“I will take you to the ends of the Earth!” the voice spoke clearly in my mind.
I responded begrudgingly, “Well, you are going to have to change my heart because I DON’T want to move to California!”
Can you believe the audacity of me nine years ago? Usually when the voice of God speaks to you, you stand in awe and obey.
We were visiting my mother-in-law who had just moved to Southern California. Joe and I met at youth group when we were sixteen and seventeen (in New York), married at twenty and twenty-one (in New York), and had our babies Natalie and Gianna (in New York). At times, we talked about moving but I think in the back of my mind I was settled to stay in New York.
My mother-in-law surprised us and decided to start fresh by moving to sunny Southern California in 2008. It was a perfect opportunity for a cheap vacation to a place we always wanted to visit. I had no clue that it would be so much more.
Do you ever go on vacation and start to think, “Hey, wouldn’t it be cool if we moved here?” Well I was NOT thinking that but my husband Joe was! He started bringing it up during our visit…to the point of annoyance.
God and I have this repeated behavioral pattern together over the years. I start to notice a pull on my heart for something new. Some of the time, it just takes a few heart nudges to get me to catch on or change my mind. But some of the time I outright say, “No, So…”
“No, So…” means, “I don’t want to SO you are going to have to change my heart because I’m not going willingly.” Most of the time, it comes with an attitude. But time and time again, he does change my heart. It’s only a half-obedience but I do give him opportunity to convince me otherwise.
So in that moment of half-surrender I said, “No, SO you are going to have to change my heart.” And in response I heard his voice so clear that he would take me to the ends of the Earth. I told my husband and he responded, “I don’t want to go to the ends of the Earth, just California.” The funny thing was for living on the East coast my whole life, California felt like the “ends of the Earth”.
We went home to New York and for the next six months, God went to work on my heart. I was VERY involved in the local church Joe and I met and grew-up in. I worked there briefly as an office manager before I had my daughters and worked tirelessly as a volunteer after. I had my hand and influence in many departments and honestly my identity was wrapped up in what I did. Slowly God changed my heart about each of my involvements. One by one I quit each commitment until there was nothing left.
I remember the day I turned to Joe and said, “Okay, we can start talking about moving to California.”
To be continued…