Stay the Course
I started writing this post this on day 6 of living on wheels. It’s now day 20, but who’s really counting?
We’re not totally traveling as desired, but we are one step closer.
A friend of mine gifted this to me in our first week. Her letter is too personal to share here but when I read it, I knew the Holy Spirit had revealed to her the very thing I struggled with for the many years this dream sat in my heart.
Psalm 119 1-8: (The Message). You’re blessed when you stay on course, walking steadily on the road revealed by God. You’re blessed when you follow his directions, doing your best to find him. That’s right…you don’t go off on your own; you walk straight along the road he set. You, God, prescribed the right way to live; now you expect us to live it. Oh, that my steps might be steady, keeping to the course you set; Then I’d never have any regrets in comparing my life with your counsel. I thank you for speaking straight from your heart; I learn the pattern of your righteous ways. I’m going to do what you tell me to do; don’t ever walk off and leave me.
While some people might think this happened pretty quickly, traveling with my family has been on my heart for many years. It was several years before I told my husband, several years before we told anyone else, and several years before we took steps to make it happen. There was a lot of hidden time with God before anyone knew what my heart was carrying.
I can’t tell you how many times over the past years we wanted to give up. Throw in the towel. Because the constant chatter was always in my ear. "What do you think you’re doing…who do you think you are…this will never happen…you will always be stuck…you’ll never be able to afford it…how dare you think this is really from God…you’re just selfish."
And while I know the voice is not my own, it’s cunning enough to make me think it is.
Cunning enough to try to get me off course.
Cunning enough to steal my dreams.
While this post isn’t time to tell the story, I’ve been awakened in the past six months or so that the enemy has been after my dreams for some time. His pestering of my sleep as a child that haunted me for many years I’ve come to realize was also stealing of my ability to dream in general. I was always afraid to dream, not just as I was sleeping, but to make big dreams for myself. I was okay with less, okay with not taking chances, okay with not wanting too much more.
Okay with not dreaming.
In the past five years, I went after some of those dreams. The main one was to be home with my kids and leave the public education field I felt God was calling me out of. The other was to travel the country with my family. The former dream I understood well; the second I still can’t completely explain. And the enemy was in full force to take those dreams away.
The only word I can attempt to use to explain what we’re doing is obedience. That God was calling us deeper to really, really learn what it meant to trust Him. And the only way we could do that was to take one step after the other, towards what He was asking us to do, whether it made sense to anyone else and even when it didn’t make sense to us.
I know the path we walked might have been a preferred course for some, but for us, it was far from easy. If someone had told me what we would experience over the past five years, I’m not sure I would have said yes. Job loss, financial strain, government assistance, one uncertain month after the other, eventually living with my parents for 13 months while we waited to purchase and move into our RV. Every job lead we pursued never panned out, every time a little hope rose up for new work, it was squelched.
And yet we saw God move in miraculous ways. We saw God’s people move in obedience and love towards us. We had our fifth child. We had favor in selling our house. We were able to get out of debt. I learned more and more about who God is and learned to trust that He truly is who He says He is. I can honestly say that had we not walked through this past season, I would not be the same person. I would not understand the love of God in the same way. I would not desire Him the way I do now. He would still be in the box I kept Him in for many years.
However, what might sound like some romantic notion of relationship with God, the path was far from easy. There were many, MANY moments I wanted to give up. Wanted to heed the well-meaning advice of others to just go back to teaching, or just travel when we’re older. And yet, every time, I’m telling you every time, something inside me whispered no. I didn’t understand what God was asking of us (and still don’t) or even why this path was ours (I still don’t know that either), but I knew, somehow I knew, this is what He was asking us to do.
We knew we just had to stay the course.
And so, onward we went. One day at a time. And some days, one hour at a time. And on the days when deep breaths were all that got me through, one minute at a time.
I think one reason God requires obedience and trust is because if we knew at the beginning how hard it would be to truly follow Him, we would say no. And I think the fear of what lies ahead is why many believers prefer their safety nets to the adventure of following Jesus out of faith and not sight.
It’s so much easier to stay safe. It’s so much easier to not step out of those comfort zones and go after the dreams He’s planted in us. Our roots have to be deep in Him. And we have to want Him more than we want the dream. That wasn’t always true for me. I'm still learning what it looks like to seek His face and not His hand.
But, dear reader, I’m learning ever so much that God is the one who gives us desires. He’s the one who plants these visions and dreams in us. And likely the crazier they sound to you, the less they make sense, the more likely it’s from Him.
He’s a good Father. He wouldn’t give us a dream and then laugh and say, “good luck with that child.” No. He will walk us through each and every step, and at every turn, we will learn to trust Him more. I don’t read many stories where the red carpet is rolled out when we act in obedience. The path will likely not be super clear and will likely require sacrifice and total surrender.
But man oh man, when you stay the course, when you wait on Him, when you let go of every expectation of how it should look and just trust the way He wants it to look is what’s going to happen?
Dear reader, whatever your path, whatever your dream, whatever small step of obedience is required to go and do what it is He has for your life, know He is with you. As I heard Kris Vallotton recently say (and I’m paraphrasing) Psalm 119:105 demonstrates that there are seasons when all you know is the next step (He’s a lamp to our feet ), and other seasons when you can see far out to where you’re going (He's a light to our path).
For us, while He’s been the light to our path because we know where we’re going, we’ve had to learn to trust Him as the lamp to our feet, one small step at a time.
Because even though we are in the RV, we’re just starting to live out this calling, and we still have to stay the course. We still have to remember who plants our feet, who gives us strength, who knows the hairs on our head, who provides, who loves first, who gave His life, who is worthy of all our praise. Just because we are now “living our dream” doesn’t mean our season ahead will be any easier than the season we came from.
But to be in here in this moment, to know we stayed the course, I know we can keep on. Because we know Who goes with us.
So stay the course, friends. He’s with you.