“Anything is possible if a person believes.” – Mark 9:23
This is it.
This is what I have been avoiding writing about for almost three years for fear of people’s perceptions and judgements. Even now my impulse is to doubt if this is actually what God wants me to do, despite the fact I have heard Him call me to this whenever I begin to question my own purpose.
“Write about it…”
I can hear the words clearly… “Write about it.”
And so I am.
I remember once, when I had cried out to God in prayer on the way home from a difficult day at work, I had asked Him to show me what I was meant to do in His name. While I know that God will sometimes call us into more than one area of service for particular times, this time I was crying out in desperation for a clear directive. His answer came swiftly. A white four-wheel drive with a bright pink number plate swung out in front of me, giving me just enough time to brake and avoid running into it.
The number plate?
Pretty clear right? That was 2013. Sometimes we are not so quick to act on God’s directives as we should be.
Charles Dickens once said, “Procrastination is the thief of time, collar him.”
I know this thief all too well.
Even now as I write, I feel as though I am fighting to keep that thief at bay.
My husband recently showed me a TEDx Talk by Mel Robbins. She talked about happiness and how people are often unhappy because they do not take steps towards their goals, desires and dreams. She mentioned if we do not act on the impulse to take a definite step in the direction of the goal within a five-second timeframe, us humans will automatically hit the ‘snooze’ button on our dreams. While the message was not necessarily God-focused, I realised it struck a chord within me, and that I needed to do something about it. Ironically, I then of course did hit that snooze button and slept through the night. When I woke however, I felt the conviction that while this talk was primarily to do with personal goals and ideas, that we Christians often hit the ‘snooze’ button on God’s prompting in our lives.
Five. Four. three. Two. One.
Five seconds is certainly not a lengthy amount of time before procrastination swoops in to steal it all.
Take a moment to ponder… what has God prompted you to do in your life, that you have automatically hit the snooze button on?
Why did you do this?
The obvious reasons for many of us are…
I will do that later…
I need more time to do that…
I do not have what it takes…
Maybe one day I will be able to do that…
I am too busy…
Philippians 4:13 should be enough to end those arguments:
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
All things. Not just some things or those things, but ALL things.
Anything is possible if we only believe.
We should NOT be trying to do things in our own strength, because if we are, we will most certainly grow weary and burn out.
We also need to be careful we are not just pursuing selfish dreams that we have made, with no effort to consult Him about it. God wants to work in and through us, and I believe if we are attuned to God and in relationship with Him, then the dreams of our heart will be the ones He has planted there.
While I am a teacher, and know without a doubt God has led me into teaching for such a time as this, I also know that there is something else. Something more. Something miraculous that He wants me to pursue for His name’s sake. I know that this requires a child-like, unwavering faith and belief in God to pull out the Moses style miracle stops at just the right times.
Habakkuk 2:3 (NKJV) is a verse I have carried with me for the last few years. It states,
For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; Because it will surely come, It will not tarry.
Almost three years ago, after Lay Directing my Chrysalis Flight, I felt the conviction that God had set aside some land for us. It would be used for His purposes and we would serve Him and others there. I drove around looking at some properties in the area and there was this one. Down a narrow gravel road, with rainbow lorikeets leading me down in joyous song, I found it.
It was an old winery converted into accommodation for camps or weddings. Ten brand new rooms, all with new bunks and ensuites. A commercial kitchen (in need of some repair). A rotunda chapel with views across the twenty-six acres. It was perfect. We could run camps there or provide respite for families going through tough times. We could use it as a women’s and children’s shelter. There were so many ways in which we could use it to serve others. While I was still unsure of the specifics of God’s plan, I felt this was it. And so I began praying for it.
It was for sale. For $1.2 million. For us, this was an impossibility.
Despite this, I kept praying and even went to have a look at it with a friend who had a little more knowledge of acreages.
There were problems. There was not a great water supply if you were going to run cattle on it (which would make sense to do with so much land). Then it appeared that the accommodation had been added without council approval. Another massive hurdle to move past if it were ever to be used to serve as accommodation for retreats or any other type of use.
Again, even aside from the unachievable price, it was an impossibility.
I still continued to pray and discussed it with some close friends and family (some of whom are still praying for this today) as they too felt convicted by it as I did. My children even started praying for it and journaled about it. During these times of prayer I would sense God giving me hope, reassuring me that the time would come when it was right. On a few occasions I felt His Holy Spirit speaking to me through a devotion, highlighting particular sections of my devotional with what I like to think was His ‘rainbow highlighter’.
I began to have plans for how God would use the property, and how my whole family would be involved. I saw myself painting the walls of the rotunda chapel with Biblical images and creating quiet spaces for reflection and devotion within the building. I saw us using the land for some sort of farming or produce, that people could help us with when they stayed. My heart was full of dreams for the property, yet, as time passed on, the visions began to fade (as did my belief in them).
It was some time after that the ‘For Sale’ signs were taken down and it looked as though the property had been taken off the market. In my mind that was it. Too hard. Just a dream. Impossible. I would have to get used to living in the reality of a world where perhaps God’s miracles were not really possible.
I later found the journal that I had begun to record my vision for this property in. I had ideas for the name and multiple concepts for use, and I had also recorded my prayers for God’s leading within it. I was all too aware that this was too big for myself alone and was asking God to make me aware of His bigger picture.
About eighteen months after first visiting the property for the first time, we discovered it was for sale again, this time through a city agent with no signage on the property or advertising in the immediate area. My heart jumped. I felt God moving in my soul again. Could this be it?
This time we went to view the property with my brother and parents. There was talk of us all going in together to buy it and live there. We all liked to dream and we all loved the idea of living on land. When we visited we even saw deer flying across the back paddock. The following day I found Habakkuk 3:19 printed on the next page in my journal:
The Lord God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer’s feet, And He will make me walk on my high hills.
The potential price had been lowered to below $1 million. Maybe we could do this. We tentatively made an initial offer but the agent came back with a minimum price of the $1.2 they had originally been asking for. What I now realise was wrong, is that we were trying to do this in our strength and not God’s. We were probably not even willing to follow through on that initial offer as it was still being sold as a commercial property, so once purchased, it may not have even been legal for us to live there permanently. So once again, I gave it up. My heart desperately hoped that one day, God would enable us to purchase it, but I had ultimately decided that because we could not buy it by ourselves, it would therefore never happen.
It was a little while after this that I had been praying again for God’s provision and purposes to rest within my heart and mind so I would know how to move forward in my life. I walked into the kitchen in the quietness of the early morning. I had walked across the kitchen floor and noticed nothing. When I turned back however, I found on the floor a little post-it note that my son had written the address of the property on (nearly two years before when we had first discovered it).
I stood there staring it for quite some time. I had no idea where it had come from. I had not seen it since that time. I felt that glimmer of hope in my heart that I had felt all those years ago. I don’t know why, but I felt God was telling me not to give up on the dream He had planted in my heart.
While much time has passed since that day, I have not forgotten this dream. The property was actually sold about one year ago now. For that impossible $1.2 million. It is now even more of an impossibility than it was when we were considering it as a family.
The truth is I don’t know if it is God’s will for us to use this property for His glory and purpose one day or not. I can’t be certain if it was His idea or only a personal dream of mine to live and work on land… however I cannot forget the ways in which He spoke to me during that time and reassured me of His presence and not to give up on the impossible.
I don’t want to be one of those Christians who operates with safe, conservative faith. I want faith like Abraham, Moses and Esther. I want to believe God can and will do the impossible when He knows the time is right… “Because it will surely come.”
I have come to realise in recent times that I cannot force God’s plans into my timeframe or make my plans His. I need to attune myself to His will for my life through relationship with Him. The more time you spend with someone, the better you come to know them. The more you can predict their responses or know their preferences. I do want to do more for Christ and I do want to be fully open to wherever He might lead me. But the key to that is that He needs to lead and I need to follow.
Three years ago I was ready to get out there and do whatever God wanted, but that “whatever” had my own conditions stamped across it. I was not ready to leave the impossible with God and trust that He could make it happen. I wasn’t ready to follow blindly into the unknown.
Now my prayer is that God will lead and I will follow. My prayer is that if this original vision is from God, then He will bring it to pass, and if I can be an instrument He can use in that process then I pray that He will use me. My first step towards this involves making the choice to not hit the snooze button and write. I am writing about it and have forced myself through my doubts and past procrastination, as I have felt God leading me to do this more strongly of late. I don’t know if, or how, it will make a difference… but I do this in obedience to Him.
And I now know that I can leave it in His more than capable hands.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
– Ephesians 3:20 (NIV)