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Gathering Place

A robust faith...

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A robust faith...

ro·bust

rōˈbəst,ˈrōˌbəst/

adjective

  1. 1

    strong and healthy; vigorous.

    synonyms: strong, vigorous, sturdy, tough, powerful, solid, muscular, sinewy, rugged, hardy, 

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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.

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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.

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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!

BUT... 

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!

What?

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:

ROBUST:

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.

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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: 

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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.

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...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!

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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.

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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,

Laura

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Go out in faith...

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Go out in faith...

Have you asked yourself this question lately... or ever??

What are you called to do?

 

No, not what you are doing... your job, your family, your everyday tasks...

Bigger.

 

Why are you here? What do you think is your calling?

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I'll be completely honest with you and tell you that that was not something I spent ANY time thinking about.  For way too long actually.

Oh there's that time in everyone's life when you're about to graduate High School and you think about what you want to do with your life.  Where should I go to college... what kind of job would I like to have... but "my calling"...  it's just not really something I spent time thinking about.  I think more of my life was spent LETTING things happen.  As a girl growing up 30 years ago I knew I wanted to be married, have children and I wanted to be able to stay home and raise them.  Those were my goals and even though they may seem so simple in this day and age, that was my hearts desire.  I don't see anything wrong with that, but maybe I can dare to say it was not giving God a big enough place in my life?  Or maybe it was a little self centered, or at best just "safe"?  Don't get me wrong... I want my daughters to have those same things even now and they are NOT bad things to want!   

But beyond those simple goals I had, I don't think I asked myself that question I just asked you.  But it IS a question to be asked.  It's SO important to ask yourself.  Because it gets to the heart of WHO God is.  

Who He wants YOU to be.  

We aren't here to merely grow up, find a job, get married, have kids, etc. etc...

Those things are going to happen.  But getting back to the bigger question, I want my daughters to ask themselves that NOW... I want YOU to ask yourselves that question now, at whatever age you may be.  So that you are driven by a purpose set in motion the moment you were born.  Each one of us has a purpose.  Do you know what that is?

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Think of anyone you know who has a PURPOSE in life.  You can tell who they are.

I can think of some dear friends that I know KNOW their purpose.  I think of someone like Franklin Graham (and of course his dad Billy) who KNOW their calling.

I also know an author that is stirring up these thoughts in my head... here's a quote from his book "Chase The Lion"

"In every dream journey there comes a moment when you have to quit living as if the purpose of life is to arrive safely at death.  You have to go after a dream that is destined to FAIL without divine intervention."  Mark Batterson

I know I have mentioned his name and his books many times... but it's because nothing, outside of the Word of God, has spoken to me so loudly at this point in my life!

"In God's book, success is spelled stewardship.  It's making the most of the time, talent, and treasure God has given you.  It's doing the best you can with what you have where you are."  Yes, that's Mark Batterson again.

Now let me tell you that long story I've been meaning to tell you:

This past summer we were supposed to be gone for 6 weeks.  We were also supposed to go to Paris, France as part of our trip.  I LOVE Paris and as you saw in past photos I took Rebecca this Spring, was there last week and plan to go next summer with a group of ladies.  

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BUT, I felt like we weren't supposed to go this past summer as a family.  So after talking with Lance about this feeling we changed our plans.  We had to change our plans again because when we were in Italy we felt like we needed to go home.  Which meant that we didn't go to Prague, we didn't go to Bruges and we didn't go to Michigan on the way home...

I say all this because it's part of the reason we are in escrow on 35 acres in Colorado!!!

You see I have been on a journey with the Lord these last few years and I am amazed at how much of a real, true relationship you can have with the God of the Universe!  I shouldn't be shocked about this.  I've always loved the Lord and have followed Jesus my whole life.  But I don't know that I have followed Him my whole life... WITH my WHOLE life.  And I also don't think I really listened to that "Still, small voice"... and that is SO important in this whole story.

A while back I told the Lord to USE me.  I remember writing it in my journal and crying over those words.  Because those are SCARY words to say.  There's a verse in 2 Chronicles 16:9 that says "For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His."  He is looking for YOU, for anyone who is willing to surrender their lives to Him and let Him use you!  He has AMAZING plans for you!  Trust that.

I know that because I have seen that in my life!  (Remember, I'm the one who wanted to get married, have children and live happily ever after in safe town...)  I didn't desire for big dreams or to travel the world or to be in ministry... all over the world!  I'm the one who hates getting on an airplane... or speaking in public!! But He is using my Art & Faith Creative Retreats and I know He has given me such a heart for the women that He has brought into my life through this.  I will do those retreats for as long as He allows and I am SO blessed that I get to share His love with women in beautiful places like Italy and France!!  But He is stirring my heart to more.  To be used in more ways and maybe even in bigger, scarier ways.

Getting back to the story...

We ended up taking a road trip to Michigan because we needed to get there from California now that we didn't have the plane ticket from Paris to Michigan.  Yes, it was long and boring and hours upon hours of driving.  But along the way we stopped at some friends houses and had fun.  One of those special places we stopped was at my dear friend Jeanne Oliver's home in Colorado.  They have such a special place and you can SO feel that when you are there.  She was so open with us and loved on us and truly is a gift in my life that I thank God for.   We also had some sweet moments with the Lord on our trip.  And... something about Colorado made us stop and FEEL His presence.  It happened on the way TO Michigan and on the way home from Michigan.  The mountains stirred in me something I didn't understand yet. 

Isaiah 55:12 says “For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands."

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Rebecca and I talked about it all the way home.  We felt like Colorado WAS home.  That was so strange to us! All I can say is that the Lord was stirring our hearts and we were trying to understand it, but it didn't make sense.  Lance wasn't even on this road trip with us!  He's also a committed Californian... hahaha  He loves California!  We've talked about moving before and it just never worked out, but mostly because my hubby LOVES California!  Do you see what I'm trying to say?  This whole idea/desire brewing in us was CRAZY!  (God kind of crazy...)

So when we got back home we talked about the trip, all the long hours of driving, the great time we had in Michigan... etc, etc.  We told him how much we loved Colorado... and left it at that.

But in my own prayer time I started praying BIG PRAYERS.  Why did I feel so connected to a place that I didn't even think two thoughts about a month ago?  Why is my heart wanting to go back?  Would I REALLY consider moving out of California?  So in my own time with the Lord I asked him to do something.  I asked that IF He was stirring my heart to move to Colorado, then He would need to change Lances heart.  He would need to put a desire on his heart to want to leave California!  (I really thought "fat chance of that happening")

But things started happening...

One day a couple weeks later Lance said "I think I could move out of California".... What the what?

Then another day he said... "It would be nice to have space and land..."

Ok God... I see you.

At the SAME time, the Lord started showing ME things in His Word and in my prayer time.  I felt like He was directing me to the word "Gather" or "A Gathering Place" and He also lead me to some verses in Hebrews 10-:23-25 that confirmed this.  So at the same time that I'm hearing a foreign language come out of Lance's mouth (I could move out of California??) I'm feeling some confirmation on what is stirring in both of our hearts.

So I started doing some research.  Finding some reasons to move.  We started talking to people about moving.  It was crazy how fast things started moving.  Then one day Lance said, "Let's go check it out..."  

Now I'm all about moving and doing this if it's the Lord calling us to move and He has a purpose in all of this.  But I will tell you that I kinda freaked out for a bit.  I like California too!  And if I'm honest... I like my house, my backyard, my friends here, the nice warm weather here... we have it pretty nice here, in California!

But I also couldn't deny that the Lord was stirring our hearts and moving in our lives, and that is exciting!  It's scary... but it's also exciting when you can clearly see that the Lord is speaking and working in your life, for His purpose to be glorified.

So we went to Colorado... to look.

And it wasn't all sunshine and roses my friends.

The first full day we were there we met with a real estate agent who showed us some homes and land.  Lance wasn't all that impressed.  That day was long and rough and there was arguing and the girls were fighting and we didn't feel anything.  Oh Lance thought some places were nice, but not really what he was thinking it would be like.  So we got back to our hotel and it was not pretty.  Everyone was tired and less then in a good mood.  I thought ok Lord... we're going back home after this trip and California it is.  But I also cried and prayed and cried that night.  I asked the Lord to show us clearly.  I felt like He was opening doors and stirring things in our hearts, but was He?  Was this bad day we just had part of the enemy trying to step in the path of the Lords will and mess things up?  Was this just all my imagination/desire to move out of California and we weren't really seeing signs from the Lord working in us to fulfill a purpose?  I asked the Lord to show us or close the doors.

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The next day we met with a home builder.  I had talked with him briefly a week before we came and told him the vision I felt the Lord was showing me.  He was also a believer and shared some things with me that I really thought were pretty awesome.  So that day we met at their office and we talked about what we were there for.  He then showed us about 5 or 6 properties.  The first one was 35 ACRES!  What?  We were thinking 5 acres, maybe 10 would be HUGE... 35 ACRES... that was CRAZY!  (But ok Lord... You have plans that we don't understand.)  

And that land was pretty awesome.  

We were all looking around and seeing the potential, and I felt it.  The tears started.  Rebecca felt it too.  Of course Lance was trying to keep his cool and not get too excited (always the negotiator) but we prayed over that land right then and there, with the guy!  

We left and saw the other properties and they were nice too.  And... we were just there to LOOK.  Right?

Nope...

Lance was in the front seat with Drew as we were done for the day and heading back to his office.  Lance was talking to him about the area, business in the area (because He is starting a new business soon) and then Lance says: "So Laura, do you want to put an offer on that land?"

What!!??!! Ok... YES!  

And then tears again, and more tears from Rebecca... and then tears from Isabella (but unfortunately for the wrong reason... she didn't want to move.  but more on that at a later time)

So we went home that following Sunday IN escrow on LAND in COLORADO.

There is much about that that can be said.  But I would call it a MIRACLE.

The mountains certainly spoke that weekend and I think of this verse in Psalm 121:

Psalm 121: 1-2 says: "I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth."

But I would also say that it started by listening to that "Still, small voice."  That it's more about the Lord looking to and fro for those who He can use.  That when you open yourself up to the PURPOSES of the Lord God who made you, He starts shifting things around.  Making things happen in HIS timing and in HIS ways.

That's not the end of the story though.  It's just the beginning...

And I'm going to be completely open with you.  It WILL take a MIRACLE to make this happen.

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I've shared a little about this move on social media and here on my blog.  We've shared this with our family and close friends.  But I'm going to tell you now... It will ONLY be God if this vision that He has given us comes to fruition.  You see, we don't have what it's going to take to make this whole thing happen.  35 acres of land, a house, a "gathering place," a vision for serving and loving others... It's all beyond our abilities.  But that is EXACTLY where God gets all the glory!  There are so many little things that we have needed to have answered in this process, doors to be opened, money to be available, (remember my husband isn't working...not so good for lenders looking to loan you money...)  and each time through this process we have had each one answered in the affirmative.  It's been amazing to see God working and we are trusting Him through all of this.  It's not an easy, stress free process as I'm sure you know.  But giving it to the Lord and trusting that He will shut or open the doors is where we need to be.  I'm so thankful to friends and family for praying with us, helping us with so many questions we have, and just listening to us talk it through.  Our church "framalies" our "Bellagio Girls" and so many more have been pray partners with us and we can't thank you enough!!

As we are going through this journey I have been reading "Chase the Lion" by Mark Batterson and there are so many things that speak straight to my heart.  It's really the perfect book at the perfect time.  Here's a few snippets from the book I have to share:

"God's dream for your life is so much bigger, so much better than breaking even.  If you focus on not making mistakes, you won't make a difference."

"When we lack the guts to go after five-hundred pound lions, we rob God of the glory He deserves.  By definition, a God-sized dream will be beyond your ability, beyond your resources.  Unless God does it, it can't be done!  And that is precisely how God gets the glory.  He does things that we can't do so we can't take the credit for them.  God honors big dreams because big dreams honor God."

"God is in the business of miracles and He also is wanting us to have FAITH in Him."

 

So we are going out in faith...

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And we should know by next week some time if this land is ours.  (or I should say God's)

If the Lord blesses us with this land, then we will take the next steps, in His perfect timing.

And I will share those steps with you as well.

Because it's also for YOU.  This "Gathering Place" isn't just for us.  

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Hebrews 10:23-25 "Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together(gathering together), as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near."

Thank you for taking the time to read this LONG post.  You certainly don't have to and there is certainly so much more entertaining media out there then my blog!  But if you are here, I know the Lord is speaking to you and showing YOU that He has a PURPOSE for you.  He WANTS you to ask Him what that looks like... and He wants you to not be afraid to TRUST Him with your life.  

Go out in FAITH...

Hugs,

Laura

Next time I will share my week in France and Italy with you!  It was an incredible week teaching in France and working on some new things for our retreats in Italy.  So much fun stuff ahead!  Here's a photo I'll leave you with that was at the most beautiful villa on Lake Como:

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