Saturday, July 26, 2014

Extreme Spiritual Makeover: Waiting for the Big Reveal

      The most common and seemingly important question on everyone's tongue as of late has been, "Have y'all found a place to live yet?" And the answer is, well, no.
       I've gotten almost comfortable with the looks people give us when we tell them our plan....or lack thereof. God doesn't work on my time-table, nor does he put His pants on in the morning the same way I do, one leg at a time. His ways and thoughts are so much higher than mine. Keeping this in my feeble mind, I remember that His plans are also higher, and definitely much better than mine.
       The way God fashions a baby takes nine months under the cover of darkness. This little human is a perfectly kept secret. Every aspect of him, from his little fingerprints to the way his nose turns in response to his giggles and gurgles until his momma pushes this little miracle out into the world, is a mystery for the parents-to-be, and all in spite of modern technology. There are secrets to the miracle of life that even the smartest of scientists can't explain. As God forms one miracle in secret, so does He form others. This is why they're called miracles: because there's no explanation to how they come into existence.
       Jordan and I have prayed faithfully about where to live in Nashville. His new job is in Franklin, and Lilli and I will be together in Nashville during the day, so we've been looking for a place that will keep the commute to and from both places short. Now, I don't know what some of you know about Nashville and the vicinity, so I'll just assume it's what I knew going into this: nothing. We budgeted our rent for $1000.00 a month. This is a lot more than a house payment, but after praying about buying a house, God shut the door and plainly said, "It is not yet your time." (Yes, I borrowed that from Oh, Brother, Where Art Thou) We have looked tirelessly for a place in that price range. What is $1k here in good ole North GA is swanky, but in Nashville? Well, you're lucky to get 750 square feet for that price. Any lower and you're gonna live in the ghetto. Now, I'm not a spoiled brat and I don't expect the finest. But safety is a big concern in the city, and most places for rent under $1k a month aren't exactly safe. The culture shock we're about to face is far different than anything I ever expected.
       In our search for a place to live, I've packed almost our entire house. In fact, it's starting to smell like cardboard in here and every liquor and dollar store within a 10 mile radius loves to see me coming.....for boxes and toilet paper, that is. While the move has been nerve-wracking, I've had some other spiritual issues to deal with as well. The past year's trials came crashing in a few weeks ago and I basically shut down. I cut myself off from my friends and cried for days. The devil and his minions were attacking full-force and pretty unfairly, if you ask me. (I'll write more about this in the future.) I was struggling with severe anxiety, irrational fears, thoughts, and worries, and a whole host of other demons.
      Finally, I prayed: God, I need an angel. A BIG ONE. You know how analytical this mind is; You created it, so it's gotta be obvious. I need for you to tell me that this pain isn't for the heck of it, that You're doing something. Please show me something....anything. Just help me, Lord!  I cried out to Father from the very depths of my spirit with a pain only the Holy Spirit could communicate. Soon after, we were leading worship for the Celebrate Recovery (CR) program we're now involved in at Calvary Memorial Baptist in Chickamauga on Sunday nights. I was as low as low could get and wasn't really up for singing, but praising God was the only comfort I could find. After our first song, the congregation was shaking hands and getting comfy, when in walked our good friend Chris McDaniel.....and a whole host of military angels. For the rest of the worship I cried. I couldn't calm down. So I stood with my hands in the air and worshiped my Jesus. Chris was there for a purpose, but he didn't know it.
      After the service Chris came to chat with Jordan and me, then he looked at me and said, "So what's going on? You gonna tell me what's wrong or not?" Jordan and I lost it. I broke down completely and told Chris everything that'd been happening. See, Chris never comes to our CR because he has to lead worship at his church. He just happened to have that night off because of Father's Day when he'd laid down to take a nap and God woke him up telling him he had to go to CR at Calvary. He got dressed and ran out the door immediately, not knowing why. After Jordan and I had poured our hearts out to him he gave us encouragement and prayed with and over us. Then a man walked up on the stage to talk with him, and Jordan and I were engaged in a new conversation with someone else. The conversations all came to a close when this man talking to Chris, whom I've never seen at CR before, looking much like a thin version of Jerry Garcia, stared directly into my eyes and said, "This pain? All that you're going through.... it's for a purpose. He has a plan. The storm will pass, but it's going to strengthen you and further your ministry. God has big plans for you. You just have to trust him."
       Chris had not told my *angel anything about us. My heart melted because I knew the Holy Spirit was speaking through him. I almost fell on my face as I embraced this kind stranger, and Jordan said, "I think you got your angel." Friends, he was my second angel, and God sent TWO MORE. After Chris and Jerry, God sent another. *A wonderful woman prayed and talked with us about things she couldn't have known. A few days before, Jordan and I were in Nashville talking about my situation. We were riding down the road, alone, when we talked about how God will allow the devil to attack, but He keeps him on a tight leash like a dog. He may come nipping and growling at your heels, but he can't bite you because Abba yanks the leash and chokes him. This wonderful woman came to me and said, "God will allow the devil to attack you, but he's like a dog on a leash. He'll come nipping and growling at your heels, but God'll yank the leash. Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world! Brandi, great is the howl that is in you than the one biting at your heels!" Needless to say, there was some serious celebrating going on that instant, as my third angel prayed.
     Shortly after this, our friend Will with whom we lead worship prayed with us for healing for Lilli, not knowing she has food allergies. I told Jordan, "I only asked for one.....God's so good He sent me FOUR!" From here, I was put in contact with a wonderful woman by the name of Kat Beights with Daybreak Ministries. She's a Christian counselor, but her ministry also focuses on deliverance. By the grace of God, I was able to get an appointment, and through her, the Savior has made great progress with me in so many areas of my life. (Again, I'll write about this at a future time.)
      The second time I went to meet with her, Jordan came with me. It was a wonderful and blessed time for us. We told her about our move and more about Jordan's feelings concerning what we'd been through in the past year. I don't remember what exactly happened but Kat asked us to give her just a minute. We could tell she was listening to God when she finally spoke to Jordan. Jordan began to cry like I've never seen him cry before. In fact, I've only seen him cry a couple of times, but this was completely out of the norm for him. She told him that God has the path laid out for us. Everything is set in place, that all of these other things are distractions from the enemy. Every detail is worked out, all we have to do is walk into His plan. Nashville is where they will come to fruition, and we won't have to go looking for the start of it all; it will come to us. God revealed many other things that afternoon, then Jordan said, "I feel like God wants us to stop looking for a place to live." I was shocked; I had been feeling the same way but hadn't said anything to Jordan as I simply thought I was just tired of looking. Naturally, I spoke up and Kat just nodded and smiled. "You're right."
      Since then, Jordan and I obeyed God and stopped looking for a place to live in Nashville. Several people have sent us links to apartments, condos, houses, etc., and yes, we've looked at them. But that still, small voice has lovingly said, "Wait. Be still." We are waiting completely on God to reveal it to us in His time. Some people may think we're crazy. Friends, I am reminded daily of how far Father has brought us, of the miracles He's performed in front of our very eyes, and of the promises He's kept in our hearts over the past 33 years. He is unchanging, and He is able to complete the work He starts in each of us. Our new home will be ready in time for us when God has completed His promised work. I like to think He's laying tile and waiting for the grout to dry. And when He finishes His work on our home, whatever and wherever it is, it will be a joyous and restful day in Him, full of worship. Until then, just as Abraham waited on the Lord, we'll praise Him for the patience and endurance He is building in our spirits daily.
      My mom has called or messaged me several times lately, tormented by the worry of us not having a place to live. I've reminded her as well as myself of God's words:
                    1. Ask: Matthew 7:7
                    2. Don't worry: Matthew 6:25-34
                    3. Don't be anxious: Philippians 3:6
                    4. God wants to bless us: Psalm 37:4
                    5. God will meet every single need: Philippians 4: 19
                    6. We can do this: Philippians 4:13
                    7. He's gotten us this far.... Philippians 1:6
                    8. All things are possible with God: Matthew 19:26
      
      Over the past month God has shown up in our lives and our home in a mighty way, revealing secret after secret as we chase after His heart. He said, "Call to me and I will answer you. I'll show you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own." Jeremiah 33:3. We have called Him and asked Him and He's remaining true to His promise. I can't wait to share it all with you, my brothers and sisters in Him. . . . . .


*The names of those involved in Celebrate Recovery (aside form worship leaders) have been changed or omitted for privacy purposes.