For When You Hear God but Don't Want to Go
When I was a child in church choir, I remember singing a song that described hearing God calling in the night and how when I heard that call, I would go where He led me. I loved that song, and although I barely sang it in public louder than a whisper, I would often sing it to myself when I was alone and less insecure. The song’s message has stuck with me my whole life. Even as a young girl, I felt God’s love for me and desired to do what He wanted. I grew into a woman desiring the same yet striving to do things myself because of my stubborn pride. I have fought against following God, fought to follow God, and everywhere in between. But I have never, whole heartedly with wild abandon, followed God like I am now, and let me tell you, my middle name may be Moses.
My husband and I had been in ministry together as youth pastor and wife for 13 years before God’s new call to us. There are so many amazing God moments to share about that time, but to sum it all up we did our best to lead others to Christ while making him the priority in our lives as well. Even as a couple dating, we would talk about what God wanted for us being bigger or different than what we wanted for ourselves and needing that to be the most important thing in our relationship. We weren’t perfect, but we were trying to keep our eyes focused on the one who is. Then we heard a new call and it shattered our comfortable, safe, successful, and wonderful ministry life and made me relate to the Israelites in a way I never had before.
Before I get to that, let me sum up what happened between God and Moses in Exodus 3. Moses had been living a quiet life with his family and was out tending his flock and saw a burning bush that was on fire but not being consumed. He went to check it out and God told him that he wanted Moses to go back to Egypt and free his people (speaking through the burning bush!). Moses then began expressing all his reasons why it shouldn’t be him and how he was the worst for the job because he had caused a ruckus there before and quite liked his farm life, thank you very much! OK, I am seriously paraphrasing, but please go read Exodus 3 and you will see what I mean. Then, down the line, the Israelites that Moses helped rescue were happy, sad, mad, impatient, happy again, defiant, 3 year old toddlers who wanted what they wanted right now, and pretty much the worst in the gratefulness category.
Now, back to me and how I was part Moses telling God to pick someone else and part Israelite: God called us to plant a church in Colorado. COLORADO. I’m sorry, God; didn’t you mean Georgia, at least? Close to my best friends and family? No? You want us to move 1200 miles away from everything we know and love to start a church from scratch?! I don’t even make cookies from scratch! (ok, sometimes, but seriously it’s a lot to clean up!) This was my Moses moment. I heard God clearly confirming the call to move and do something totally new for Him and I fought against it. I offered other ideas (hello, Aaron), I cried, I begged, and I felt sorry for myself because ultimately the call I cherished as a child was finally asking too much of me. I valued the other things in my life more than God’s call, and I was a whiny, Israelite baby who was tired of the Manna and just wanted the southern mashed potatoes I was used to having. (I do seriously love some potatoes).
As much as I was determined to make it all about me, God didn’t leave me a wallowing mess. He spoke through others affirming His call. He reminded me of past times I was afraid and He stayed with me. He understood my love for my family and friends but began to dig in my heart to root out my self-focus and to cultivate a greater love for Him than I have now. He recognized the roles in my life that I didn’t want to lose, but reminded me that the greatest role I have is to be His loving and obedient daughter.
So here I am, out here in stinking beautiful, Colorado, now seven months into this crazy adventure. Everything I thought would stand in my way (and hoped would at times) like selling our house, finding a new home, making the move, having enough finances, the boys starting a new school, making new friends, and on and on God has already provided. I still have moments of doubt and fear, wondering how we can turn our small gathering into a church and how little old us can reach the lost in a big way for him, but I see his past miracles and I know that despite us, HE can do this. And one day, when I’m in heaven, I want to tell Moses that I understand his hesitation, give him a big hug, and a double high five.