I expected our move would bring new experiences and a fresh start. I was not anticipating new opportunities for me. God placed specific people in my life who were “nudgers”. People who saw more potential in me than I saw in myself and felt no reservations in giving me little nudges toward what they felt God was calling me to. I fully explained that God told me “no”. That He took that ministry from me and I needed to yield. Although they accepted my explanation, they didn’t stop urging and pressing that God may have different opportunities here.
One huge “nudge” came from someone for whom I have great admiration and respect. A world-renowned Bible Study leader, writer, and speaker was going to be at the local Christian bookstore a few weeks after our move. Beth Moore had just written her first Christian fiction novel, set in New Orleans, and was coming to have a book signing. Upon meeting her, my tears flowed as I shared with her my journey and how I felt God telling me to wait. She nudged and breathed great encouragement into me. Beth urged me to keep studying, writing, and serving in small ways and one day, it will be evident that it is time for more. Her words became embers of hope in my soul.
Another opportunity came for me to attend a Bible study at our church. I had already been a part this study seven years prior and it happened to be my favorite, but I also looked forward to being a part of a study again. Not to mention, one of my loving “nudgers” wouldn’t leave me alone about joining the group. After attending the first session, yielding 50 participants, I immediately felt an urging that more leadership would be needed. The women are divided into small groups for discussion, so I volunteered to lead one of the groups. All I can say is that it felt so good to be “home”. Leading a group of women in the study of the book of Esther fanned a small flame that had dimmed long ago. It’s as if I felt God’s “nudging” that now was the time to begin moving forward in women’s ministry.
Yet another unexpected opportunity arose in the form of a conference specifically for young women pursuing a ministry of writing and speaking. Beth Moore held a day-long conference called “LIT” for the sole purpose of encouraging and feeding the flame for the next generation of women. “‘Is not my word like fire,’ declares the Lord, ‘and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?'” Jeremiah 23:29. Two friends came along with me to experience twelve hours that would forever change our lives. We worshiped, studied, and breathed in the inspiration of women who had paved the path ahead of us. We anticipated God moving in big ways for that conference and we waited for whatever that would be. On our trip, each of us expressed a different burden that weighed on us. Completely unrelated to one another, but something that caused a heaviness in our spiritual journies. Throughout the 12 hours, each of those burdens was spoken to, breaking us into tears, and lifting from our shoulders. No one could have known what we needed to hear and be released from, except for God. We left that weekend, breathing easier, with a new sense of calling. Within each of us was a flame that was strong and unwavering.
Redemption is defined as the removal of a possession in payment for a debt. In order for God’s redemption to take place in our lives, removal is necessary. Redemption requires removal. I had given my life to God many years ago. Surrendering my life to Him means that I have given Him control to do with my life as he pleases. God wants to draw all of his children nearer to Himself and many times, he has to remove something that is hindering us moving closer. Even if those things are good, they can become more important than solely focusing on our relationship with God and our family.
In order for God to redeem, He had to change my environment, removing things from my life that were not where He wanted me to be and taking me to a place where He could bring it all back, on His terms. I am so thankful I learned to yield to God’s leading. All that is now being redeemed is only because I allowed God to first remove it.
I know now that I always need to return to my first ministry, my family. It is only through waiting on God during that time, that I am able to move forward with the passion He has rekindled in me. Removal was painful, bur redemption is healing and more beautiful than I could have ever imagined. Just as Jochebed must have experienced the gut-wrenching feeling of surrendering her son to that basket, God’s redemption and salvation of her people through her son, was that much sweeter.