The house pictured above belongs to me. This picture was taken 15 hours after we evacuated our house due to these deep waters (a flash flood).
Seven years ago yesterday, I visited the community we now call home for the first time. Chelsea was a senior in high school and her pre- prom festivities were here.
The home we lived in was perfect for our family at one time but we had long since out grown it and were in the process of relocating. God had always provided for us above and beyond our needs but the community we lived in was oppressed from insufficiency, lack and the atmosphere that poverty brings. I believe that oppressed atmosphere was a natural manifestation of a reality of spiritual poverty.
On my visit that day, God planted in my heart a desire for MORE. More in every area of life. More of Jesus, more peace, more life! God used this community that day to inspire me and speak to my heart. It was beauty and life seen in material things that day and the absence of the atmosphere of poverty that God used to demonstrate His desire to lead me into a life of MORE. He planted in me a desire to be free from spiritual poverty. I knew in my spirit it was not about “material things”. God had placed a desire in me that day and I wanted MORE!!
Less than a month later we moved into our new home. Materially it appeared to be so much MORE. Our new house had twice the square footage of our previous home. Still I was completely aware that this was not a material longing. We were on a journey for more of Jesus. I wondered what that was going to look like for me, for our family.
A month or two later, we received notice of a pending lawsuit against the previous owner of our house as well as a document placing a hold on our rights to the ownership of our new home. This began the struggle that transformed us.
During the season of struggle we faced huge financial burdens and loss, unbelievable spiritual warfare, multiple major structural issues surfaced with our house. It began to be hard to see the MORE God had for us. This season continued for exactly 7 years from the day we first visited this community for the first time.
One day during the 6th year of struggle I was praying as I was driving down the road. Lord, I believe you put this desire in me for MORE. I felt like you gave us this house as a blessing. What is going on?
In an instant He gave me an understanding in my heart, this struggle that seems like a curse, the brokenness- because of it you have become MORE. You are more, you have more spiritually.
You have peace that cannot be explained, even when circumstances are not in your favor. You have JOY that cannot be taken away by the circumstances of life. You have MORE life, abundant life. You know Me, MORE, love Me MORE.
You have learned to hear me and obey. You have learned to love people more. You have tremendous blessings because of the struggle.
You have been transformed. You will never go back. Look at how you and your family have grown spiritually.
I brought you here to give you MORE. You knew it wasn’t about material things. Now do you see it? This struggle produced refined lives.
In my 41 years as a believer, I have grown more in each of the past 7 years individually (because of this house of struggle) than in the other 34 years combined. This struggle matured me and my family. Valuable eternal truths have been instilled in our hearts, through our pursuit of Him, in this season of struggle.
A few months ago I was on a ministry trip with friends. There were 3 of us present in the car this day. We were talking and sharing Jesus stories when one of my friends broke in the middle of the conversation and said, I’m not sure which one of us this is for but I hear God saying, “I’m taking you in to deep waters. Don’t be afraid.”
I am here today in awe of His love for me and all the ways He prepared me for this storm, this flood of His love over me.
Last month as I was praying, I was led to pray for a friend and her family who were on vacation. I felt an urgency to pray for their protection. I prayed against the attempts of the enemy. Then in my mind’s eye, I saw this family inside a bubble. I knew it was a bubble of protection. Momentarily, I thought a bubble is easily penetrated but I felt the Lord say, this bubble represents the Holy Spirit’s presence around them and IS NOT easily penetrated like a bubble in the sense you would think of.
That was the entirety of the what the Lord showed me at that time concerning praying for these friends. It seemed like a partial word and I hesitated to share it but as I hesitated, He nudged me, so I sent a text message sharing the vision of this bubble and my prompting to pray for them.
As my friend responded her words let me know that my prayer was on point. They were experiencing a dream vacation being crushed with delays, difficulty and illness.
I prayed that their trip would turn and it would be a wonderful trip but as I did in my spirit I felt I needed to tell her this, “I know you already know this but even the parts that don’t seem wonderful, like the struggle with travel delays, and illness, God uses all of it. Those things may be a part of His protection as well. So whatever your trip turns out to look like.. God already knew and ordered your steps right to where you are.”
As I shared this with her, the Lord said, “Laura, this word is for you and your family as well.”
Today I am holding on to those words. I am in deep water and it is beautiful! No fear! Today doesn’t look like what I thought it would a month ago but His protection surrounds me like a bubble. So whatever “my trip” turns out to look like, He knew all of this and He ordered my steps right to where I am now.
I know it sounds crazy but I feel so loved by God BECAUSE OF THIS FLOOD that brought great material loss to me and my family. I feel flooded with God’s love, MORE than I have ever known. Just the thought of it brings me tears but not of sadness, the tears are overwhelming JOY. It can’t be explained. There is a peace in my soul and a joy that floods my emotions.
The Jesus that I sit with during this season, the intimacy with Him is so precious.. I wouldn’t trade it for 10 times all the material things I lost. The life that my children, my husband and I are experiencing; knowing His peace in the storm, tasting JOY that overflows regardless of circumstances, witnessing Christ and His Church be the anointed Savior and the body of believers saving us all: these life experiences are priceless.
I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. Philippians 3:14 NLT