD ORDAINED APPOINTMENTS!
In those hours of searching and being at someone else's home, (while they ALL had to leave mind you) that family showed us such love and grace and patience. They modeled Christ. They let Lance borrow their truck to get Isabella to the hotel to shower and get ready. They drove us multiple places to get her back and forth and get the things she needed. (her hoop skirt was stuck in our locked rental car) They brought back FOOD for us because they knew we would be hungry again. And in those last moments of that evening together as we sat around their table... we had the most AMAZING conversation that I know with all my heart the Lord wanted us to have.
We already had such a peace about working with this company. By the way, their company is Adamo Homes and if you ever move to Colorado and need a home built... USE THEM. We've had so many confirmations that the Lord has given us ALL along this journey, but our God is such a loving God and wanted us to see more of His will in this!
So that conversation was beautifully ordained. Dean was sharing with us their own story of how they came back to Colorado. He's built homes all over the U.S. and felt the Lord calling them back to build homes for individual families. To connect with families, to build their homes but also to impact their lives. Then get this... He brings up THE CIRCLE MAKER by Mark Batterson!
Yes, that's only my FAVORITE author and you know that already because I pretty much plug his books every blog post! hahaha
But he then shares the story of how that book has affected their lives. As you can imagine I'm already getting the "goosebumps" and sharing with them how much WE love that book and have done the 40 day Prayer Challenge connected with that book. How WE feel that prayer challenge really is part of the big picture of WHY we are moving!
And then Dean shares with us that the book prompted them to pray circles around some things in their lives...
and then he shares that.... THEY PRAYED A CIRCLE AROUND OUR LAND!!
Yes, I'm bawling by this point and even Lance got "wet in the eyes" a little.
My whole family is in AWE of this. Dany & Victoria, who we have been praying would feel lead to move to Colorado as well, felt amazed by this too! They are really seeing the Holy Spirit moving THEIR hearts as well. Can you believe this? I am truly amazed at the hand of God in the every day. That He cares enough to intertwine lives and stories and give us these "God Winks" that just blow our minds! There are no coincidences (like Squire Rushnell talks about in his book) and even Rebecca felt better about loosing the keys b/c it was so evident that this conversation was supposed to happen!
The other part of the story is what we see doing together. Dean mentioned that it was either his father or his wife's father that said a long time ago, "If the Lord is calling you somewhere for His purposes, He is usually calling the WHOLE family." That spoke volumes to my grown kids. There is a REASON the Lord has us on this journey and it's not just so we can have a pretty house and barn. It's for reasons greater than us and that includes our kids, and we are SO blessed by that.
So getting back to that ROBUST FAITH...
Remember that definition I posted at the top of this long post:
strong and healthy; vigorous.
synonyms: strong, vigorous, sturdy, tough, powerful, solid, muscular, sinewy, rugged, hardy...
How do we embody this STRONG faith?
Faith that endures, that doesn't move... that doesn't shrink back at the pitfalls, side turns, road blocks the enemy likes to put in our way. In my devotional "Live, Love, Lead" from YouVersion it talks about this and I think it's worth sharing:
"The key to your glorious future is in your faith. It is one thing to say you believe, and quite another to act on what you believe as though it is already true.
What do you do when you are praying for something and things appear unchanged or even deteriorating? That’s when you discover whether you have developed faith that refuses to quit or let go of the promises of God’s Word. To survive life’s harshest blows your faith must be robust, and resilient. The word robust means “strong and healthy; hardy and vigorous.”
Hebrews 11 begins by defining its focus: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony”(v1-2). These elders of the faith included Noah, Abraham and Sarah, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Rahab, Samuel, David and many others. Their “good testimony” is the legacy of faith they left, the story of how they trusted God in the midst of overwhelming ordeals and obstacles. They were not a superior species but normal men and women with fears and faults. Clearly, it wasn’t their strength that caused the victories. It was actually despite their weaknesses that God enabled them to do amazing feats: conquer kingdoms, overcome lions, quench fires, dodge swords, and win battles when overwhelmingly outnumbered (Heb. 11:33–34). That is definitely courageous faith!
The Bible frequently talks about a “fight” of faith. Romans 8:37 calls us “more than conquerors”, and if so then we know that we will face mountains and battles that we must conquer. How can we be overcomers if there is nothing to overcome? If life had no hurdles or challenges, faith would have no purpose. It is easy to have faith when everything is going well, but courageous and robust faith is forged only through testing.
There will be times when you will need to have courageous and robust faith. No doubt, you will have opportunities to exercise the courage to share your faith, to do the right thing, to live well, lead well and love well in the face of challenges, and hold firm to God’s promises.
Prayer: Lord, I won’t be dismayed when challenges come. The Word of God says that my faith will be refined by the fire and Your strength is made perfect in my weakness."
That's GOOD, right?!
I was inspired to Bible Journal this and found it quite interesting that it's on the same page the Lord revealed to me very early on about the "Gathering Place" he has planned for us in Colorado. He lead me to Hebrews 10: 22-25 where it talks about not neglecting to "gather" people together.
And I know that it's part of our journey that we WILL need a robust faith for this. I've said it before on here but it's true... this whole stirring to move to Colorado is SO MUCH BIGGER than us. It will take more than us, it will take more people than us, and it will take supernatural intervention to complete it. We don't know that we have the funds for all of this and it may take time or "phases" to complete it... but overall it will be for the LORD to direct and make possible... AND He will get ALL the glory for it!
Now in that process it may look a little messy, it will NOT be perfect, we will have frustration and hardships ... and we WILL be stretched. I'm not crazy about my "word for the year" and it's not something that I want to dwell on, but it's a word that I feel the Lord spoke to me and in that, He gave me this verse below:
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 "But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong."
So there it is...
No one wants to be STRETCHED... to feel week or to have hardships, persecution, etc. But it's where GOD SHOWS UP and shows us His power. It's where we get that ROBUST faith. Like the devotional said above: "Romans 8:37 calls us “more than conquerors”, and if so then we know that we will face mountains and battles that we must conquer. How can we be overcomers if there is nothing to overcome? If life had no hurdles or challenges, faith would have no purpose. It is easy to have faith when everything is going well, but courageous and robust faith is forged only through testing."
So I choose to TRUST.
...and be ROOTED in Him.
It says in Jeremiah 17:7-8:
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
whose trust is the Lord.
He is like a tree planted by water,
that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes,
for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought,
for it does not cease to bear fruit.”
I looked out at one of the most beautiful views at my Uncle's house in Breckenridge and quickly sketched these trees in my Bible. Don't you love how the light is shining right on the word ROOTED!
Don't we want to have DEEP roots in the Word of God? A faith that refuses to quit?! I want to persevere when things get tough... I know we ALL do. I also know it's not easy, but God does give us His recipe for success.
Dig Deep... be rooted in Him. Whatever that looks like for you... do it. For me it's about starting my day in devotional time, talking to Him throughout the day, praying on my knees, bible journaling. As much as I can, if I have these things in my day, I AM rooted in Him.
Trust... It's where it's at folks. Like my favorite verse (Proverbs 3:5-6) we can't know the end from the beginning but we can TRUST the ONE who does! We don't always understand, and that's hard. It may look like a mess in the middle and certainly not Instagram worthy... but if we LOVE God and TRUST God... He will work it out for GOOD.
Persevere... because it's worth it. It's worth working hard, praying hard and living THAT kind of life.
The Lord God has SO much more for you than you can imagine! Not riches, not a big fat pay check... but MORE LIFE. More to do. More to show His crazy love and faithfulness... in YOUR life and through YOUR life.
So let Him show you.
I am in awe of the story He is writing in our lives. We didn't have any idea 5 months ago that this was even a story He was planning to write. But we opened ourselves us to HIS stirring, opened ourselves up to being used for His purposes... and that's when He said "Alright people... are your ready for this... because I have things for you to do!"
And it is SO evident He has gone before us, WAY before us, and prepared the way with many little blessings along the path. One of those blessings is this family below. The Olivers are a beautifully open family that has such a gift of loving on people. We have been blessed by that gift over and over and I know others have as well. They prepared a beautiful meal for us this night in Jeanne's Living Studio and we enjoyed another great night with them... and they finally got to meet Dany!
We are so grateful for the people the Lord is putting in our path on this journey. So many people. We are so encouraged by that and in awe of the way He is building a community through that.
We sure would love any prayers you want to pray for this land and what the Lord wants with it. We don't know exactly what God is calling us to do, other than to "Gather people" at the table. (So I guess my cooking skills will be enlarged, lol) But we know we want YOU to be there, to come and gather and be a part of what God is doing, and we can't WAIT until we have a place for that to happen!
Hugs to all,
Sorry for another long post... I wish I could condense what I feel the Lord has put on my heart, but sometimes it just flows out and this is what happens. I've had two cups of coffee for this one so I won't blame you if you've stayed through the end and need that second cup to keep you going!
If you want to follow along on this new journey for us, I started a new IG account: acoloradogathering