When people ask us “Why Texas?” we can start to tell our story, retell the anecdotes as I have started to do in this blog, list the reasons. But the real truth behind our move is “God has directed our steps.” Of course then, the follow up question, if even spoken aloud is “What does that mean? What does that really look like?”

The purpose of sharing our story is twofold: 1) I want to have a written account of our history for our family. Although we’ve been living it, there are so many things that have occurred along the way that we have already forgotten. I journaled through much of this season and I’m grateful that I made notes that I can reflect back upon. 2) I want others to better understand what it really means, for us, to seek God’s direction. What does that actually look like?

As I started to type the next chapter of our story and recount the chronological facts, I realized as I reread my journal, so much of what occurred over the next month was as much “spiritual” as “factual.” Allow me to explain.

In January of 2016 our Pastor preached from 2 Chronicles 5:14. All the people in the temple were singing and giving praise to God. A cloud came in and filled the place “so that the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord filled the house of God.” My handwritten notes in the margin from that day say “We are to exit whatever rooms He wants us to exit so His glory can manifest itself.” We need to best position ourselves to allow Him to move in our lives.

I was reflecting back on that verse at the beginning of November. “What rooms do you want us to leave, God?” We knew we were leaving our school, but was there more? Was Pleasanton one of those rooms? California?

On the morning of November 4th I was planning to take my boys to go visit a new school. I prayed to God to give us clear direction that day. “Show me Your ways, O Lord; Teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, For you are the God of my salvation; On You I wait all the day.” Psalm 25:4-5. My journal notation after this says “Waiting God. Please reveal the next step.”

Psalm 27:14 “Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord.” My notes: “OK Lord, we are here, we are waiting on your direction. Thank you Lord.”

A couple hours later I was out on a run. If I listen, this is where God often downloads with me. That day was no exception. Check this out: Video

“Be strong and courageous. Be bold. Get uncomfortable.” He kept sending me this message over and over. And the song Courageous became my anthem. My journal notes say “I feel God calling us to be courageous and live a bigger, bolder life. Not a life of compromise or settling. He doesn’t want or need us to settle. He wants us to step out in faith and live out loud.”

Huh. Super simple. That’s not at all challenging the status quo… Yah, right.

Knowing that God called Joshua to “be strong and courageous” over and over, I picked up my Bible and thought I’d go there to that book.  But before that I just wanted to finish where I had been reading in the Psalms. This jumped out. Psalm 31:24 “Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the Lord.” Really? Again with the courage message?

I finally jumped over to Joshua. In verse 1:6 it says “Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them.”

My query was this: What is our inheritance? You have blessed us abundantly. You have given us a huge amount of equity in our home. Should we bury what You have given us in the ground and sit on it? Is that being a good steward? Or should we put it to work? (see the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25:14-30)

Joshua 1:7 “Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go.” The commentary to that section says “Rely on God’s strength and wisdom, not your own. Allow God’s abiding presence to give you courage.” Then in verse 1:9 Joshua is commanded AGAIN to be strong and courageous.

Apparently God had to tell this to Joshua a lot to get through to Him. I am right there. Are you sure moving across the country is what you want us to do? Can’t we stay here, in the comfort of our routines and what we know? Nope. That is not what He was telling us. In verse 1:16 the people responded to Joshua’s leadership and told him “All that you command us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go.” Were we willing to do the same?

I know this may seem like a strange approach to life if this isn’t your practice. And trust me that there are times in our lives when God has not been speaking so loudly. But in this season, He was speaking to us in capital letters.

The next day I returned to my study and this is probably our first “a ha” moment (did I mention we were slow to hear?). In Joshua 3:13 God commanded the Israelites on their way to the Promise Land to follow the priests who were carrying the Ark. He told them the priests would step into the full Jordan River and as soon as the soles of their feet rested in water He would make the water dry up. Unlike Exodus where he first parted the Red Sea so the Israelites could cross on dry ground, here He was telling them first to step into the water. I can almost hear Him now, “Do you trust me? Have I steered you wrong before? Are you going to listen or do it your own way?” When the priests took that step of faith God stood on His promise and he dried up the water beneath their feet.

I shut my Bible that morning and looked up to Derek standing in the kitchen making breakfast. “God is calling us to step in. It’s scary as can be but He’s promising He will direct us if we take the first step. Will we trust Him?”

Two weeks later we were on a plane to Texas with our boys. We were still praying for open doors or closed doors. We were still seeking the “option” God had for us.  We had no idea what was in store for us but we were stepping in and moving forward.